OK, not really. But let the record show that I’ve been planning my mansion-on-the-Hudson-River wedding long before she showed up. Granted, we’ve chosen opposite sides of the river — I, the Cordts Mansion in Kingston; Chelsea, Astor Courts in Rhinebeck.

I first visited the Cordts Mansion two years ago. I was doing PR for Kingston at the time, and a producer was looking to film some scenes in the Hudson Valley. My boss asked me to drive up to the mansion and talk to the owners about using the property as a filming site. I drove down Delaware Avenue, past houses that had seen better days, and wondered if the mansion was in as much disrepair as its neighbors.

It wasn’t. It was beautiful. The house was in great condition and the grounds were well-maintained. The view of the Hudson River through the trees was breathtaking. I couldn’t believe that I lived only a few miles from this my whole life and never knew it existed.

via OldHouses.com

Dear poor sucker who will someday marry me, I hope you like this view. In the least crazy way possible, I have had my sights set on this mansion for two years. Cordts is now under contract, so here’s hoping the new owners won’t trip up my wedding plans.

Anyway, back to Chelsea. Through Facebook friends still upstate, the local newspaper (though, sadly, a lot of potentially awesome local coverage has been supplemented by AP reports) and People.com, I’ve been able to follow the events up in Rhinebeck. Last night, Bill and Hillary made an appearance at the Beekman Arms, America’s oldest inn and one of the best Sunday brunch spots in the Hudson Valley. (Try the bananas foster. Seriously.)

It’s been weird to watch the coverage from afar and to know that all this commotion is going on where I grew up. Rhinebeck was where my childhood best friend lived and where the county fair was held. It’s the town I drive through on my way to get to my grandmother’s house. Now, suddenly, it’s on the tip of everyone’s tongue.

River Road in Rhinebeck -- Astor Courts is just down the road

If nothing else, I hope this provides a necessary jump-start to Rhinebeck’s economy. For such a small town, Rhinebeck’s got a lot to offer. My best bets if you’re not celeb-watching this weekend: take in a movie at Upstate Films, browse the selection at Oblong Books or enjoy a chocolate-covered fortune cookie at Millhouse Panda.

A view of Rhinebeck's main drag in the winter. Somehow, this is the only photo of the town I have saved on my computer. Out of the shot on the right is the town's only stoplight.

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