Rhinebeck’s White House: The Beekman Arms, America’s Oldest Inn


The Beekman Arms has authentic building as well as history dating back to the Revolutionary War, unlike neighboring hotel chains.

After a wintry walk in Rhinebeck’s unpredictable weather, your feet need a rest.

The big white house ushers you in as it has for many others over the past 200 years.

It may be unbelievable, but the Beekman Arms is really the oldest continuously operating inn in America.

A man named William Traphagen built the very first tavern in Rhinebeck in 1704 at the King’s Highway and Sepasco Trail, and his grandson moved it to its current location in 1766.

The floors under your feet have welcomed the muddy boots of George Washington and FDR just as they welcome yours.

From the antique wooden front door to the pillar in the greenhouse that was once placed squarely but now shifts at an awkward angle, all these quaint features remain unchanged through the years.

The height of the tavern ceiling catches everyone’s eye and even tall people’s heads. George Washington stood over 6 feet. Although he would have bonked his head when he stayed here, most people back in the 1700s could pass through with no problems.

Everyone from Presidents to locals has visited the Beekman Arms as a classic choice for either a meal or a cozy room to sleep in.

After the establishment of the Beekman Arms in 1766, there have been several renovations including a greenhouse in the 1980s connected to the ballroom. The ballroom was built in 1918, marking the inn’s first major renovation. During the 1960s the wine cellar was added to the tavern. According to the Beekman Arms official website, the building was even established with timber to withstand attacks by Native Americans. The sturdy structure is still standing today.

People from all around the world come to visit the Beekman Arms. There is an assortment of people speaking different languages and sharing different stories.

The Beekman Arms hosts both extraordinary and ordinary people every day.

Every historic place in America claims George Washington once slept there, but not everyone can claim the same building that hosted our first president AND our longest-serving one.

George Washington rested in Room 21 and 22 while the New York Capital at the time, Kingston, was being attacked by troops during the Revolutionary War.

Washington had his troops practice their drills on the property. Arron Burr and Alexander Hamilton were in an argument at the tavern.

Could this have been the last straw that led to the fatal duel?

And, yes, FDR, whose face plasters every sign in nearby Hyde Park, was a frequent visitor to the Beekman Arms. The table he often sat at remains right next to the bar.

The Beekman Arms is living history, but how do the inn and tavern make Rhinebeck, Rhinebeck?

With 100 rooms across multiple historical buildings. The Beekman Arms is one of the most well-known buildings in Rhinebeck, a perfect stop on a local history tour.

The building was fully established in 1766, long after William Traphagen built the original tavern. Known at different times as the Traphagen Tavern, the Bogardus Tavern, and Potter’s tavern, the Beekman Arms.

It was the best location for the tavern and inn fitting perfectly for travelers to rest between New York City and Albany.

Rhinebeck village and the town grew around this inn. Rhinebeck turned from a pit stop on your way somewhere to a place recommended to visit by many.

Some other hotels have recently come to Rhinebeck, but they don’t have the Beekman’s unique history.

The Mirbeau, a chain hotel with French-inspired architecture was built right behind the Beekman Arms in 2019. The Beekman Arms has been around and loved by all for years, compared to the very new but-trying-to-look-old French hotel chain.

Drew Barrymore may have been at Mirbeau recently, but does that compare to George Washington, FDR, and Bill Clinton?

Not in this historic town.

The tavern at the Beekman Arms has an American menu composed of everything from a classic Tavern Burger (a mere $16) to a 12 oz Prime NY Strip Steak ($35). The Classic Dutch Turkey Pot Pie and French Onion Soup are also hearty choices on the menu.

Personally, my favorite menu item has to be the Belgian Waffle offered during brunch. Topped with strawberries, whipped cream, and Maple Créme Anglaise, there is no need for any extra toppings.

Thanks to William Traphagen and all subsequent tavern builders and owners and renovators, Rhinebeck has a tavern that has survived the revolutionary war, the civil war, and both world wars.

The Beekman Arms and Delamater Inn is what makes Rhinebeck, Rhinebeck. It is now the 21st century and business is still booming for the Beek.