The sleepy town is getting lots of attention as the former First Daughter prepares to get married

By Liz McNeil
Updated July 31, 2010 08:30 AM
Brian Flannery/Flynet

Chelsea Clinton could have chosen just about any town for her Saturday wedding to investment banker Marc Mevinsky – but since she chose Rhinebeck, N.Y., the small town north of Manhattan is suddenly in the spotlight.

Here are five fun facts about the town where the former First Daughter will become a bride.

This Isn’t the Town’s First Brush with Fame
Rhinebeck, N.Y., is the birthplace of Emma Roberts, daughter of actor Eric Roberts – and niece of Eat Pray Love star Julia Roberts. Emma was born on February 10, 1991, in Northern Dutchess Hospital. Singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright was also born here in 1973. And singer Natalie Merchant also has a place nearby.

George Washington Slept Here
The tiny town, which is all of 1.6 square miles, only has one stop light, and is known for it’s beautiful tree lined streets. The town’s famous Beekman Arms & Dealmater Inn, where many of the A-list guests are staying, dates back to the Revolutionary War and is the oldest operating inns in America. George Washington slept there, according to the town’s mayor, Jim Reardon

A Presidential Past
According to town historian, Nancy Kelley, Clinton’s wedding is the biggest thing to hit Rhinebeck since 1939. “FDR lived in Hyde Park, which is the town next door, and he dedicated our post office [in 1939] and there was a huge crowd,” says Kelley.

There’s a Titanic Connection
Astor Courts, where the wedding is expected to be held, was owned by John Jacob Astor IV, who died in the sinking of the Titanic in 1912.

Rhinebeck Is Ready for a Close-Up
“Madison Avenue would charge us millions of dollars for the type of publicity we re getting,” says Jim Reardon, who is the mayor of this normally sleepy small town. And the locals are lapping up the attention – and the extra business. Notes Jim Langan, executive editor of the Hudson Valley News: “I don’t think there’s any question that the Clinton wedding has ended the recession in Rhinebeck.”