For rodders, there’s nothing like setting course through the picturesque winding country roads leading to the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck, New York, to take in the Goodguys East Coast Nationals. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, it’s an event that showcases not only the finest in rods and customs the East has to offer, but also its culture and history. When you finally motor into town you’ll immediately note the classic architecture that frames the quaint little town of Rhinebeck. Loaded with historical sites, it’s a place where time seems to stand still, making it a refreshing change of pace from the everyday rat race. Even before making your way to the event there are countless points of interest that you should be sure to check out, including the vast collection of vintage aircraft from the Pioneer, World War I, and the Lindbergh/Barnstorming eras at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome. Weather permitting, you might even have a chance at taking a Barnstorming flight in a ’29 New Standard D-25 open-cockpit biplane over the scenic Hudson River.

Arriving at the event, Goodguys always rolls out the red carpet to its attendees and this year was no exception. For the 20th year, the Dutchess County Fairgrounds welcomed visitors to check out an endless array of the finest rods, customs, classic trucks, and muscle cars in the Northeast. After stopping by and getting your credentials, you entered the heart of the fairgrounds, which offered countless, well-designed, tree-lined cruising roads and plenty of opportunity to get settled within its vast confines. Once settled in it was time to get out and tune into many of the finer points of interest, including hundreds of vendors showcasing plenty of their latest wares to outfit your rod or custom with cutting-edge technology. When the need to feed hit, there were loads of vendors hawking just the right combination of fried goods, and cold beverages, giving you loads of energy to check out the expansive car corral and swap meet area. Sure it wouldn’t be Rhinebeck if it didn’t rain (which it did for a bit), but dedicated attendees didn’t let that alter their plans for a weekend of fun and excitement. With weather in the 70s and 80s, it was perfect for taking the kids for a stop over to the Make-n-Take model build area or take a break while jamming to the live entertainment by Crimson Tears who ripped it up during the day and evening at the Saturday night hot rod party and dance. There were loads of rods and customs in attendance, covering all different types of build styles, from traditional to slick high-tech rides with just enough primered cars to keep it real. On Saturday there were a number of special parking areas to showcase various categories, including the Builders Choice, Homebuilt Heaven, and Young Guys, to name but a few. These areas are always a hotbed of activity for everyone to check out between 7 a.m. to noon. With the rolling topography of the fairgrounds there were plenty of unique areas to visit as you walked the event, including hot rod hill to take in some of the most bitchin’ traditional rods and customs of the weekend. There was even a display of vintage fire trucks in attendance showcasing restored vehicles from the horse and buggy era all the way into the ’60s.

This year there were plenty of standouts to dig, like Keith Goettlich’s ’37 Chevy that was just plain bitchin’ with its dramatic Westergard styling, Jon Schuchart’s ’26 Ford roadster was pure soup-job packed with a ’55 Merc V-8, and Dick Applegate’s downright evil ’41 Willys filled with a 528ci Hemi mill. By the time Sunday afternoon arrived, it was time for Goodguys extensive awards program to blast off, bringing a fun-filled weekend to completion. If you haven’t yet experienced the magic of the Goodguys East Coast Nationals, mark your calendars for 2012 to experience firsthand what everyone in the Northeast considers one of the finest events around.