The local paper is the Poughkeepsie Journal, and they do have an on-line site, so you can start there.
You want to avoid the City of Poughkeepsie. There are nice neighborhoods in some sections, but generally I’d avoid it. The town of Poughkeepsie is a little better in some areas, but it depends on the proximity to the city. It’s in no way a [I]big [/I]city as cities go, but there is a gang component and druggie areas.
Arlington is really just a small section of the Town of Pok. When someone refers to “the Arlington section,” it’s really just a small commercial area. Actually, Vassar College is a big part of the Arlington section.
The Arlington School District, however, is pretty large and is considered across the state as an excellent district, and I wholeheartedly agree with that.
Hyde Park is also a nice area, with, of course, some depressed areas, but it is more of a town, no real city. Good schools, too.
Home of Roosevelt and the Culinary Institute of America; just north of Marist College.
Beacon is more like the City of Pok. I’d avoid the City part, though there are some outer areas that are nice.
Wappingers, Fishkill, New Hamburg are all ok, too. Wappingers is large, with a great deal of commercial area in addition to the neighborhoods. Fishkill is kind of expensive because of the large IBM population.
Peekskill is south of here, so the Wappingers, Fishkill, even Carmel areas might be closer. Hopewell Junction and East Fishkill are also towns in the area that are good to look. LaGrange is another town–more rural. I’m not sure about apartments in LaGrange. With the economy being what it is, there may be houses for rent there. Pleasant Valley, where I live, is very nice, and they do have a few apartment complexes in the area that look really good.
The problem is, though, that the farther south you go from Dutchess County, the closer you get to NYC, which means you’re competing with NYC commuters.
You could also check across the river for less expensive housing–Highland is nice from what I hear, but I’d avoid Newburgh.
So that’s an overview, and if you’re in need of anything more specific, let me know. I can also look in the paper for names of local Rental Agents, though I suppose they’re available online, as well.
We also have two very good hospitals in the area, Vassar Brothers and St. Francis.
Anything else, just ask!