Red Hook is a town in Dutchess County, New York, United States. The population was reported to be 11,319 during the 2010 census. The name is supposedly derived from the red foliage on trees on a small strip of land on the Hudson River. The town contains two villages; the village of Red Hook and the village of Tivoli. The town is in the northwest part of Dutchess County. US 9 and State Route 9G pass through the town.
The town also contains two hamlets. Bard College is in the hamlet of Annandale-on-Hudson. The Unification Theological Seminary is in the hamlet of Barrytown. Both hamlets are located on the Hudson River and within the Hudson River Historic District.
The region was settled in the late 17th century under the Schuyler Patent. Prior to 1812, Red Hook was part of the Town of Rhinebeck. Because Rhinebeck, as well other towns, had populations over 5,000 residents, the Albany Legislature authorized the separation of these two precincts on June 12 to accommodate and encourage public attendance at town meetings via horseback or carriage. The first documented Town of Red Hook meeting was on April 6, 1813 in a local inn and held yearly afterwards as required by law. Wealthy landowning farmers oversaw the maintenance of their assigned roads with the help of their farm workers and neighbors. The Red Hook Society for the Apprehension and Detention of Horse Thieves is thought to be one of the oldest formal organizations in the state and still holds an annual meeting.