5 FUN DAYS OF LEAF PEEKING/ Janel Bladow
The Hudson Valley is springing into fall with a blaze of rust, red, copper, and gold. For all of us at Hudson Valley Happenings, this is when we load up our bikes, put on our boots, gas up the car, and take off for the hills. Here are five fun ways to treat your peepers and enjoy our woodsy wonderland.
Stroll: Hudson River Skywalk
Rip Van Winkle Bridge, Catskill, NY
Take a leisurely walk across the Hudson River to enjoy the colorful bluffs on both sides. The Hudson River Skywalk, a six-mile round-trip pedestrian walkway on the Rip Van Winkle Bridge, connects the national landmarks of two Hudson River School artists Thomas Cole and Frederic Church. Nearly 200 years ago, they met as students and teachers and developed a love of our magical river views. Tour the grounds and take in the beauty of the Thomas Cole Site on the western bank and Frederic Church’s Olana, on the eastern shore. Be sure to check out the Cross-Pollination Exhibit at Olana.
Info: Olana State Historic Site, 5720 State Rte. 9G, Hudson, NY 12534 (518) 828-0135; Thomas Cole National Historic Site, 218 Spring St., Catskill, NY 12414 (518) 943-7465
Eat: Hudson, NY, is a quaint little city of boutiques, eateries and galleries. Great for a day or even a weekend. Pick up freshly baked baguette and pastries at Le Perche with a coffee to start your stroll. Then have lunch or cocktails at the bakery’s sister bar/restaurant Swoon Kitchenbar.
Le Perche, 230 Warren St., Hudson, NY (518) 822-1850, Thursday-Sunday, 9 am to midday, leperchehudson.com;
Swoon Kitchenbar, 340 Warren St., Hudson, NY (518) 822-8938, Thursday-Sunday, opens 4 pm, reservations required to dine indoors, takeaway available, https://www.swoonkitchenbar.com/
Stay: Wind up your day at The Maker, a beautiful boutique hotel. A complex of three buildings – a Greek Revival from 1840s and a Georgian mansion and carriage house dating from the 1890s make an exquisite place to dine, refresh and sleep. Inspired by the artistic history of the area, owner Alina Roytberg and Lev Glazman designed the rooms and public spaces after artists, architects, gardeners, and writers. We describe this place as elegant bohemian and beautifully delicious. It has just 11 rooms, a restaurant, café and 24-hour room service.
The Maker Hotel, 802 Warren St., Hudson, NY 12584, (518) 509-2620, themaker.com
Bike: Ashoken Rail Trail (ART)
NY State Rte. 28, Woodstock to Boiceville, NY
The Ashokan Rail Trail (ART) opened during peak peeping season two years ago and has been a go-to spot for bicyclers, hikers, walkers, runners, and dog lovers ever since. It runs 11 and a half miles along the northern bank of the Ashokan Reservoir, from Basin Road in West Hurley to Rte. 28A in Boiceville. The surface is crushed stone and it is open sunrise to sunset 365 days. Trailhead Parking areas: Woodstock Dike, 1285 NY 28, West Hurley; Ashokan Station, 3045 NY 28, Shokan; Boiceville Bridge, 5080 Rte. 28A, Boiceville. ashokanrailtrail.com
Eat: Grab a sandwich or soup to eat along the trail. At Blue Mountain Bistro they make killer sammies, 948 Rt 28 Kingston,NY (845) 340-9800 Open weekdays 11am - 6pm, Sat & Sun till 5pm bluemountainbistro.com
Stay: The Herwood Inn is a rock and roll inspired boutique hotel in the heart of Woodstock. Its vibe is Aretha Franklin meets Stevie Nicks cool. Two-night minimum,
The Herwood Inn, 148 Tinker St., Woodstock, NY 12498, (845) 306-5419, theherwoodinn.com
Drive: Catskill Preserve
Olivera Road-Claryville Road, NY
Follow this nearly 28-mile stretch that takes you through Slide Mountain Wilderness and Frost Valley to Red Hill Fire Tower for a breathtaking ride around mountains, fields, streams, and lakes. Whether you start from the south near Grahamsville or north at Big Indian, you are sure to be blown away by the beauty of this drive. Make a stop at Red Hill Fire Tower for a climb and killer view. Map: avenzamaps.com/maps/91615/catskills-red-hill-fire-tower-ny
Eat: Stop for the best coffee and daily baked pastries, quiches and giant hot pockets at Maeve’s Place or a beer and wings at the Russian Mule Brewery.
Maeve’s Place, 5569 Rt. 28, Phoenicia, NY 12464, Thursday-Monday, 8 am – 4 pm, (845) 750-7444, https://maevesplace.com/
Russian Mule Brewery, 1465 Denning Road, Claryville, NY 12725, (845) 985-0247, Thursday, 3 – 8 pm, Friday & Saturday, noon – 8pm, Sunday, noon – 6pm, russianmulebrewery.com
Stay: Urban Cowboy Lodge is on 68 acres with five buildings, open-air spaces and trails you can hike. Décor is definitely super cool country, from potbelly stoves, massive fireplaces and clawfoot bathtubs. The Public House is open for dinner Thursday – Sunday nights by reservation.
Urban Cowboy Lodge, 37 Alpine Road, Big Indian, NY 12410, (845) 254-5026, urbancowboy.com/catskills.
Extreme Hike: Long Path & Shawangunk Ridge Trail
For a great workout hike with even more gorgeous views, do the 10-mile, two car (park one at each end of trail) or go round trip! The Long Path and Shawangunk Ridge trail goes through Wurtsboro Ridge State Forest and often missed section of Long Path with a variety of cliffs with bone-chilling vistas. And the view of the valley at Shawangunk Ridge is something no hiker should miss. https://www.nynjtc.org/hike/long-path-and-shawangunk-ridge-trail-wurtsboro-ny
Eat: The raves are in for everything from their handmade pastas to monster burgers at Pasta D’oro, an understated but super special spot. Pasta D’oro,
90 Sullivan St., Wurtsboro, NY 12790, Tuesday – Sunday opens at noon for lunch and dinner, (845) 644-4530, https://www.facebook.com/pastadorony/
Stay: Nearby Wurtsboro is nearly every chain motel as well as the Resorts Casino Catskills. But how about an intimate home of your own? Diana’s Place is listed as a “Cozy creek cottage for hiking lovers.” Hers is a low-key cabin in the woods with a king bed in the bedroom, nice big reading den, living room, updated kitchen, and bath.
It’s just off Rt. 17, east of Wurtsboro in Bloomingburg.
Easy Hike: Hudson Highlands State Park
With 8,000 acres to traipse and 52 trails to follow, have your choice – take a short quarter mile walk or one nearly 10 miles. Lots of critter activity and birds to watch. Be sure to pass by the historic and possibly haunted Bannerman Castle, accessible by water only. There are several ways to enter the park so download a map before you go. parks.ny.gov/parks/hudsonhighlands/details.aspx
Eat: Since 2010, the Birdsall House gastro pub has drawn a crowd. Their beer garden patio is a hot spot to sip a cold brew. The burger and bites are stand-outs.
The Birdsall House, 970 Main St., Peekskill, NY 10566, (914) 930-1880, birdsallhouse.net.
Stay: The Swan Inn of Beacon is a blast from the past and feels like you’re in another era. Rooms and public areas are decorated turn of the century – not the recent one! The inn was originally built in the 1860s as a Gothic Revival Victorian for one family. It carries on the B&B tradition started by early owners who took in boarders.
The Swan Inn of Beacon, 120 Howland Ave, Beacon, NY 12508, (845) 831-6346, swanninnofbeacon.com.