Bike it. Hike it. Kick it. Lick it. Click it. Whatever your fancy - outdoor sports, picturesque vistas, delicious delicacies - Harriman State Park has it!
Hudson Valley Happenings teamed up with Explore Harriman for a unique look at all that this beautiful park, just 30 minutes from New York City, has to offer. This winter the trail towns of Rockland County, NY, are the “In Place” to be!
There’s magic in the air, land and waters of Harriman State Park. Something for everyone, any age and interest. Want the great outdoors wintry experience? Try hiking, snowshoeing or cross country skiing the many trails at your own pace. Located in Rockland and Orange counties, Harriman is the second largest park in the NYS system. It has 200 miles of hiking trails, 31 lakes and reservoirs and more breathtaking views and picturesque spots than imaginable. Harriman in winter is amazing and there’s plenty you can do if you like the cold!
Hikes, Campouts & Survival
Get out and walk the many trails. But first, learn some terrific survival tactics!
Marlon Smith’s romance with Harriman State Park began with a need for fresh air. A tri-state area transplant from the Caribbean, he longed for the great outdoors. “The concrete jungle was bringing me down,” the owner/organizer of Hike - Live - Love Adventures and Urban and Outdoor Survival LLC told HVH, “Harriman State Park helped me on my very first hike.” Since then, Marlon made endless treks to the area, developed an outdoor survival plan and launched a new business. He has helped lost hikers, led nine hikes to nine shelters and even taught a scout troop survival skills. “Nine-year old Girl Scouts,” he laughs. “But once they knew they were going to build a fire and make S’Mores, I had them.”
Like to brush up your winter endurance skills? Take Marlon's Wildlife Encounters & Camping Gear Class on Saturday, Dec. 17, 11 am.
Cross Country Skiing & Snowshoeing
Winter in Harriman State Park is a sports enthusiast's dream!
Several trails in Harriman State Park are ideal for both cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
Cross country is doable in the park when on a snowy narrow trail near Lake Welch Drive.
Snowshoeing is a good option for the adventurous. Watch the linked video to see how steep and crazy Harriman trails can be! Maybe try it with snow microblades for an easier ascent. Or, opt for a less treacherous trail! Here are some Harriman trails worth your snowshoes!
Harriman State Park is a visual wonderland. A perfect place to brush up your photo style!
Susan Magnano grew up in the area and has traveled the world taking pictures and teaching photography. But her heart is in Harriman State Park. "I love the photographic diversity of Harriman - the lakes, rivers, easy walking trails, amazing views - all within a short drive from New York City," she told HVH.
That love turned into a business (another of her passions) PhoTour Adventures. Her classes in the park cater to everyone - the amateur using a smartphone to the enthusiast with six different lenses; folks who want to learn how to shoot beautiful reflections on water or capture cascading waterfalls; people who love sunrises or those who dream of snapping starry starry nights. “It’s all about taking their photography to the next level.”
There are even adventures off trail. Check out these annual holiday events!
Harmony Hall - Jacob Sloat House celebrated 174 years in October, thanks to the loving care of the building’s rescuers, Friends of Harmony Hall, preservation partners with the town of Ramapo. The house is only open during events. And several fun winter events are coming up.
Suffern's Art & Dine is back this year with both an online experience as well as an afternoon exhibition (Saturday, Dec. 3, 2-5 pm) where visitors can explore art displays at local businesses.
Victorian Holiday kicks off Harmony Hall's season with the home festively decorated and friends mingling in period finery. There’ll be music, food, warm drinks and crafts to get visitors into the holiday spirit. Even a visit from Santa for the little ones. Be there for the unveiling of the group’s largest restoration yet! Sunday, Dec. 4, 1-5 pm, $5, under 17 free.
Suffern Christmas Parade (Saturday, Dec. 3, 6:30 pm) is a big annual affair in the area, bringing in hundreds from neighboring towns and even New York City! Floats! Fun! Holiday festivities!
Holiday Artisan Fair brings together 20 artisans for a unique shopping experience. Shops will be inside the stately mansion, artfully decorated by Jacob Sloat descendant Peter Bush and team. Free admission and hot chocolate! Thursday, Dec. 8, 6-9 pm.
Sloatsburg's Winterfest (Saturday, Dec. 11, 12-5 pm) is chock full of holiday fun. Check out food and craft vendors for perfect presents. Enjoy the festive decor and holiday music. And be sure to catch the Ugly Sweater Contest!
Winter Solstice Sunset annually celebrates the shortest day of the year. Join the party both inside and outside the mansion as the sun drops and the first winter night begins. Also, honor the local Ramapough Mountain Lenape with Shaman Cindi Fountain, her large medicine drum and rattles for all to greet the new season. Wednesday, Dec. 21, 4-6 pm.
The area has so many great places to eat, featured by Explore Harriman. Here are a few with special seasonal menus and enjoyable experiences.
Michael Bruno, an internet and real estate entrepreneur, tells HVH everyone at Valley Rock Inn is so excited to reopen for winter indoor dining on Dec. 15. Covid had them closing there inside eateries. The Lodge restaurant will have all three fireplaces aglow. But not to worry, the patio is open for lunch. “People love the après ski feeling,” he says. With several guest houses, a 75-foot pool (summer only), a 7,000-square foot fitness center, an organic market, art gallery and acres of parkland to explore, it’s an ideal place for a luxurious stay. “It doesn’t get better than this.”
Valley Rock Cantina is an outdoor dining oasis. Cozy in winter, casual chic in warmer weather. Open Wednesdays through Sundays for lunch. The Lodge, a historic 1880's hook and ladder firehouse with high ceilings,, has all the atmosphere its name implies. There are two additional dining rooms and a comfy bar.
Valley Rock Inn Market is a mountain ski house experience, a specialty market and café for rich coffees, tasty baked goods and organic prepared foods. Inside, enjoy yourself at the communal tables or upscale red leather banquettes. Outside, cozy up to the warmth of several fire cauldrons. Before you head home, buy some organic local produce and products.
The four guesthouses are each a unique country luxe experience. All have Frette linens, wet bar, WiFi and more.
A two-woman show opens New Year’s Eve in their art gallery featuring paintings by Sally Bruno (Michael’s sister) and a new artist to the area, Deborah Buck.
Love glitz and glam? Reserve your place for the New Year’s Eve party featuring a raw bar, passed canapes and both Mediterranean and carving stations. Champagne and dancing into the night!
Quench your thirst after a healthy hike at Seven Lakes Station, a craft beer taproom (14 local brews on rotation) and bistro. Don’t skip the eggplant fritters or oversize pretzels. Burgers and Belgian mussels. Christmas beers and winter soups. Must not miss their snow globes and latest addition - a 20X40-foot heated outdoor tent with live music.
Three generations of women who love food are the core of The Village Blend. The vibe is community comfy. The coffees, soups and quiches are scrumptious. Enjoy a break at the stonewalled outdoor fire pits.
Another local fab owned by women is Java Love Coffee Roasting Co. Stop for a sip and hot breakfast. The valley is alive with the delish smell of roasting coffee bean thanks to "Jon Bon Java" (the roasting machine). Latte specialities this season: North Pole (hazelnut vanilla mocha), Sleigh Ride (white chocolate toffee maple with a caramel drizzle) and Candy Cane
(peppermint white or dark mocha).
Sometimes we forget there is so much beauty, and things to do so close to the Big Apple. And we hibernate! But don’t be bearish this winter - get out, get going, and enjoy all that the area has to offer. Explore Harriman. You’ll love it!
In partnership with Explore Harriman. Sponsored by Rockland County Tourism