By Lisa Marie Vona
I have been enjoying New York’s change in seasons for years now, so what better way to start the season then to share how to enjoy the New York City autumn weather for novices.
According to IloveNY.com, the fall foliage peak in the Southern Hudson Valley is the last two weeks in October. New York City and Long Island’s fall foliage peak will be the last week in October and the first week in November.
The Metro North train will take you up the Hudson River, showing off breathtaking views of the Palisades and mountainous regions of Westchester, Putnam, Duchess and Hudson counties.
For your first trip, you have to go to the end of the line at Poughkeepsie. There is an old train line that has been converted to a walkway. The highline in Poughkeepsie has amazing views once you take the elevator ten floors up the beginning of your travel across the Hudson River. When you cross over, there is apple cider and goodies waiting for you to snack on. Take your snacks and continue to walk through Highland, New York, which has its own folklore and mystery.
If you decide to backtrack, Cold Springs, New York is a great town to escape. Cold Springs sits right across from Storm King Mountain, which stretches from the Hudson into the clouds, towering over the small 17th century town.
There are plenty of places to walk to like the Hudson House right on the river where noted American Revolutionaries once slept. Main Street is lined with coffee shops, antique shops and underrated, reasonably priced places that serve truffle mac and cheese.
All your needs will be met in this town including access to Breakneck Ridge and the quarry. Give yourself a full two hours to walk through, climb and relax in front of the amazing views before sauntering back for a meal in town. You get to do all this for a round trip price of fewer than 30 dollars.
If you want to spend even less money, bring your own picnic basket, walk down to the river and spread out for the day. You will not be disappointed.
Anyone who does not have a car might be at a disadvantage because I do not recommend spending 20 dollars on a taxi from a train station unless you split the cost among a group. However, I have a few more favorites to keep in mind in case you want to wander through a corn maze, pick some pumpkins or just eat some freshly-made apple pie. Most places have a produce stand with baked goods for the lazy, also known as your friend who barely pitched in for gas and sat in the back with ear buds in, gazing out the window, watching the beautiful countryside pass by. Once you get there, they see the acres of fruit trees to the right and the stand to the left. They look at you and say, “Meh.” Then, retreat to a Japanese Maple Tree to nap with pie falling out of their mouth.
If you want to find a corn maze, pumpkin patch, hayrides or some great home baked goods to nosh on, you must visit Stuart’s Farm Granite Springs.
Another place to visit is Montgomery Place Orchards Red Hook in New York, but make sure to call ahead because there was a licensing issue a while back. They have the largest variety of apples with cute little cards next to the barrels to give historical context. Plus, the grounds are beautiful.
Fishkill Farms in Hopewell Junction is another must see farm in the fall. On the weekends, they have a folk band, a huge orchard and a tractor that comes around if you are lost or too tired to go back. There are many varieties of apples, similar to Montgomery Farms. There is a full service food catering truck and their store is the biggest and best I have seen. There are also local cheeses, produce and meat sold here.
Mead Orchards in Tivoli has no hayrides, corn mazes or rocking band on the weekends, but, this place is close to my heart because it is the first orchard I ever visited in New York. The orchard has been in the family for four generations. When I was there years ago, the great-grandmother of the farm came out to greet our bus. In comparison to Fishkill, the grounds are huge and the bags of apples are cheap. The countryside is also gorgeous to look at as you drive there.
For people with cars, you can take the expressways, byways and highways to get there with expedience. However, if you want to fill the entire day, set your GPS for Tarrytown and take Highway 9 all the way. This old highway runs alongside the Hudson River and takes you through quaint, beautiful towns of that might spike your curiosity for a later trip. Yes, there is some hoity-toityness, but there are also charming settings of another era in American history which are beautiful to view.
I hope this starts you off with some great ideas and discoveries this fall. There are a lot of festivals this coming weekend; too many to mention. This is where Google is your friend. I promise to follow up with Halloween goodness as well as some hiking ideas this month for our Fordham folks.