Autumn in the Hudson Valley is gorgeous, but also incredibly short, so best to try to experience as much of it as possible. Peak foliage is coming soon to the Hudson Valley, and with gas prices low, this is the perfect time to get in the car and go. Here are routes for three great trips, including the best places to stop for food, views, drinks, or just to stretch your legs. All trips involve about an hour of driving.
Photo from Biletskiy Evgeniy/Fotolia
By Julia Morales
Take a drive along this hour-long stretch of road, Route 9, winding along the Hudson River—a perfect Hudson Valley tour for locals and visitors alike.
Starting in Peekskill, make a pit stop at Birdsall House on Main St. for some Creole BBQ shrimp, or a Sunday brunch. You’ll drive along the Hudson River, and be able to see views of mountains, the changing fall foliage, and open road ahead. Branching off onto Route 403, then onto Route 9D, you’ll drive directly along the Hudson River for about two miles before branching off toward Beacon. Moving more inland, look around for local shops and restaurants passing Wappinger’s Falls and through the Catskills. Finally, end your hour-long, scenic journey in Poughkeepsie at Walkway over the Hudson for a final round of spectacular views.
Places to stop:
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With craft beers galore, smoky chicken wings, and bourbon pecan cake, you’ll want to kick off your road trip the right way by starting at Birdsall House. The brunch menu (how do root beer waffles sound?) will start your road trip off right.
970 Main Street
West Point Foundry Preserve
Photo by Daniel Case via Wikimedia Commons
After an hour of driving, stretch your legs at this Cold Spring park. With a short, accessible trail, perfect picnic locations, and an abundance of wildlife (not to mention historical significance), you’ll fall in love with this Hudson Valley beauty.
80 Kemble Ave
Cold Spring, NY
Cold Spring Waterfront
Photo by Shinya Suzuki, via Flickr Creative Commons
Park and walk through an underground tunnel (it runs beneath the track to the Cold Spring Metro North station) to Cold Spring’s gorgeous waterfront. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, visit Moo Moo’s Creamery for homemade ice cream you can enjoy while taking in views of Storm King State Park across the river. With over 30 flavors to choose from, you’ll find your perfect mix of ice cream and toppings to savor while in this quaint town on the Hudson.
Moo Moo’s Creamery
32 West St
Cold Spring, NY
The Hop (Closed)
Stop in for a pint at these popular craft beer store/restaurant hybrid. With 16 beers on draft, plus hundreds in bottles, you’re sure to find something you like.
554 Main St
Drop in for some culture. Occupying a 30,000 square foot former Nabisco box printing factory on the banks of the Hudson, Dia:Beacon represents a northern outpost of the Dia Art Foundation. General admission is $12. â€‹
3 Beekman Street
Have a taste of this farm’s house-made salsa, local honey, and fresh items from the bakery. Pick your own apples, make your own cider, and enjoy a fresh cookie. Everything here is local and fresh, and you won’t regret stopping here on your getaway!
29 Old Myers Corners Road
Wappinger Falls, NY
Walkway Over The Hudson
Photo by Daniel Tobias, via Flickr Creative Commons
Complete your day with a breathtaking walk 212 feet over the Hudson River. At 1.28 miles long, the walkway is the longest elevated pedestrian bridge in the world. Take a stroll and gawk at the 360-degree views of the Hudson River and the surrounding trees. Catch a glimpse of the red and gold leaves as the fall season brings beauty to the Hudson Valley.
61 Parker Ave
By Falon Kirby
Do you enjoy exploring back road villages and horse farms? Then Route 22 is the two-lane highway for you. New York State Route 22 is a north-south highway that offers travelers the opportunity to take in the beautiful scenery and to adventure out to any of the highway’s many attractions. Route 22 runs north from the Bronx all the way up to Plattsburgh the Canadian border. In Westchester it runs through Croton Falls, Goldens Bridge, Bedford, North Castle, Armonk, White Plains, Scarsdale, Bronxville, and Mount Vernon, offering endless views in the northern part of the county. To the North of White Plains, you can expect to pass the Kensico Dam, followed by a ride along the banks of dam’s reservoir. Just twelve miles north of the dam, stop into Bedford, where you can expect to see classic 1950’s cars rolling through the neighborhood. You may take advantage of Route 22 and explore some of the most scenic (and wealthiest) areas of Northern Westchester County, or enjoy specific destinations such as Wampus Pond or the John Jay Homestead State Historic Site.
Places To Stop:
Kensico Dam Plaza
Start out your road trip through the heart of Westchester at Kensico Dam Plaza. The park built around the 300 foot high dam offers its visitors the chance to picnic, play on the playground, hike, exercise, skate, and bike ride. Dogs are allowed, but they must be leashed
1 Bronx River Parkway
Wampus Pond is a great place to pull over and set up a picnic (though there’s plenty of good spots in Armonk to grab a bite). The natural pond, previously known as Wampus Lake Reservoir, used to be part of the New York City water supply. Today, Wampus Pond is an ideal spot for kayaking and fishing.
41 Wampus Ave
Armonk, NY 10504
If picnicking isn’t your thing, you’ll have plenty of delicious options for food in Armonk. Check out the Beehive Restaurant, if only for its truly awesome breakfast menu.
30 Old Route 22
Mianus River Gorge Preserve
Photo by Ozge Can, via Flickr Creative Commons
If you’re looking for some exercise, veer off Route 22 for about 6 minutes to find the trailhead for the Mianus River Gorge Preserve. The five-mile trail was ranked on our list of the top five hikes in Westchester. The trail is one of the “oldest Nature Conservancy preserves in the country and also affords opportunities to see cascades, an old mica and quartz quarry, and flowers like red trillium and marigolds.”
167 Mianus River Rd
John Jay Homestead State Historic Site
Stop by the John Jay Homestead State Historic Site to surround yourself with the history of one of America’s principal Founding Fathers. The home of John Jay consists of 62 acres filled with beautiful gardens, an array of woodland walks, meadows, and 19th century farm buildings. An 1820’s schoolhouse and an 1830s barn are also open for touring.
400 Route 22
ONEPONY / FOTOLIA
End your fall day right—with a juicy, fresh-picked apple. The orchard offers pick-your-own apples, fresh-baked pies, a corn maze, and hay-rides.
139 Hardscrabble Road
â€‹Croton Falls, NY
Cover photo via Wikimedia Commons
By Ryan Deffenbaugh
Seven Lakes Drive is exactly as it sounds: A route that passes by seven lakes. As the main road through Bear Mountain and Harriman state parks, the windy passage offers gorgeous views of foliage and the small lakes that dot Harriman, New York’s second largest state park. But don’t take my word for it, here’s a video of the drive from Sports Car Advisors “Scenic Highways Of America” tour:
This route is light on stops, but includes some great views of the Hudson on the endlessly windy Goat Trail (plus, of course, over Bear Mountain Bridge) and a trek through two state parks. The route pops out on the south end of the park in time to take the Tappan Zee Bridge back into Westchester. Perfect for a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.
Places To Stop:
Rated the best hike in Westchester, the views of the Hudson and Bear Mountain Bridge the summit of this hike provides are worth the effort. So long as you’re cool with breaking a sweat before hitting the road (the trail is about 4 miles), this hike is the perfect way to start a fall ride.
Trailhead on Route 9D just after Goat Trail.
Perkins Memorial Observatory (Top Of Bear Mountain)
Photo by Dave Overcash, via Flickr Creative Commons
If you’re willing to veer a bit off course, the route up to the top of Bear Mountain is as gorgeous as it is steep and windy. It’s about seven minutes to the top by car, and you’ll be thankful to have four wheels and a motor as you pass cyclists struggling up the harsh incline. At the top, you can see the New York City skyline on clear days.
Veer onto Perkins Memorial Drive off Seven Lakes Drive.
Lake Tioriati Beach
Photo by ScubaBear68, via Flickr Creative Commons
Though fall isn’t swim season, the beach is still a great place to pull over and stretch your legs or set up a picnic. Also a great spot to fish or kayak.
Just after the traffic circle on Seven Lakes Drive.
Photo by The Turducken, via Flickr Creative Commons
This is the final lake you’ll pass, so it’s a good place to pull off one last time for whatever activities you had planned. Sebago is the largest, and strangest shaped, lake in the park as well.
Gypsy Donut & Espresso Bar
How about some donuts before crossing back over the river? You can’t do any better than this Nyack spot. We’ve already raved about the donut shop’s maple bacon and salted caramel varieties. This is a popular stop for cyclists, but we’re pretty sure they’ll still accept you even though you ventured through the park the easy way.
18 N Franklin St