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Queens Chronicle

BACK TO SCHOOL & FALL GUIDE 2019 A short ride to fall foliage splendor

Fall foliageday trips

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Posted: Thursday, August 29, 2019 10:30 am

The leaves already have started turning to show their vivid fall colors.

And whether one is interested in organized or self-guided leaf-watching tours, or as a backdrop for any number of fall activities, numerous places and activities are a short distance from Queens; and in some cases, you don’t even need a car.

Dutchess County

The website for Dutchess Tourism, Inc. offers a multitude of day trip getaways for Queens residents.

The Poughkeepsie-Hyde Park region offers Walkway Over the Hudson for a flat, non-strenuous stroll over the world’s longest elevated pedestrian bridge.

“The bridge offers fantastic views of the foliage along the Hudson River shorelines,” according to the office.

The leaves also offer scenic backdrops for the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site, Staatsburgh State Historic Site or trips to any number of restaurants and attractions. Dine at waterfront restaurants like Shadows on the Hudson to continue to take in riverfront views.

Driving enthusiasts might prefer the Taconic State Parkway. It was opened in 1931 for Sunday drivers to enjoy the scenery, while the Todd Hill rest area, just one mile south of Route 55, features food and beverage products made by producers in Dutchess and across the state.

Dutchess County’s Innisfree Garden in Millbrook allows visitors to immerse themselves in the foliage and other features of a 150-acre Chinese-style garden with streams, terraces, plants, walking paths and gorgeous scenery.

Rather take the train? The Beacon-Fishkill region is served by MetroNorth. Passengers riding to Beacon are invited to “grab a window seat to enjoy scenic views as the train makes its way up the Hudson River.”

Once in Beacon visitors can walk over to the Hudson’s Long Dock Park to look out across the river; or hop a scenic boat trip to Bannerman Castle on Pollepel Island for another vantage point, complete with a Scottish-style castle, within Hudson Highlands State Park.

Main Street Beacon also offers opportunities for shopping, dining and sipping at some local craft beverage spots, while hikers who want a challenge can head up Mount Beacon, “a steep but rewarding climb offering sweeping views of Beacon, the Hudson River and surrounding region.”

Head to the Rhinebeck region for one of the best vantage points offering panoramic views of the Hudson Valley in Ferncliff Forest. The short hike ends with a climb up the fire tower, offering some of the best sights, especially during the fall season.

More information is available online at dutchesstourism.com/top-ten-lists/?list=15.

Rockland County

Sitting 30 miles from the city on the western bank of the Hudson River, fall foliage in Rockland County serves as the backdrop for 32,000 acres of parkland, 200 miles of trails and parks and scenic views of the river valley, according to Rockland County Tourism.

All the parks, descriptions of which can be found online at explorerocklandny.com, are open from dawn to dusk.

Among the nearly two dozen parks, perhaps the best-known attraction in the county is Bear Mountain State Park, which also features myriad options for active and passive recreation.

Blauvelt State Park offers hiking trails and views of the Hudson Valley on its mostly undeveloped forestland. Kakiat State Park in Montebello offers picnic areas and horseback riding under the foliage.

Mountainview Nature Park in Central Nyack is described as a “mountainous tract, heavily wooded with numerous nature trails for hiking ...”

Sean Hunter Ryan Memorial Park in West Nyack boasts trails over 15 acres that feature red oak, aspen, black birch, hemlock and American ash.

South Mountain Park in Garnerville overlooks the town of Haverstraw and the Hudson River. Its trees include red, white and black oak, dogwood and aspen.

Orange County

The website orangetourism.org lists a number of fall foliage attractions just a short drive north of the city.

Elks-Brox Park, reached from Exit 1 on I-84 and through the Delaware River city of Port Jervis, overlooks the valley and the confluence of the Delaware and Neversink rivers. The nearby Upper Delaware Scenic Byway is on Route 97. The winding Hawk’s Nest Highway, which hugs the mountain, is a popular drive.

Head back to Port Jervis by Route 6 “as it wends its way over the mountain and into valleys covered with the gorgeous colors of fall.”

Port Jervis will host its annual Fall Foliage Festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 22. The celebration located on the river features continuous live entertainment, as well as food, antiques, crafts, antique cars and fire trucks and much more. Port Jervis is accessible by train, as the last stop on the Metro-North Port Jervis Line departing from Penn Station in Manhattan. Further information is available online at portjervisny.org/slider/2019-fall-foliage-festival/.

Newburgh’s waterfront district has not only views of foliage along the Hudson River, but foliage cruise tours. Information is available at prideofthehudson.com andriverrosecruises.com.

Foliage also can be seen during the daily tours at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

New York State

New York State will begin issuing its regular fall foliage schedule in mid-September online at iloveny.com/things-to-do/fall/foliage-report/. The site iloveny.com also has more general tourism information.

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