As the days get shorter and colder, I want to be sure I’ve made the most of the late fall outdoor experience as possible. If you have kids as I do, your weekends are usually not your own, but we are now nearly between sports and activity seasons, so there’s still a little time! The fall foliage is pretty much at peak from northern Westchester through the Hudson Valley, so join me as I head outside for this week’s diversions.
392 Gipsy Trail Road
This is a totally surprising gem. Easy to access off of one of Putnam County’s prettiest roads, Gipsy Trail Road, the climb to the tower at the top is a little less than a mile and worth the incline. Interesting scenery includes the many debated ancient stone structures and great foliage. At the top, you will climb the fire tower and the 360 degree vistas are stunning. Perfect for families of all ages and for mountain biking, as well.
Why I Love It:
Because it is practically in my backyard, full disclosure as always! —and because Gipsy Trail Road takes you through the Gipsy Trail Club, a fantastic Adirondack-style community from another time.
Walkway Over the Hudson
61 Parker St. or 83 N. Water St.
Another year-round favorite—and I’m serious. I have walked on the Walkway during every season and even one year on Christmas Day. The views are spectacular, there are local history stations across the span and events throughout the year. You can walk, run, bring your pet on a leash and, if you are Orange County-bound, even hike and walk more on that side. On the Poughkeepsie side there are great pubs, museums and restaurants to complete your visit. Plan your visit for daylight hours; the park rangers will escort you out at dusk. The Walkway, part of the Hudson Valley Rail Trail and the Dutchess Rail Trail, is a masterpiece of a repurposed, revitalized railway.
Why I Love It:
Because the year we walked on Christmas Day, Santa Claus was there and many of the walkers were festively dressed for the season. Because there is always a charity walk, social event, the October Moonwalk, walking clubs, fireworks and more going on, so it’s much more than a place to walk. Because at 6,768 feet it is among the longest elevated pedestrian bridges in the world.
Constitution Marsh Audubon Center & Sanctuary
127 Warren Landing
Audubon Centers usually don’t need much explanation; this one, once you find it, is no exception. The marsh is an educational conservation research facility so while it is a perfect spot for walking and exploring the outdoors around us, there are guided walks. The marsh is a wildlife refuge habitat for the Hudson River Estuary and home to many breeding birds. Perfect for families of all ages, birders, students, photographers and artists, as well. There is a small nature center, too. No pets are allowed, however.
Why I Love It:
Because it is intimate and you really can focus on the incredible wildlife that is all around the marsh. Because the trail is a quintessential Hudson Highlands mix of challenging and scalable terrain.