Pull those sweaters out of the closet, retire those swimsuits and watch out for those crunchy leaves…autumn has arrived! And with the wonderful season that is fall comes the wonderful outdoor activities that are perfect for the whole family! The time has come to enjoy the changing of the leaves, apple and pumpkin picking and getting ready for Halloween. So if you live in the beautiful Hudson Valley region of New York, you’re in luck because it’s full of fall festivities and foliage tours this season!
The Hudson Valley region of New York encompasses Westchester County and northward to the cities of Albany and Troy. The Hudson Valley is generally separated into three regions: lower, middle and upper. The Lower Hudson Region includes the counties: Westchester, Rockland, Putnam and Bergen. The Mid-Hudson Valley region includes: Dutchess, Orange and Ulster. And the Upper-Hudson Region includes: Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer and Albany.
The first fall foliage tour to look into is one that starts in the Palisades and ends in West Point. The tour begins on the Palisades Parkway. While on there, you can take a break at the Lookout Inn, which is the highest point along the Palisades. The Lookout Inn is a refreshment stand that was first open to the public in 1938. This little stand is open seven days a week during daylight hours and serves a delicious variety of snacks and breakfast and lunch items as well as maps and gifts.
The trek then continues past Bear Mountain, the Bear Mountain Bridge and into West Point,m America’s oldest military academy. This beautiful historic site was once the training ground for famous historical figures such as Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, Douglas MacArthur and Dwight Eisenhower. After a meal in the town of West Point, the tour returns back to the city. All along the way be sure to enjoy (and take pictures of!) all of the rolling hills covered by vibrantly colored maples, oaks, hickories, birches and more!
So to recap, the itinerary includes: New Jersey Palisades, Palisades Parkway, Lookout Inn, Bear Mountain, Bear Mountain Bridge, Fort Montgomery, and West Point. The tour operates from October 16 to November 22 everyday at 9:00 am and 1:30 pm. 35-passenger shuttles are used for this tour. Tickets are $49.99 per person. Check out http://www.onboardnewyorktours.com/fall-foliage-tours-hudson-valley/ for more info!
While this is a great tour for the family, the kids might not be all that enthralled by just enjoying nature. If you’re looking for the perfect fall activity for your children, check out Muscoot Farm in Somers in Westchester County. Children will be able to enjoy a hayride, pet the farm animals, ride on tractors, build scarecrows and go on a guided fall foliage tour or participate on a Halloween scavenger hunt! Another great choice for the whole family is a visit to Thompson’s Cider Mill in Croton-on-Hudson, also in the Hudson Valley. You can watch apples being pressed into cider as well as try several tasty apple varieties. Check out www.travelmuse.com/articles/general-features/westchester-county-fall-family-fun for additional info.
And lastly, Westchester County is just booming with Halloween events for the family! One such event takes place in Sleepy Hollow – yes – the Sleepy Hollow. In October, the Legend of Sleepy Hollow comes alive during the Legend Weekend at the former home of Washington Irving – the author of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow – located in Sunnyside and the nearby 18th Century Philipsburg Manor. Daytime activities are perfect for children, including: pumpkin carving, puppet shoes, scarecrow making and woodland hikes. In the evening, get ready to get spooked! Legend Weekend brings the Headless Horseman to life! This year the even takes place the weekends of October 18 and 19, and 25 and 26. You can reserve tickets online by visiting http://www.hudsonvalley.org/content/view/196/199/ or by calling 914-631-8200.
Finally, a personal favorite event: The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze that takes place in Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson. The Blaze is a mesmerizing display of over 4,000 jack-o-lanterns accompanied by spooky music and sound effects. It takes about an hour to walk along the pumpkin-filled path leading to the stone Manor House, past the heritage gardens, down to the Ferry House and along the Croton River. And trust me, these aren’t your typical jack-o-lanterns, such jack-o-characters include ghosts, snakes, dinosaurs fish and even pirates! The Blaze takes place every weekend in October and costs $15 for adults, $10 for kids ages 5-17 and free for kids under 5! Reserve tickets online at www.hudsonvalley.org or by calling 914-631-8200.
Since Fall is such a lovely season, be sure to spend it with those you love enjoying every minute of the beauty that nature and history provide!