Loveliest route from Brooklyn upstate
September 1, 2017 1:33 AM   Subscribe

We're driving up from Brooklyn to near New Paltz in the autumn to see the turning colours and let the dog sniffle across the land, finding new smells and meeting cows. We are in no rush to get there. Give me your recommendations, please, on the nicest route from A to B that might take us through pretty towns, provide the best scenery, or give us a flavour of the valley. Bonus points for great bookstores, good coffee shops, green spaces to let the dog explore, and places to get ice cream.

Extra bonus points for the ice cream.
posted by giraffeneckbattle to Travel & Transportation around Hudson Valley, NY (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Get yourselves a good paper map of New York State if you don't have one already. The Palisades Parkway, in my estimation, is the best way to feel like you're out of the city very quickly. It's right across the George Washington Bridge.
posted by mareli at 5:24 AM on September 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Get yourselves a good paper map of New York State if you don't have one already.

I'm a fan of the Delorme State Atlas and Gazetteer as a paper supplement to GPS navigation. Topographic features, trails, side roads, goofy little points of interest- they're the best.

(Garmin bought Delorme last year. They closed the map store in Yarmouth, ME, but said they'd continue printing Gazetteers, which I appreciate.)
posted by zamboni at 6:27 AM on September 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Google maps bike directions are good for finding nicer side roads to drive on (it's better at that than actually finding good roads to bike on).

Storm King Highway is worth a detour, in my book. Amazing views of Breakneck Ridge, Bannerman's Island, etc. Be aware that it is closed in the winter and sometimes after periods of heavy rain due to falling rock hazards.

Gardiner is a cute town just south of New Paltz, and Rosendale is just a bit north. If you visit the latter, be sure to walk across the train trestle turned rail trail for amazing views of the town and Rondout Creek.

In Newburgh the Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site has a nice green space with views of the Hudson and Mount Beacon across the street from a good coffee shop.

On the other side of the river, there are some amazing old dirt roads—Old Albany Post Road near Garrison/Cold Spring is really cool.

The Hudson Valley favorite for ice cream tends to be Jane's, but that's up in Kingston a bit further than you're going. Zora Dora's Paletaria in Beacon isn't ice cream per se, but it's close (and good!).
posted by enn at 6:42 AM on September 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

There are so many ways to answer this question depending on how much time you have for the drive and whether or not you want to drive up the east side or the west side of the Hudson.

Driving up the Palisades Parkway will take you through Harriman State Park and Bear Mountain State Park. The rest area/bookstore toward the end of the parkway has a limited but surprisingly decent selection of books on local history, hiking/biking routes, etc. If you head east on US 6 at the end of the Parkway you can stop at the Perkins Memorial Observatory, which offers great views all around. If it is clear you can see the Manhattan skyline far to the south. Continue north on 9W and you'll be near Highland Falls, the village adjacent to West Point. A mile or two past town take a right from 9W onto Rt 218 (the Storm King Highway mentioned above) and you'll have a twisty, turny drive with Storm King Mountain on your left and the Hudson on your right. Eventually you'll wind up in Cornwall-on-Hudson. There's a park on the river there that has great views of Breakneck Ridge. Storm King Art Center, a vast outdoor sculpture park, is nearby but I'm not sure if they allow dogs (they tend to be a bit strict about other things).

To back up a bit and make that drive longer, if you get off the Palisades Parkway at exit 1 you can drive underneath the palisades along Henry Hudson Drive for several miles. You won't believe you're only a couple miles outside Manhattan. There is very little traffic and the speed limit is only 20mph or so. Check the link above before you go to make sure the road is open. The drive ends at 9W. Continue north on 9W and you'll hit a burger/ice cream place just north of the state line. I haven't had the ice cream there but the burgers are good. Turn right at the sign for Tallman State Park and you'll wind up in the village of Piermont and further north the village of Nyack. Pickwick Books in Nyack is... interesting. He's got a zillion books but there is very little order to their shelving and the shelves are often two-deep with book.

Another option would be to drive to the end of the Palisades Parkway and continue east across the Hudson on the Bear Mountain Bridge. Peekskill is a few miles south has a great little used bookstore, Bruised Apple Books and the Peekskill Creamery near the waterfront is quite good. North of Peekskill is Cold Spring, which has lots of shops and antiques and a great ice cream place near the waterfront called Moo Moo's Creamery (there is another ice cream place nearby that isn't nearly as good) but the day is at all warm be prepared to wait on line. Beacon is the next town up after Cold Spring. I really like Zora Dora and the Beacon Creamery is also good. You can cross over the Hudson again on I-84 just north of Beacon. Seconding Rosendale, and also High Falls, just a few miles north of New Paltz.
posted by plastic_animals at 6:55 AM on September 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm a bit late to the party and everyone else has given you some good ideas so I'll just add a few random suggestions:

-Tuthilltown Distillery in Gardiner has a very good restaurant (I think with the same name) and you can buy local bourbon at the distillery, if you're into that.

-Depending on where in Brooklyn you are leaving from, you may want to take the Taconic Parkway rather than the Palisades. South of I-84, the Taconic (it becomes the Bronx River Parkway in the city) can be a redoubt of speeding SUVs going entirely too fast for the narrow lanes and curves, but you may be used to this if you are accustomed to NY-area parkways and it is often the least-trafficked route north from the city. North of 84, things calm down significantly and it's a very pretty drive. Bits of the southern part are pretty, too.

-If you are interested in history, I highly recommend the FDR house in Hyde Park. Even if you're not - and you're not going to bring a dog on a tour - the grounds are very nice and right on the river, so it's a good place to roam around. There are some other, similar, places around there where you could just roam the grounds, such as the Mills Mansion.

-Take the dog for a walk on the Walkway Over the Hudson in Poughkeepsie. You'll need a leash, though.

-Seconding Moo Moo Creamery. It's great. Go there.
posted by breakin' the law at 7:39 PM on September 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

« Older Sexual and consumptive abstinence as a yard-stick...   |   Sodium Acetate-Based Reusable Heating Pad No... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.