Oh what a beautiful morning!!! Today is the kind of day that is perfect for heading out on a fun family adventure! I’m posting an adventure from the fall that is perfect almost anytime of year. Get out today and embrace the glory that sunny days bring! ENJOY!
Returning to school each fall can be difficult for both students and parents alike. Long lazy summer days roll into jam packed cooler days filled with car pools, color coded calendars and crock pot dinners. That is why we knew that successfully completing the official first week of school called for some kind of celebration. Fortunately Mother Nature agreed and provided us with a perfect Saturday to play as a family!
Fueled with a nutritious breakfast we laced up our sneakers, loaded our bikes onto the Explorer and headed north. We’d recently heard of a bike trail in New York’s Catskills region that was both picturesque and interesting. We knew that at the end of the short trail we would find the “Walkway over the Hudson;” an attraction not to be missed. Our travel took about 90 minutes. The traffic was easy, the sun was shining brightly and the conversation was flowing. Don’t you love how car rides provide uninterrupted time to chat and catch up? It’s one of our favorite ways to really connect!
As we pulled into the town of Lloyd, NY the parking area for the Hudson Valley Rail Trail was marked and easy to find. It surrounds a park and several ball fields but since there were no teams playing, spaces were abundant and filled with other nature lovers ready for a day on the trail.
The paved trail is wide and welcomes pedestrian, bikers, skaters and scooters. Those on wheels are reminded by signs throughout the trail to yield to those on foot. Benches abound at picturesque areas and mid trail there is a par course fitness area inviting everyone to stop and get in shape. An unusual and pleasant surprise was the large and very clean bathroom mid trail. It is located next to the genuine red caboose which invites playful children and adults to explore it while they wait. A perfect win/win for a family out exploring for the day.
Less than 4 miles into the trail nature lovers will begin to notice a busier area marked with flags, an information booth, more bathrooms and a smattering of concession stands. This is the beginning of the “Walkway over the Hudson”, the main attraction for the day! The 1.28 mile walkway which was once an abandoned railroad bridge was opened on October 3, 2009. It is 212 feet above the Hudson River and is the longest elevated pedestrian bridge in the world! Though the bridge is high, it is also wide and therefore less unnerving for those afraid of heights. The views are spectacular and the photograph filled signs along the bridge provide a plethora of information about the bridge and the river below.
After enjoying the breath taking views and meandering along the bridge we found ourselves ready to refuel so we packed the bikes back on to the car and headed to another local treasure the Hyde Park Brewing Company.
Though the name says “brewery” the atmosphere felt more like a fine dining restaurant than a cozy pub. Upon entering I was concerned that our biking attire may not be appropriate for the crowd, however or lovely hostess assured me we were fine and seated us in one of the two dining rooms. The selection of beer allowed us to choose between 7 house brewed beers, beer cocktails, wines and soft drinks. The food menu was creative and we truly enjoyed the burgers we ordered along with the amazing garlic parmesan fries. We were ready to continue our adventure!
Being food and wine lovers we could not leave Hyde Park without a visit to the famed Culinary Institute of America. The campus is gorgeous and visitors are invited to dine in one of the campus restaurants where chefs in training provide memorable high quality meals along with wine or cocktail pairings. Though we had just eaten, we thought we would visit the Apple Pie Bakery to purchase some goodies to bring home. Sadly, the bakery is only open weekdays so instead we viewed chefs through the glass windows and shopped for unique cooking tools in the gift shop.
The Hudson Valley area is tourists dream as it also includes a number of historical homes including the Vanderbilt Mansion and the homes of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. Though we popped into the presidential library, our tired bodies begged us to return on a day we could give these locations our full attention. They are definitely worth returning to and we have already added them to our list of future excursions.
As we rode home along the New York thruway we continued to enjoy the precious time as a family; reminiscing about the glorious days of summer and looking forward to the fun filled fall days to come!