Upstate New York: Croton Gorge Park
Heading to upstate New York in the fall is one of my absolute favorite yearly weekend adventures. With all the crazy hectic schedules between me and my friends right now though, an entire weekend trip didn’t seem all that feasible to coordinate. Enter the beautifully simple day trip; Hudson Valley is such a short distance from the city while also feeling like it’s another world away.
Last year for an autumn weekend trip I went a little further up to the Catskills. I fell in love with the scenery, the people, the shops and really everything quite frankly. The Catskills are a little to far for a day trip though. I’ve already done an apple picking trip as well, and after additional research decided that the orchard I went to, Lawrence Farms Orchard, would by far be the best one so no need to go to another. My friend and I wanted a leisurely day spent taking in the scenery to be able to fully soak up the fall weather.
I decided on starting our day at Croton Gorge Park. This is undoubtedly the easiest ‘hike’ (honestly, a short walk) with the absolute best pay off. There is a designated parking lot at the base of the gorge with picnic areas to take in the view. Then it is a short 15 to 20 minute walk through the woods up to the top where you get some breathtaking views of the water and all the changing fall colors. We found one shady spot and were able to snag a photo together.
We followed the park outing with a scenic drive along the Hudson. Every article I read mentioned going across the Bear Mountain Bridge taking a route along the west side of the Hudson River, through Highland Falls & Storm King State Park to end up in Cornwall-On-Hudson. We did end up doing this eventually, but it didn’t prove to be nearly as gorgeous as the drive we took between the gorge and our lunch in Peekskill. The drive along Croton Ave. nestles just up against the reservoir and the views were outstanding. Had we known it was going to surpass the other route by so much we would have found a spot to stop for photos, but we were so in the moment we couldn’t be bothered. Another desirable quality of this portion of our drive was that I didn’t pass a single car until we got on the main road closer to Peekskill, we truly felt secluded even though we were theoretically nearby to so much.
We ended our scenic drive in Tarrytown, New York; talk about Main Street USA! Tarrytown has a ridiculous amount of cute shops, restaurants, and activities lining their Main Street. After perusing our options, we chose The Taco Project and boy were we happy with our decision! Incredible service, good prices, and heavy helpings of guac. We parked our butts in a window seat, sipping on Ichabod pumpkin beer (pretty festive considering we were going to Sleepy Hollow after dinner), people watching, all with the sunsetting backdrop of small town America.
Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
After dinner we took the short drive over to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery to do a nighttime tour. The history of the town was pretty cool and they give you lanterns to light your way, although I used mine more for warmth to be quite honest. A little cheesy but I could tell they were quite passionate about their heritage and it showed throughout the tour. I personally would have loved if throughout the cemetery there were speakers that played horse noises to make you take a second look for the headless horseman. Or better yet, have a man on a horse slowly walking the grounds for people on tours to barely catch him out of the corner of their eyes. Add an extra spooky layer to the stories we were being told.