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Mother Natures Colorful Show is Now Getting Started 

If you are looking for a quick getaway for some awesome leaf-peeping just far away enough from your daily hustle and bustle, then I recommend visiting the mid-Hudson Valley region of New York for an unforgettable encounter with mother nature. An ideal fall weekend retreat for folks who want to come out and enjoy the change of seasons when this region turns into a magical colorful place. With a unique beauty that comes to life in vibrant colors during autumn, it’s no wonder that National Geographic named it one of the top 20 must-see destinations in the world! I know I’m in love, and so many others would agree.  It just is that beautiful. A designated National Heritage area, this region stretches from Westchester to Albany counties and there is so much to explore, do, and the best farm to table eats! Best known for its many farms, orchards, wineries, distilleries and small towns that dot along the Hudson River. There are many reasons to visit Hudson Valley this time of year from taking in an outdoor festival or musical events, head out and do some apple picking, apple cider donut tasting, and leaf-peeping among the natural beauty. I can personally vouch and say that the first signs of fall foliage are starting to appear. Here’s a handy list of some of the top (easy) places I would recommend to peep the leaves in Hudson Valley, NY. And here is a link for tracking the fall foliage in New York.

NORTH-SOUTH LAKE CATSKILLS PRESERVE

The Catskill Mountains is the perfect place to come explore, hike the woods and catch some fall magic. Dubbed by New Yorkers the most instagrammable outdoor place in New York its located one hundred miles northwest of NYC.  There are so many overlooks, mountains, waterfalls, and lakes to see, which is actually what this region is famous for.  If you head out to North-South Lake it’s the largest park and campground in the Catskill Park area. One visit is all you need to leave your mind and body feeling rejuvenated by mother nature. The park is home to breathtaking views, historic stories, hiking trails for all levels, and two lakes to choose from to enjoy swimming, kayaking, fishing, and the like. On a good clear day, you can even see five states from one of the views from this one park. Once done exploring I recommend visiting any of the nearby little towns and take the time to enjoy the delicious drinks and eats, artisan and unique shops, and if you spot one, a farmers market. Promise you won’t be disappointed.  Here’s a helpful link to some of the best activities. An admission fee is required to enter the park.

MINNEWASKA STATE PARK PRESERVE

Only an hour and forty-five minutes away from New York City you will find Minnewaska State Park Preserve, a beautiful park with easy trails and footpaths making it a family favorite everyone of all skill levels can enjoy. Home to the Shawangunk Mountain ridge which rises more than about 2,000 feet above sea level. It’s an amazing sight to behold. You can choose how to explore and catch the sights from scenic drives and bike rides to hiking the trails. It’s a unique area surrounded by rugged, rocky terrain and the park is a dense forest with sheer cliffs and ledges that open up to amazing views and lakes. Visitors here can enjoy swimming in the nearby lake and even try scuba-diving.  Other favorite activities here include rock climbing, horseback riding, and of course hiking the numerous trails in the park, some easy, and some not so much! Pay careful attention to the markers on the trees that guide the trails.  The colorful leaves put on a beautiful dramatic show as you loop around cliffs and nature trails. There are also numerous events that take place up at the park which are fun to participate in so sharing with you that link here.   Once done exploring drop in hipster downtown New Paltz at the base of the mountain and enjoy some locally crafted beer, visit a distillery that looks like a dairy farm,  or pick up some artisan chocolate. It’s a fun town to walk around in. If you are a runner or walker the River to Ridge trail is a great scene here with a six-mile loop with unbeatable views of the Shawangunk Ridge.  You can also walk the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail and visit Mohonk Preserve nearby. An admission fee to enter Minnewaska State Park and Mohonk Preserve may be required. 

JOHN BURROUGHS NATURE SANCTUARY

A 200-acre oasis set along the mid-Hudson River Valley known as John Burroughs Nature Sanctuary is just two short hour drive north of NYC. It’s a must-stop for a quick visit with mother nature. This famous sanctuary was once a writing retreat and gathering place and has even been the host for past presidents and first ladies. You see, John Burroughs built his rustic cabin nestled in the middle of the woods and called it Its Slabsides, where he wrote and hosted guests advocating for the preservation of nature.  Today a National Historic Landmark, and Hudson River Valley National Heritage area site, preserved for all to visit. It’s stunning in the fall. I can personally vouch having walked it many times.  John Burroughs, one of the most influential authors of his day (1837-1921), wrote many works about the wildland here around the preserve. The trails here are easy and go around a peacefully idyllic pond. No admission fee but donations are welcome.

ULSTER COUNT N.Y  A MUST-VISIT IN THE FALL 

As a tourism expert and advocate for travel, this is just the first of me sharing a little bit of upstate New York with you.  New York is filled with history, diversity, arts, and culture, and bountiful agri-tourism.  I will be sharing more of our travels as I uncover more hidden gems in the Hudson Valley region.  With the days getting shorter and time flying by quickly, getting outdoors and spend some time with nature should be a priority.  Take a moment to connect with mother nature.  Please do check out any of the recommendations above, I promise either of those three parks will not disappoint.  Come and seek for yourself and fall in love with the unmatched scenic views you will only find in Ulster County New York. 

Who’s coming to visit Hudson Valley for some fall magic? 

Until next Time ~ Ayri

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