Fall – The most glorious time of year in the northeast. The leaves are turning bright hues of red, yellow and orange. The air is crisp. The fabrics are lush. And the fireplaces are starting to crackle. It’s simply fabulous.
And there’s no better way to celebrate this magnificent time of year than with an all-American weekend in New York’s gorgeous Hudson Valley. Now sure there are endless activities around the state and the region to participate in, but Hudson Valley has a sort of enchanting and extra special vibe.
Just a couple hours north of New York City, my best friend and I decided to visit Hudson Valley. We rented a car and found an Air B-n-B for the weekend – a cute little house on a country road in Warwick, New York. Early Saturday morning, we headed out of town and upstate in search of an exciting fall weekend getaway. As we drove along the highway, we were excited to see the changing foliage. After all, we’re city girls and anything in nature is that much more awe-inspiring.
After just a couple of hours and a couple of pitstops along the way we found ourselves in the quaint town of Warwick. We first stopped for lunch at the Iron Forge Inn, the most precious little Bed and Breakfast, but were bummed to find out they were closed for a private event.
So we made our way to Main Street and were welcomed by the kind staff at Eddie’s Roadhouse where we indulged in a cinnamon sugar rimmed glass of pumpkin beer, some hot and fresh french fries and a delicious “Meatloaf Sammy”.
With full bellies, we walked the brick-lined sidewalks and stopped into the shops, exploring the charming little town, and while we didn’t have much of a planned itinerary, we asked the locals an they gave us plenty of good and fun things to do about town, including:
- Penning’s Cidery
- Applewood Winery & Orchard
- Fitzgerald Falls
- Brotherhood Winery
- Storm King Art Center
- Woodbury Common Outlet Mall
It was only Saturday, and we knew we definitely wanted to pick apples. After all, isn’t that what Fall is all about? But first we stopped at Penning’s Cidery to get “warmed up” with some freshly pressed cider. There, we tried a flight of four flavored ciders, though we didn’t finish them. I don’t think either one of us really liked them.
We made our way out and to our originally intended destination, the apple orchard. Despite the inclement weather, we found our way to Applewood Orchard, the first of three we’d visit. Upon arrival, the weather was so bad (rainy and cold), we were running from the tree to the car to take breaks from the cold wind and rain. But in between those breaks, we couldn’t help but have fun and take bushels of pictures (no pun intended). I mean, who can resist juggling apples, standing under an apple tree and of course, taking a bite and then tossing them away, as you make your way down the tasting row of crisp apple trees?
After apples landing on my head, my bestie slipping down the orchard hill, and getting a beating by the rain, it was time to take it inside for some warm (non-alcoholic) cider and donuts. I’d been craving these hot, sugary donuts since last year and couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into one (or two). Unfortunately, as I approached the snack shack and requested a few, along with my cup-o-cider, I was told they were not fresh (meaning not hot), nor did were they drenched in cinnamon and sugar. Ugh! What a let down.
I still ordered a few, but I have to say, I was not a happy camper and gave myself a stomach ache for no reason. Not satisfied and unable to leave update without tracking down the real deal, we quickly departed Applewood and went on a search for a “real” apple cider donut. Enter Masker Orchard (sort of).
As we walked up to the Snack Barn, I requested donuts again. There they delivered sugared pieces, but not hot. What is up with this town? At that point, I was four donuts deep (including my heavy lunch) and was ready for a nap!
We drove out and Google-mapped our way to our home for the night, a two story house on the side of a main country road. It was nothing fancy, but it was cozy (or so we thought). As our gracious host showed us to our room upstairs, we were greeted by a dog and a cat. The dog I didn’t mind, but I’m allergic to cats. During my stay I also found a couple of spiders, two flies and a rooster that wouldn’t shut up at 5am.
Despite the unwelcomed guests, it was a place to rest our head for the night before we set out on our next adventure. As the rooster crowed and the sun rose through the forest behind the house, we were up and at ’em early. We packed our bags, made our way out, and along the way, found some incredibly scenic views.
We took our time as we made our way to our first stop, Fitzgerald Falls. Despite getting lost and getting half the town involved in helping us find it, we finally made it to the site of waterfall…albeit no water in it. We were disappointed, as were a couple of other hikers who also made their way to see this nearby and easily accessible waterfall, but it was still beautiful to get out in nature nonetheless (and let’s not mention burn off the calories from the smorgasbord of stuff from the day before). It was a gorgeous and sunny Sunday.
Our next stop was one final orchard, Apple Ridge. There, we encountered a field of brightly colored pumpkins and a stop for more donuts. We snapped tons of pictures of course, because if you know us, we can’t help an Instagram worthy spot like this, and tried our hand at finally finding a good donut. Well guess what… fail! Not a one! Sure it was sugary, but hot, it was not.
Despite the third set of disappointing donuts, we continued the trek. We drove toward the oldest winery in the country, along a beautiful, breathtaking trail. Brotherhood Winery is located in Washingtonville, New York – just 30 minutes north of Warwick. Who knew? There, we tasted and toured and after purchasing some grown up juice, we made our way to the next pitstop, Storm King Art Center.
Now if you’re dizzy just reading this and think it’s a lot for two days, it is. But if you’re adventurous and spontaneous and want to take advantage of a place (especially if you don’t own a car), this is how you do it!
Storm King Art Center is a magical place. Over 500 acres of art, these grounds are something special. You can bring your lunch, bring your dog, and even rent a bike, and on a warmer day, I’d say to spend the entire day here. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the luxury of time or warm weather, so we zipped through, but it was beautiful enough to appreciate even quickly!
And while I can write a whole blog post on Storm King (and probably will at another time), I’ll just say this… it’s a must! Whether you’re an art lover or not, it doesn’t matter. It captures the attention of any who visit.
By the time we left Storm King it was well into the late afternoon, but we still had one more stop to make – Woodbury Commons (the outlet mall). As we made our way back down toward the city, Woodbury would be our final stop. Tired and ready to be home, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity for a potential shopping deal.
Excited and ready to shop till we dropped, we quickly found this place to be nothing but an overhyped strip mall of high-end retailers and such. The prices were not all that great and the inventory was sub-par. Needless to say, we were in and out and left empty handed.
As we made our way back to the “Big Apple”, I must say it was a whirlwind of a trip, but oh-so-worth it. Getting out of the city is always a treat and when it involves good food, unanticipated adventures, and crazy-fun company, I say “count me in”.
Until the next Big Apple Adventure!
For more trip tips to the Hudson Valley visit the Orange County Tourism Board.