Fall Drives 2009
The leaves are changing, the air is crisp, the nights are getting longer — it’s the ideal time to hit the road. Check out our local action-packed fall foliage routes
(page 2 of 4)
Foliage Drive #2: Route 6
Cross Orange County and hike its trails, experience its history, and navigate its twisting highways
By Melissa Esposito
Seeking an Orange County trip to get your fall foliage fix? The portion of Route 6 between Bear Mountain and Port Jervis has all the elements of a perfect autumn setting: sunset-colored treetops, quiet farms preparing for harvest, a couple of caramel-colored deer grazing by the highway, and small lakes lined with local wildflowers. Discover a new place to bring the family, a new way to spend a romantic weekend for two, or a slow, relaxing way to unwind.
One can’t help but be captivated by the natural beauty surrounding the Bear Mountain Inn during a Hudson Valley autumn. Tour one of its nature trails — some of which are included in the Appalachian National Scenic Trail route — or rent a boat on Hessian Lake and enjoy the serene scenery. Make reservations for Sunday brunch at the Overlook Lodge (across the lake from the inn) and indulge in its lavish buffet.
Highland Mills and Central Valley, two neighboring Orange County towns, offer delicious options for dinner. Taste traditional German dishes, such as knockwurst and sauerkraut, or beef goulash, at Highland Mills’ Black Forest Mill (look for the “fat chef” sign outside). At Gasho Hibachi Steakhouse in Central Valley, sample the samurai steak and mahi mahi with homemade sauce as entertaining chefs perform culinary tricks at your table. Don’t forget to visit the koi pond outside.
For a quick bite on the go, check out local favorite Jay’s Deli in Highland Mills. Grab some fresh coffee and a simple bacon, egg, and cheese bagel in the morning — just watch out for those Sunday crowds — or a cold-cut sandwich in the afternoon. You’ll quickly learn why residents love it.
The remains of charcoal pits and mines from the late 1800s — remnants of the town’s once-thriving iron industry — are still visible throughout history-rich Monroe. The town is also home to Museum Village, a family-oriented historic site where visitors can walk around a general store that dates back to 1875, see a replica of a 19th-century schoolhouse, try their hand at candle-making, and view the skeleton of a mastadon, a one-time Hudson Valley native. From Oct. 23-25, the legends of famed New York author Washington Irving are brought to life at the Village’s Halloween-themed event. Bring the kids for fun activities such as hayrides, a haunted house, games, and fall treats.
Sugar Loaf, that artsy little section of Chester, is right off Route 6. Once a sacred burial ground for Minisink Native Americans (before colonial settlers took over in the 1730s), it has been known as an arts-and-crafts village for the past 250 years. Surrounded by apple orchards and shadowed by Sugar Loaf Mountain, this picturesque setting is home to roughly 50 cafes, restaurants, and shops where local artisans make and sell art, jewelry, clothing, and more. Check out their farmers market every Saturday through November — all goods are from local farms, and you’ll find some outstanding salsas here.
The Anthony Dobbins Stagecoach Inn is an adorable bed-and-breakfast in Goshen, located near the town’s Main Street. Framed by tall trees, this well-known inn has been host to travelers for over 100 years. There are four rooms, plus one larger executive suite, and each has its own story. The popular William Penn room, for example, is so named because its four-poster canopy bed once belonged to the statesman. Goshen Historic Track and the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame are both nearby, just down the road from shops and restaurants.
The last stop before Pennsylvania is for careful drivers who aren’t afraid of heights: Be sure to check out Port Jervis’ “Hawk’s Nest,” a narrow, winding road on the side of a mountain on nearby Route 97. With only a stone wall separating the paved-over dirt path from a steep drop (looking out the window, you’ll see the tops of trees), this drive, although not for the faint of heart, should provide some astonishing autumn leaf-peeping views.
Route 6 Highlights:
Bear Mountain Inn & Overlook Lodge
Located in the state park, the Bear Mountain Inn features a rustic décor and outdoor activities. The Overlook Lodge, also on the property, offers modern accommodations and stunning views.
Bear Mountain; 845-786-2731
Black Forest Mill Highland Mills; 845-928-9895
Gasho Hibachi Steakhouse
Central Valley; 845-928-9277 or www.gasho.com
Jay’s Deli Highland Mills; 845-928-2803
Monroe; 845-782-8247 or www.museumvillage.org
Sugar Loaf www.sugarloafnychamber.com
Anthony Dobbins Stagecoach Inn
Goshen; 845-294-5526 or www.dobbinsinn.com
Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame
Goshen; 845-294-6330 or www.harnessmuseum.com