We spent two days driving up and down the Hudson River Valley trying to see all that we could see. The valley was beautiful with rolling hills blanketed in trees and a river carving its way through the whole thing. The list of possible activities from hiking to art galleries and food choices from schnitzel to wineries were endless. Rain trailed us for a fair amount of time on our journey, but we didn’t let it deter us. Below are some of our favorites.
The Croton Dam fittingly rests in Croton Gorge Park and is a sight to behold. It is a massive stone dam holding back some 19 billion gallons of water. It is so impressive it is actually the second largest hewn-stone structure in the world behind the Great Pyramid in Egypt. Building completed on this dam in 1906 and took just shy of 14 years to complete. The other aspect of this dam that makes it so delightful to visit is its hybrid overflow system; part natural, part man made. The water cascades down a staircase of stone before funneling down a boulder strewn spillway creating a classic waterfall, which can be enjoyed from the park below. The water stored there is part of the New York City water system. There is only a small brown forest service sign marking “Croton Gorge Park” on the road into the dam, so keep your eyes out for it. Also if you want to get a view from the top there is an unmarked road about 200 yards up with a “Bridged Closed” sign that has a few places to park, following that road will take you to the top of the dam. One last interesting tidbit, I met two guys fishing at the base of the dam, and when I asked what they were fishing for they said “Eels”, and they had caught several in that spot.
Rossi Rosticceria Deli in Poughkeepsie, NY:
I was pretty excited about this place prior to arrival, according to Yelp this was the best place to get a sandwich in the entire Hudson River Valley. It was a rainy afternoon and past lunch hour and there was still a line, so I took that to be a good sign. It is a deli in every sense of the word, you can simply buy ingredients or eat their precooked fare. The choices were as endless as the line we were in so I had plenty of time to think about my order. I went with prosciutto and cheddar, which got me a good ribbing from the clerk, and Glinda choose the roast beef. The lady at the register was beyond proficient at fielding questions, lining up deli orders and checking you out; she also helped us into a nice cannoli for dessert. Forget about sitting inside, it can’t be done and the rain kept us from using the outdoor tables so we took are food back to the hotel to eat. If I hadn’t been so excited and hungry, perhaps I wouldn’t have been so let down. The prosciutto was too salty to enjoy and Glinda’s roast beef was too tough for her to even bite into. Bright spot was the cannoli was text book. I would definitely give them another shot, but not their prosciutto.
The lighthouse built in 1869 is in the Esopus Estuary and is only accessible via a half mile foot path thru the estuary. The trail is affected by the tide as it wanders through a freshwater tidal flat, so during high tide it is possible for the trail to be submerged. There are a few boardwalks and bridges to aid your trip through the wetland sections of the park, but you should be prepared for mud. The lighthouse has gone through various stages of usefulness, but it is currently automated and operationally. Tours are available but limited to Sundays from 12pm-3pm Memorial Day to Labor Day. If you have forever been on the hunt to stay in a lighthouse this could be the place you have been dreaming of. There are 2 guest rooms bed and breakfast style available Thursday thru Sunday nights year round, as you would imagine the reservations fill up quick, so frequent visits to their reservation page may be needed. The lighthouse is quite unique as it blends function and utility nicely, a snazzy Italian style brick house with a light affixed to the top. This area is a wildlife sanctuary so please exercise diligence to pack out any trash and keep your dog on a leash. Unfortunately it was raining while we were at the lighthouse so the pictures came out a little unusual, but it is a spectacular place to visit.
Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum:
FDR piloted the U.S. ship for an unprecedented 4 terms and through two of the countries hardest times; the Great Depression and World War II. He was the first president to receive a presidential library and the only one to use it while in office. On his family land next to his childhood home in Hyde Park, NY, construction for his presidential library began in 1939 and ended in 1940; under the supervision of FDR whom was also dabbled in architecture. The whole complex is now run by the National Park Service, which give guided tours of the Roosevelt Home and keep up the grounds. If you choose to visit the presidential library it is self-guided, but does require a ticket, so either way a stop at the park desk will be necessary. If you want to know more about the tour and library visit, check out our more in depth post here.