New England gets all the buzz for its beautiful foliage in the fall, but as a native New Englander, I think New York state is a serious contender for most stunning views during my favorite season. The Hudson Valley in particular is breathtaking, as you’re able to pull over along the side of the road and snap photos of the changing leaves on the mountains across the river.
If you’ve been reading The Blonde Banana for a while, you might remember that time this spring that I tried to go hiking but the trails were covered in snow (major #duh moment there). Well this season, as a now-seasoned hiker (I’ve been 3 times this fall, basically an expert), I set off on a mission to get to the top of Anthony’s Nose, the place I failed to hike back in March. When we pulled up to the trail entrance, several things were different than our first attempt. First of all, there was no snow. Second of all, there were about a million other cars lining the streets. Apparently our plan to go hiking on a gorgeous fall day wasn’t very unique.
Despite the large number of parked cars, the trails weren’t that crowded. We only had to stop a couple of times to let other people pass by on particularly narrow bits. And at the top there was plenty of space for everyone. This hike was the perfect mix of cardio and easy walking; at the beginning there’s a steep climb that left us huffing and puffing, but as we neared the top things leveled off so we had time to catch our breath before reaching the “Nose.”
Anthony’s Nose was the perfect place to sit in the sun and take in nearby Bear Mountain and the Hudson River from a bird’s eye view. After a protein cookie and a few sips of water, I was rejuvenated and ready for the climb back down. As we made it halfway down the steep part, we ran into a group who looked like they were on their final breaths. “Are we almost there??” one of them asked desperately. “Yes!” We said enthusiastically, hoping this falsehood might motivate them to keep going. “Just a few more minutes til the top.”
Come on, do you really want to hear that there’s a long, hard climb ahead of you? Didn’t think so.
After descending from Anthony’s Nose, we were ready to reward ourselves for waking up early on a Saturday and doing something active with an unhealthy fall treat. No pumpkin spice lattes for us – we were determined to get our hands on a delicious apple cider donut. We drove for about 30 minutes, taking winding, narrow roads quite a bit out of the way to reach Thompson’s Cider Mill. The tucked away historic mill, which has been producing apple cider since 1975, is absolutely adorable and situated right across the road from a pond.
The small, family-owned shop sells not only apple cider, but a variety of apple-infused treats and a huge selection of actual fresh apples from different orchards. I picked up five different kinds of the fruit ($8 for a basket), one for breakfast every day this week. I also snagged one of their apple cider donuts ($1.50), which was definitely worth the trek. It didn’t quite match up to the best apple cider donuts I’ve ever had, which I discovered during a fall festival in Connecticut, but to be fair, those were still warm and fresh when I ate them.
Unfortunately I didn’t think ahead and bring enough cash to buy apples, donuts and cider so I didn’t get to try the thing the mill is most famous for. But I’ll take everyone’s word for it that it’s the best around!
This was the first weekend I actually spent in New York in over 2 months, since I’ve been traveling to Pennsylvania, San Antonio, TX, Boston, Florida, California, Ocean City, Rhode Island and Maine since August. While Saturday was quite adventurous, I spent most of Sunday in my bed catching up on writing and work before tackling my never-ending pile of laundry. Having a day of nothing for the first time in 11 weeks was pretty fabulous.
When I started The Blonde Banana two and a half years ago, I didn't really have a plan or a...