Autumn In New Paltz, New York
A New Beginning
Several years ago when first I transferred from Plattsburgh to New Paltz, New York, I didn’t know what to expect. My emotions were an equal mix of both excitement and fear as I began a new chapter in my life. Having arrived in New Paltz, I was to embark on a new life, with a new view outside my bedroom window, while pursuing a new course of study at the State University of New York at New Paltz. I was indeed reinvigorated and so had a “new pulse” within me. Having loaded practically everything I owned into my Saturn to the point of bursting, I drove to what would become my new home for the better part of the next decade.
I wish I could tell you that my situation in the early going that things were nothing short of fabulous and couldn’t have been better. I wish that I could tell you that I had plenty to eat and lived leisurely in the lap of luxury without a worry in the world. But then I would be lying, because the truth was that I slept atop a makeshift-bed that was nothing more than a folded comforter laid out on my floor. The rest of the bedding consisted of a second comforter and two pillows. My source of entertainment consisted of my Dell computer, a 13-inch color TV with a missing remote, a Nintendo N64, a Trek mountain bike and a hundred or so books. I didn’t have cable either as I couldn’t afford it. I lived on a very tight budget—off college loans and financial aid. Some of the ways in which I was able to survive is highlighted in another one of my hubs: How to Save Money For a House.
But in spite of living off $25 a week on groceries and living in a tiny studio apartment between three apple orchards, I was happy. At the time, I lacked a checking account and so paid all my bills with postal money orders and so didn’t lose any sleep at night wondering whether or not the check I sent out that day would suddenly get rubbery and bounce. I loved that I had no one to answer to or dodgy roommates to pester for their share of the bills, because for the first time in my life, I finally had a place I could call my own and hang my New York Giants cap. I loved the fact that life had given me a second opportunity to make a New Impression. The wild turkeys, raccoons, blue jays, cardinals, deer, black bear and occasional mountain lion were now my companions.
Beauty and Outdoor Activities Abound
It was tough at first to not become a hermit within the confines of my hovel after coming from a rowdy college lifestyle. Upon starting my new life in New Paltz, I wanted only to get my degree and keep to myself. Aside from attending classes, the only other place I went to was work to supplement my income. But everywhere I looked there was natural beauty all around me. Here's what I found:
Minnewaska State Park Preserve and Lake Awosting
Minnewaska State Park Preserve and Lake Awosting
New Paltz' Minnewaska State Park is a 21,106 acre preserve located in the Shawangunk Ridge (the 'Gunks' for short) region or about 90 miles north of New York City. For the most part, visitors use the park for picnicking, hiking, mountain biking, snowshoeing, and swimming. There are a total of three sky lakes at Minnewaska, including Lake Minnewaska, Lake Awosting, and Mud Pond. Lake Minnewaska is approximately a mile long and a quarter of a mile wide. Lake Awosting is about double its size.
Rock Climbing in New Paltz
Please click images to enlarge
- Rock Climbing: Some of the best rock climbing in America can be found at the Shawangunk Mountains or “Gunks” for short, which is on…There are over 1,200 documented climbing routes in the Gunks. The Gunks is, according to Wikepedia, is “the single busiest climbing destination in North America, with some 50,000 technical climbers visiting the area each year.” Mountain Project, one of the premier rock climbing sites recommend enthusiasts to visit the Gunks in the months of September and October. In doing so, climbers will get to enjoy the fall foliage and cool weather among a host of other amenities. If you are indeed planning to visit the Gunks, make sure that you visit Rock & Snow for all of your rock climbing, ice climbing, hiking, and cross-country skiing needs.
- Mountain Biking: Lightseycycles.com hails New Paltz’ Mohonk and Minnewaska State Park Preserve as being the, “Mecca of the northeast.” If you are looking to buy, rent, or service a mountain bike in the Hudson Valley region, I highly recommend that you visit Lightsey Cycles in Gardiner, as they are the premier bike shop. I used to get my Trek tuned-up annually by them. Land of Oz, The Trapps, Shangri La, and Bounticou Tour are all mountain biking trails that are located in New Paltz. All trails have different levels of difficulty ranging from beginner to expert. If you prefer to stay in town and are in need of a mountain bike, New Paltz' own Bicycle Rack should suffice your needs.
- Hiking: For those of you who prefer a light, light impact work out while taking in New Paltz' beautiful scenery, hiking might be your thing. Depending on the time of year, you might just get lucky and find wild strawberries, blueberries and raspberries to munch on. I highly recommend bringing with you a digital camera because if you do, there are many opportunities to take some awesome pictures. You won't want to miss out.
If and when you do any one of these activities, I highly recommend that you bring a backpack and carry with you plenty of fresh water, insect repellent, a poncho, and a first-aid kit. You should also where either comfortable running or hiking shoes and socks with good ventilation. Just a word of warning, the cell reception in both Minnewaska and the Shawangunks is poor, due to the high elevation and lack of cell-towers. Make sure you get all of your questions by the park ranger and/or appropriate people answered before heading out. I've actually written another hub that just might help you in a worst-case scenario titled, Wilderness First-Aid and Outdoor Survival. I hope it helps.
Click to enlarge
Two Great Places
Wallkill View Farm Market
En route to the Shawangunks, you certainly won't want to miss Wallkill View Farm Market. During the fall, they serve complimentary delicious hot cider and usually have samples of some of their delicious baked goods, not up to and including apple cider donuts, pies, breads and cookies that are all baked on the premises. They also carry a great assortment of locally produced honey and maple syrup, eggs, jams, jellies, and dessert dressings. They also have a wide array of New York cheeses as well. When I lived in New Paltz, I could always count on finding some of the freshest fruits and vegetables the Hudson Valley had to offer, as they were top-notch and predominantly organic and locally grown. Their fresh peaches and apples are hand-picked and come in their own little baskets which for some reason I find very attractive. Their prices are also very reasonable and their staff are very family and are always willing and able to assist you.
Hurd's Family Farm
Hurd's Family Farm is actually located about 5 miles from New Paltz, in Modena, New York but is definitely worth your while to visit their 120-acre farm. Hurd’s Family Farm plays host to some of the
Hudson Valley’s best venues for apple picking—some of which include Autumn Rose
Fuji (my favorite), Honey Crisp and many more. In addition, you can also pick
blueberries, raspberries, pears, sunflowers, tomatoes (Big Beef, Brandy Wine,
Primetime, and Super Sweet are some of the most popular), basil, pumpkins,
gourds, winter squash, and when in season, Indian corn. They are also corn mazes to challenge you and plenty of other activities for the kids. Also available are specialty items, including homemade delicious apple-butter (great on pancakes), apple-pepper relish, honey, maple syrup and much more. There's also hot-mulled cider, locally pressed cider, apple cake, pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and Hurd's own Apple Blossom Queen: Sliced apple, caramel, chopped nuts and topped off with fresh whipped cream.
Bonus Rock Climbing Photo
Just a few of my companions
The Colors of Autumn
New Paltz Video
Here are some other places you won't want to miss!
- New Paltz Farmers Market: New Paltz, NY
Opening Day at the New Paltz Farmers' Market will feature locally grown fruit, vegetables, berries, vegetable seedlings, bread, grass-fed meat, goat cheese, eggs, sauces, desserts, and more!
- Wallkill View Farm Market - New Paltz, NY - U-Pick Pumpkins, Corn Maze, Free Weekend Hayrides!
- Hudson Valley Resorts & New York State Hotel Accommodations Mohonk Mountain House
From its enchanting Victorian castle to its 2,200 acres of scenic wilderness, Mohonk Mountain House is the most spectacular choice of Hudson Valley resorts, offering the warmth and charm of another era. Transport yourself back in time at our Hudson V
- Minnewaska Lodge, New Paltz Lodging
Minnewaska Lodge, New Paltz lodging, Hudson Valley accommodations, Gardiner Bed Breakfast, Catskills lodging, Mohonk, New Paltz hotel, Hudson Valley lodging, Mohonk Preserve, Catskill motel, upstate NY lodging, Mohonk Mountain House, upstate New York
- Mohonk Preserve | New York's largest non-profit nature preserve
Come to the Gunks in New York to hike, run, mountain bike, horseback ride, cross-country ski, rock climb, or boulder!
- Hudson Valley Farms: A Guide to New Paltz Area Apple Picking, Farm Stands, Farmers\' Markets, Wineri
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