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Top Ten Fall Foliage Spots

Here are just ten of the many terrific spots to view nature's bursts of color in Dutchess County:

  1. Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site on Route 9 in Hyde Park is set high above the Hudson River with a spectacular view of the Catskill Mountains. The formal Italian Gardens are still blooming amid the statuary and reflecting pools. www.nps.gov/vama
  2. Staatsburgh State Historic Site off Route 9 in Staatsburg offers magnificent views across the rolling estate lawn, down to the Hudson, and across to the Catskills beyond. It's the only estate west of the railroad tracks, with uninterrupted access to the river. www.nysparks.com/historic-sites/25/details.aspx
  3. The Taconic State Parkway, in southern Dutchess near the I-84 interchange, and north of the Route 55 interchange offers a beautiful drive. Opened in 1931 for "Sunday drivers" to enjoy the scenery! www.dot.ny.gov/display/programs/scenic-byways/taconic-pkwy
  4. Route 9D between Hughsonville and Putnam County runs right along the Hudson River, through Beacon, Breakneck Mountain and past Pollepel Island, the site of the romantic ruins of Bannerman's Castle. Stop along the way at Long Dock Park in Beacon for views across the river to Newburgh, to hike up Breakneck Mountain, or to reserve a tour of Bannerman's Island, its ruins and gardens. www.bannermancastle.org
  5. River Road from Rhinebeck north to Red Hook. Drive along the miles of field-stone walls that marked the estates of the Astors and other wealthy Gilded Age families. Located on River Road, Astor Courts was the scene of Chelsea Clinton's July 2010 wedding.
  6. Millbrook Vineyards and Winery, housed in a converted dairy barn, is high up on a knoll, with views across the Hudson River to New Paltz on a clear day. They host wine seminars, a harvest party, Art in the Loft exhibits by area artists, and even have a vineyard walking trail to enjoy the views! www.millbrookwine.com
  7. DEC Hudson River Research Reserve in Tivoli is a 1,700 acre reserve, wildlife management area, and field laboratory for research and education about the Hudson River Estuary. Canoe Tivoli Bay's marsh or bicycle, observe wildlife, and hike on six trails.  www.DEC.NY.gov/lands/92370.html
  8. Ferncliff Forest's 79-foot fire tower, replaced in 2007, stands in the middle of this unspoiled 200-acre preserve. View the stunning scenery and appreciate the land's history, from Native Americans to the Astors. Located just off of Route 9 on River Road in Rhinebeck. www.ferncliffforest.org
  9. DeLaVergne Hill on Route 44 East in Amenia, a mile-long "S" curve on a descending road, features magnificent views of Silo Ridge and three states. On the way, be sure to stop in the quaint village of Millbrook, and once down the “hill”, make a left onto Route 22 north to continue toward Millerton and the lovely scenery of the Harlem Valley.
  10. In the town of North East, in the northeastern corner of Dutchess County, go up Silver Mountain Road, and up Rte. 5, off Rte. 22. Franklin D. Roosevelt used to go to this spot to sketch. Legend has it that this is where he proposed to Eleanor! In fact, the entire stretch of Route 22 north from Pawling toward Millerton and beyond is a fantastic fall drive, too. This route is nestled in the Harlem Valley, with beautiful scenery looking east towards Connecticut.

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