Monday, September 23, 2013

There's something about Poughkeepsie, New York

There is something about Poughkeepsie, New York.  I don't know what it is that keeps drawing me back there.  It could be the truly international culture that you'll only see the likes of in major cities around the country.  It could be the small town feel that you get even though it is a larger city.  It could be the food.  However, it's probably mostly about the view.

The views that you get along the Hudson River in Poughkeepsie are some of the best views that you'll get in New England.  They are amazing.  And Poughkeepsie has some of the best ways to get them, and they're all free.  You can't beat free.  There's no way to do that.

The Walkway Over the Hudson started in 1992, with the recovery of a massive old railroad bridge that spanned the Hudson River.  In it's day it was the longest bridge in the world.  It had fallen into disrepair and the railways didn't use it anymore.  It was an eyesore of a kind, and the good people of Poughkeepsie decided that they could do something with that.  And they did.  They took the 1.25 mile bridge and made it into a state park so that people could take a walk, cross the river, and have some incredible views.  It worked.  I've never been up there when it wasn't at least moderately crowded.  It's one of the best places to get out in the city.

So, Poughkeepsie was so happy with the park that they'd created that now you can add to that wonderful walk that takes you 212 feet high above the Hudson.  They've added a walking map that makes a loop with the Mid Hudson Bridge just down the river.  You can do the loop walk and walk across both bridges as well as taking a little stroll through a couple of neighborhoods.  The whole loop walk is 4.5 miles and the views are even more amazing, because now you have two bridges to look at and from.  It's fabulous.

And that's not all.  The Walkway Over the Hudson is only the beginning.  They are making a 12 mile Dutchess Rail Trail for all you walking, running, biking and rollerblading fans.  So far, 8 miles of it are up and running, and the rest is on the way.  Rail trails and river walks have become extremely popular in the northeast, and we see more of them all the time.  They are beautiful, scenic, quiet and a great place to spend your time.  This will be one of the finest I've seen in a while, seeing as the walkway is part of it.

The Walkway Over the Hudson is the longest elevated pedestrian park in the world.  It has returned to the record books after over 100 years with a whole new record, and the people of Poughkeepsie couldn't be more proud of their achievement.  I've never seen anything like it myself.  And the feeling that you get when you're walking across it is something that has to be felt.  I can't tell you how it feels, but I can say it's very special.

The Walkway is so popular that little snack joints have popped up at each end.  You can grab a hot dog, ice cream, water and so on.  The more popular it gets, the more convenient it is to spend significant time there.  That's the way it works with any popular attraction.  The whole setup as it is today is a great one.  You can go there, take a walk, have a snack and a drink, enjoy the view and have a great day.  You can't beat it.  You can learn the history, take an audio tour on your cell phone, and many other things.  It's one of my favorite places and I can't recommend it enough.

Poughkeepsie is a fairly large city that doesn't feel like it.  There are many places to get out and enjoy the day.  In between the bridges is a wonderful riverside park.  There are beautiful views of the bridges and the river from there, and that is where you can catch a dinner cruise in the summertime.  The Ice House Restaurant and Bar is the place to either eat on the waterfront in Waryas Park or catch that dinner cruise. The entire park is laden with benches and seats to look out over the river, with playground sections to keep the kids entertained.  It's a great place to spend some time and just be.

Poughkeepsie is one of those places that makes a good outing.  The riverfront is a great place to spend a day.  Even if you're coming from New York City, this is your spot with the train station virtually in Waryas Park.  For those of us in Connecticut, it makes a wonderful country drive for the afternoon.  Fall is a great time in New England.  I've said that a hundred times.  Our leaves are just starting to change and we're just starting to enjoy the time of year that people come from all over to see.  Poughkeepsie's 212 foot high pedestrian bridge state park is just the way to enjoy it.  Come and see the longest pedestrian raised park in the world.  Come and walk the Walkway Over the Hudson.

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