Fall means foliage and outdoor activities that take advantage of the splendid autumn weather. Copake and Copake Falls on Route 22 in eastern Columbia County have a number of attractions which have drawn us back over the years and are personal favorites.
Bash Bish Falls is a famous destination, favored by a number of artists of the Hudson River School. http://www.mfa.org/collections/object/bash-bish-falls-massachusetts-33184
It is right on the border between New York and Massachusetts, and we often drive through the area on our way back from outings to Great Barrington. It can be approached from both states, but the New York entry offers a flat and pleasant stroll through the woods until you come upon the Falls themselves. Here’s a helpful guide that covers the Falls from both sides:
Adjoining the Falls are the remains of the Copake Iron Works.
There will be special tours on September 17 and November 12. More information at www.friendsoftsp.org
Running through Copake Falls is the Harlem Valley Rail Trail which again offers a wonderful flat and paved hiking trail through some incredibly beautiful wooded areas.
One of our favorite fall road tours starts just off of the Copake Iron Works. Valley View Road takes you down to the Iron Works, but just before the Iron Works, Valley View Road branches to the right and takes you along the east side of the Harlem Valley. This long valley to the east of Route 22 is an extension of what was known further south in Dutchess County as the Oblong, a portion of land that was disputed between New York and Connecticut. New York got most of it, and it is a Fall foliage orgy. Don’t be afraid to get lost.
But while you’re still in Copake, be sure to check in on Copake Auction which has many events throughout the Fall.
County Route 11 in Copake and East Taghkanic is known as “Beauty Highway”, having received an award some years ago.
Scenic driving tours also abound in the town of Chatham. The hamlets of Old Chatham, North Chatham, Malden Bridge and New Concord are very picturesque, and some roads that offer beautiful views are Haddock Hill Road and Riders Mills Road. Carlson Road in Claverack is also worth a detour.
Heading back toward Hudson, you should think about a Fall visit to the Hudson-Athens lighthouse and cruises out of Hudson when the trees are ablaze with color.
Columbus Day Weekend brings the Fourth Annual Hudson Valley Dance Festival to Catskill, New York. I have written about this exceptional event, right on the banks of the river, before.
Hudson Valley fruits are at their peak, and picking your own apples, pears, raspberries and pumpkins is an unforgettable seasonal ritual. Our first choice is our neighbor’s “apple plantation” across the road from us (Route 9H in Claverack)- Philip Orchards: http://www.philiporchards.com/
“Talavera” is the family home.
Careful not to run over any chickens as you drive in, and you might just ask if they happen to have any fresh eggs, although they are now featured at Olde Hudson on Warren Street.
Other favorites among these are Green Acres Farm, for pumpkins, gourds and excellent baked goods, and Samascott’s Garden Market for beautiful mum plants at great prices.
Chef/owner Al DiMeglio, formerly of Rubirosa, Olana and Osteria del Circo, has opened this new restaurant on Broadway in Williamsburg. We tried it last week and were very pleased. It’s definitely worth the trip from Manhattan, just one stop into Brooklyn on the M train.
The menu consists mostly of appetizers, plate-size pizzas, and pastas, with just four main course options. Prices are quite reasonable for the generous portions. We put together a meal of three dishes which we shared, starting with bone marrow oreganata and grilled bread, then bucatini with rabbit ragu, and for the main course, roasted chicken. Al comped us a Margherita pizza because he wanted us to sample it. The reviewer from the New Yorker thought it was unexciting, but we disagree (it may also be that what she had was not the final version, as Al has been experimenting with different types of flour). We really liked the crust, which has a deeper flavor of wheat than that of Rubirosa, without being overpowering.
Returned the other night for the “Dine in Brooklyn” restaurant week special, $28 for 3 courses. The place was mobbed. I started with the meatball appetizer, which was a large portion and very good, but the big hit was the mozzarella, which I can’t even describe except to say this is exceptional, a must have. For the main course, Al let us try the lamb even though it was not on the prix-fixe, since we had already had the chicken the previous time. This was an extremely flavorful dish. We had ice cream for dessert, one each of the banana bread and the blueberry. These were great, but the star of the show was the panna cotta (not on the prix-fixe but he wanted us to try it). Hard to describe exactly, but it was like no other panna cotta I have ever had. There was an orange gelatin on top, and orange peel, in a sauce of orange. I don’t know how it was described on the menu, but I can say it was one of the best desserts I’ve had in some time.