Though we think of summer as a time for outdoor activities, the persistent sticky weather that plagued the Hudson Valley in July and August this year can make lying low in some handy air-conditioned space much more appealing than doing something vigorous out in the heat and humidity. Luckily, September is upon us, bringing its welcome cooler evenings, lower daily dewpoints – and the 17th annual Hudson River Valley Ramble. That means four weekends’ worth of interesting things to do and places to visit, mostly guided by people with ample knowledge to share.
The Ramble is an annual event series that celebrates the history, culture and natural resources of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, as well as the amazing landscape, communities and trails throughout the region. Ramble events generally take place outdoors or include an outdoor portion, and offer interpretation of the landscape, history or ecology of the area. They can be guided walks, hikes, bike tours, kayak or canoe trips, a family festival or a river exploration.
Ramble 2016 begins this weekend and runs through Sunday, September 25. Events are scheduled in Albany, Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Rensselaer, Rockland, Saratoga, Ulster, Washington and Westchester Counties, as well as portions of Manhattan and the Bronx that are adjacent to the Hudson River. For Valley residents, that means that the Ramble website is a phenomenally rich resource for planning day trips close to home.
Just this Saturday, September 3, for example, your many choices in Ulster and Dutchess include a Wildflower Walk at Innisfree Gardens in Millbrook, led by an Audubon Society naturalist who is also a poet. Or you can hike through the Platte Clove Preserve to discover an interesting large quarry overlooking the Hudson Valley known as Codfish Point, where workers were once stranded for days during a snowstorm and subsisted on canned codfish.
Or perhaps you’ve already seen all the local sights and want to explore a bit farther afield. At DiCaprio Park in Albany, you can meet up with guides who know their way around the Pine Bush Preserve and take a one-mile walk that highlights the region’s biodiversity. Curious about what natural wonders Rockland County has to offer? A hike through Kakiat Park in Montebello will be led by the area’s state senator, David Carlucci. (Why don’t more politicians do stuff like that?)
And that’s just a small sample of the outings afoot available on one day. You might prefer to take a Hudson River cruise or kayak tour, ride your bike to a historic mansion, go stargazing, bring your kids to a corn maze, enjoy a waterfront concert or farmers’ market. The Ramble website is a simple and beautiful research tool that can show you the full panoply of hundreds of offerings over the month, or allow you to pinpoint exactly the time window, geographic area and type of activity that suits your interests and availability. You can search by date, county, region or keyword, activity category and/or such “heritage” themes as the Revolutionary War, Great Estates, Hudson River School artists or the Hudson Estuary.
Best of all, some of the Ramble activities are self-guided trips that you can take any day of the week or time of the year. Check out this cornucopia of discovery ideas at www.hudsonrivervalleyramble.com.