An amusing Internet video shows a clever dog that pulls a plastic sled to the top of a hill, jumps on it and slides all the way down, even knowing when to lean so as to turn the sled away from a barn. Then the winter thrill enthusiast grabs the sled in its mouth and trudges up the hill again for another go. This makes me wonder if dogs are so different from children.
Of course, not all dogs love snow, and all kids don’t necessarily want to get bundled up to head out into the freezing air for the brief buzz of zooming down a slick incline. These days, young people might prefer to find an app on their screens that simulates the action. This may be a good reason to bundle yourself up and take your children out into the wild white world, haul your sledding implements up a hill and throw all adultlike propriety to the winter wind as you test gravity.
Scoot and scream as you sail downhill. Laugh as you remember your own forays in sledding. You love it, right? You know what comes next: Your kids will get hooked by the adrenaline rush, and you’ll have to haul back up that hill. And after you go home, they’ll beg and plead for you to take them sledding again. Ah, the arduous obligations of parenthood. Here are a few prime spots to sled in our region.
Hasbrouck Park: One of Kingston’s larger parks, with 45 acres; boasts steep hills and magnificent views of the Hudson River. Located on Delaware Avenue adjacent to John F. Kennedy Elementary School.
Cornell Park: This tiny park on Wurts Street in the Rondout district features a douple dip to its slope.
Highland Middle School: There’s a nice long hill at 71 Main Street in the hamlet.
Cluett Schantz Memorial Park: A quiet gem of a park at 1801-1805 Route 9W.
Marlboro Elementary School: There’s a good sledding spot at 1380 Route 9W.
Duzine School: Located at the end of Sunset Ridge Road. It’s a hill overlooking what locals call Sewer Stadium. Sledders have been known to go airborne here so sled at your own risk.
New Paltz Middle School: Park in the lot on the side of the school across from Lincoln Place. Once inside the gate, walk towards the back and towards the tennis courts. This gentle hill leads down to a football field.
Thomas Felton Park: Located on 11 Patura Road
Snyder’s Farm Hill: Near Thruway Exit 20. Head west on Route 212 about .5 mile. Snyder’s Farm Hill is on the right, where Route 212 meets Route 32. It’s not far from the Thruway, where Woodstock ’94 happened.
Comeau Property: Located on Tinker Street/Route 212, just west of the hamlet on the left, past Upstate Films and across from the post office.
Beatty-Powers Estate: 10 Powers Place. Slope looks out to Olana, Frederic Church’s home near Hudson. It takes a long, tiring haul back uphill for repeat runs, but that is part of the fun.
Thomas Bull Memorial Park: Located on Route 416.
Lake Taghkanic State Park: 1,568 acres nestled next to Lake Taghkanic, located off the Taconic State Parkway, one mile south of the Hudson/Ancram Exit (Route 82).
Clermont State Historic Site: Overlooking the Hudson River; located at 1 Clermont Road.
Memorial Park: Located on Robert Cahill Drive off Fishkill Avenue in the village.
Mount Beacon Park: Enjoy the beautiful views from the top of the mountain. Located at 788 Wolcott Avenue/Route 9D.
Town of Poughkeepsie
Bowdoin Park: Sledding is most manageable on the main hill, where the bandshell is located. Haybale barricades ensure safe stopping conditions. Warm drinks are sold at a vending machine at Pavilion 5 on the hilltop. Located at 85 Sheafe Road.
City of Poughkeepsie
College Hill Park: Located on North Clinton Street.
Bartlett Park: Located on Hooker Avenue.
Burger Hill Park is one spot open late in the day. Bring flashlights and battery lanterns to create your own downhill light show until 8:30 p.m. Located on Route 9G between Kerr Road and Violet Hill Road.
James Baird State Park: Located at 14 Maintenance Lane, off Route 44 and the Taconic State Parkway in Pleasant Valley.
Staatsburgh State Historic Site: Sledding is right behind the Mills family mansion on the hill down toward the Hudson River. Located at 75 Mills Mansion Road off Old Post Road in Staatsburg.