A Fabulous Fall Day
A single, perfectly fashioned leaf found on the sidewalk or an entire mountain range of blended shades, the color combinations are striking this time of year.
This harmony of hues casts a powerful spell on those who have seen it. For visitors to the area or residents, this is the season to drive slowly, take the scenic routes and enjoy the country roads, farms and streams that help to embellish the unsurpassed natural art of fall foliage as it transforms from shades of green to the red, orange, yellow and golden brown, makng the landscape blaze in brilliant colors.
It is also a good excuse to plan a hike or bike ride and find a spot along one of the many streams or waterfalls and look at the scenery with new vision. Tree trunks, rocks, paths and fences all seem intensely three-dimensional when the leaves are turning bright colors.
Pack bottled water, maps, camera, binoculars, a picnic blanket and some snack food, although some of the best meals can be found in the tiny town diners or off-the-beaten-track road houses during a leaf-peeping day trip. Consider making a few produce stops at the small road-side vegetable stands for fresh, homegrown, healthy food to take home for further enjoyment of a memorable day.
Use these ideas to spark plenty more ways to enjoy this season of blinding natural beauty.
Hop aboard one of the many passenger trains to see fall foliage from a different view by taking a ride on the railroads. The Delaware & Ulster Railroad in Arkville, at (845) 586-3877 or (800) 225-4132, and the Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley Railroad in Milford, at 432-2429, have trips designed for enjoying the leaves as they becoming more and more vibrant. Traveling by rail has a special ambiance with views that cannot be seen from any other vantage point. Both of these scenic railroads have historical significance that riders get to experience in the vintage rail cars that offer shelter if the day’s climate is uncomfortable.
In Sherburne on state Route 80 just off state Route 12, the Rogers Environmental Education Center has more than six miles of trails and a nature center that has plenty to offer all ages. Along with learning to identify the different trees by their fall colors and leaf shapes, there are lessons about estimating the height of a tree, guessing a tree’s girth and discussing what certain woods are commonly used for. Learning some interesting lessons while out absorbing the beautiful fall days is an easy idea to follow through with in this region because there are so many parks and historical sights to see.
The Old Stone Fort in Schoharie, at (518) 295-7192, The Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown, at 547-1450, and the Iroquois Museum in the town of Howes Cave, at (518) 296-8949, all have indoor and outdoor exhibits for a leaf-peeping trip planned on a day when the weather is not predictable.
The parks right in your neighborhood are wonderful places to enjoy this season of color. Perhaps under-used and under-appreciated by those who do not have children, community and public parks are great places to watch colorful leaves spin, dip and flip before coming to a landing. In Oneonta, Neahwa and Wilber parks offer the opportunity for wheelchair-accessible enjoyment of nature in blinding colors of fall. State parks such as Gilbert Lake in Laurens and Glimmerglass in Cooperstown have more challenging trails to take where hikers can be surrounded in the sounds of colorful falling leaves.
Another way to take in the bright colors is on horseback, and there are many reputable stables in the region that offer trail rides at this perfect time of year. Broken Spoke Stables on Narrow Notch Road in Hobart, at 538-9651, is one such facility where adjacent public lands allow for trail rides that match riders abilities, from the “never been on a horse” to experienced equestrians with the terrain of several colorful forest trails.
Support your local farmers while out looking at the colors of this season and bring home some of the fall atmosphere with pumpkins, gourds, winter squash, Indian corn, mums, grapes, apples and cider. Maple Shade Farm on Route 18 in Delhi, at 746-8866, and Fly Creek Cider Mill in Fly Creek at (800) 505-6455, are destinations where the drive is as beautiful as what awaits you at these multi-opportunity attractions.
So kick up a pile of leaves (your own raked pile, not the one your neighbor spent the day raking), stroll the neighborhood, take a hike, plan a drive with friends and take time to look about and see what makes the region in which we live a leaf-peeping travelers’ destination and fall tourists’ main attraction.
The Fly Creek Cider Mill in Fly Creek, NY
Kellie M. Place “The Land Expert”
“Upstate New York’s Real Estate Development Expert”
Century 21 Chesser Realty