The new issue of “Car and Travel,” AAA’s abysmal magazine for members, has a featured story on the state’s “7 Natural Wonders” that we all should, supposedly, make road trips to this summer. Only one of them involves the mid-Hudson Valley: a trip to “the Gunks and Catskills.”
That’s quite a conflation.
Assuming, as always, that their readers are driving from Manhattan, they tell us to take Thruway Exit 18 and head to New Paltz. What would be much faster and easier would be to just take the Metro-North to one of the the state’s much closer-to-the-City “natural wonders,” Breakneck Mountain. The trains stop right there on weekends.
And every day, the trains stop at another, even closer, great place: Cold Spring. From the station you can easily walk up the village’s fun Main Street and across Rt. 9D to a wonderful hike up Bull Hill (also known as Mount Taurus). In Cold Spring, you can also rent a kayak and shoot underneath the train trestle (an adventure in itself, depending on the tides) into the wild and peaceful Constitution Marsh, or just paddle around in the Hudson among the boaters and fishers. You can follow up your experience on one of the country’s great rivers with a beer and/or meal, ranging from plain to fancy, at any of Cold Spring’s many eateries.
Oddly, they also omitted the swimming and hiking available at Rockland Lake State Park, from whose Hook Mountain you can see the skyline of Gotham; the world-famous Bear Mountain and Harriman State Parks; and the hiking on Storm King, Schunnemunk and Black Rock — all of which are way closer to NYC than New Paltz is.
I guess we shouldn’t be surprised at these goofs, though, in a publication that amounts, issue after issue, to nothing more than one long, typo-riddled advertisement for their latest cruise-line “partner.”