Personally if my weekend is spent sitting around the house binging Netflix all weekend I am pretty grumpy for the entire following week. There is nothing more than I love than a busy weekend. I sit at a desk all week long, managing over a team and well, doing a lot of sitting. I do not want to continue that during the weekend. So when I manage to wrangle up an unsuspecting friend to do a day trip with me, full WEEKEND WARRIOR mode turns on!
I live on Long Island, NY. I am blessed to have the ocean 5 minutes away, the mountains a little over 2 hours, and the greatest city in the world 1 hour away. Your girl has options. But to me there is nothing better than escaping to upstate in the Fall! I loveeeeee catching all of the foliage, it makes for just the best pictures. I went several times this year, but one trip in particular stood out to me. I was able to take my work bestie who has never been hiking to Minnewaska State Park Preserve. So like any true OCD person I planned out the entire trip to a tee. I am big on planning, I spreadsheet all of my trips, because I need to stay organized. If I don’t know what’s happening next on my list, I get supa dupa anxiety, but this is something I am working on. My boyfriend is total go with the flow, so I am learning to compromise.
Anyways, my suggestion if you are going to do this is GO EARLY!! I cannot stress this enough! We left my apartment at 7am, and got there at 10am. We were able to go to the upper mountain parking lot, and got an amazing spot not far from the lake trail. If you go during the high peak months on a weekend, expect the parking lots to fill up by 12pm. If you have a NYS Park Pass entrance into the park is FREE, if not its $10.00 per car.
I took Maria on the Millbrook Mountain Trail, this is a pretty easy trail in my opinion around Lake Minnewaska and then to Millbrook Mountain. It’s about 5 miles, honestly it’s not difficult and not a ton of elevation change. I feel all levels can do this, it’s rated moderate on All Trails . I would highly suggest this trail because we were able to get some great views of the Lake as well as some overlooks to some beautiful foliage shots.
Afterwards I asked if Maria had a little more in her to walk over to Awosting Falls, which from the beginning of the loop for Millbrook is about 1 mile. It leads you to the top of this waterfall, where of course we got some great pictures! And then we’re able to get down to the bottom to get a view of the whole waterfall and stream. From there we just circled back and made our way to the parking lot. By then it was about 1pm and the park was PACKED! I hate crowds, so nothing better then leaving and seeing the mile long line to get in while you have already had your fun and gotten ample Instagram pictures with no one in sight.
One hike that I have done in Minnewaska that I’d highly suggest is doing Millbrook Mountain to Gertrude’s Nose, it’s about 12 miles, its an excellent all day hike. And the views are in my opinion the best in the park. You can also park in Sam’s Point Preserve and hike Gertrude’s Nose from there, it’s a lot less miles. I listed screenshots of all the hikes via All Trails. If you are into hiking it’s a great app to have or just finding walking trails around your area!
From there I wanted to go to Angry Orchards Cider House, its only about 30 mins from preserve. Unfortunately being that we got there at 1:30pm and the parking lot was full, and we weren’t allowed in. Total bummer as now I needed to divert from the plan and we needed to find lunch. We landed about 10 mins from Angry Orchard to a tavern called Garrison Tavern and Wine Cellar. We couldn’t have lucked out more! We food was delicious and moderately priced, Maria got Steak Frites and myself a Reuben Panini. Both were delicious and since we did not order drinks it came out to under $40! I listed the address and yelp page below.
Afterwards I wanted to break up the 3 hour drive back with a spot in one of my favorite towns Cold Spring NY. If you haven’t been here, you got to go, this town is straight out of the movies. I will be sure to devote and entire post to it. We walked around Main Street, grabbed some coffee and visited my favorite thrift store to pick up some good finds. To be completely honest with you, I don’t know the name of the store, if I google it, its called Art and Antiques. But its on Main Street in Cold Spring, if you are walking down main street towards the train station its on the right and the end of the street, to enter its through a garage door. I know it sounds sketchy but its literally the most magical place on Earth.
Afterwards feeling totally accomplished we make our final drive back to the island to celebrate with pizza and beer and of course some Disney movies. Life is good when you keep busy. This day trip is definitely a lot of driving if you are on the island and busy if you go on a weekend. But if you are as determined as I am and also an early riser this day trip is for you! If not don’t worry I got more coming down the pipeline 😊 Details for trip time and map below!
Home in Long Island, NY -Minnewaska State Park Preserve -2hr 45 mins
Minnewaska State Park Preserve -Angry Orchard -24 mins
Angry Orchard-Garrison Tavern -8 mins
Garrison Tavern – Cold Spring NY -47 Mins
Cold Spring NY – Home in Long Island, NY -2 hrs
Garrison Tavern – 11 Union St, Montgomery, NY 12549
Millbrook Mountain Trail 5 Miles
Awosting Falls Trail 1 Mile
Millbrook Mountain Trail to Gertrude’s Nose -12 miles