The Great Outdoors
Bear Mountain State Park — Bear Mountains, New York

Bear Mountain State Park is sprawled over 5,067 acres including lots of magnificent mountains. There are activities there for all ages. My favorite is to hike down from the Perkins Memorial Tower to Hessian Lake. The Perkins Memorial Tower atop Bear Mountain affords spectacular views of the park, the Hudson Highlands, and Harriman State Park. The Manhattan skyline can be seen from the top of the mountain when the weather is clear.

The best way to do that is if someone drops you off at the Perkins Memorial Tower and meets you at the bottom. I love this option, not only because you don’t have to hike up the hill, but because there’s still lots to enjoy down at Lake Hessian, near the inn. In the fall the mountains take on a palette of colors and are a sight to behold. The path around the lake is enjoyable for a nice stroll.

There’s a free mini zoo with real bears on-site, as well as a merry-go-round, if you want to be helpful and take your little sibs out for the day ;).

If you end up visiting in the winter, Bear Mountains has excellent hills for sledding and an outdoor ice-skating rink too.

Walkway over the Hudson — Poughkeepsie, New York

The Walkway over the Hudson is a unique experience. The Walkway is a bridge formerly used for trains going from Poughkeepsie, New York, to Highland, New York. The bridge was restored and redone to be used by pedestrians as a walkway. The total length of the bridge is 6,768 feet at a height of 212 feet. It is the longest pedestrian bridge in the world! Many people cross the bridge on bikes or roller blades. The Walkway is open year-round unless the weather is really awful.

The highlight of the Walkway is the 21-story glass elevator that takes you down to the Upper Landing Park, located near the river below. Not for the faint of heart!

State Line Lookout — Closter, New Jersey

This is a beautiful hiking spot off the Palisades Parkway, set between the highway and the Hudson River.

The information center is adjacent to the parking lot. To get to the hiking path you follow the path alongside the water and the building, until you see the markings on the right side. They lead between the trees to the teal blue hiking trail that takes you down to a splendid waterfall at the foot of the Hudson River. Wow!

The path snakes through wooded areas with bubbling streams running alongside. At some spots there are beautiful open areas with stunning views of the Hudson River. The reward is at the bottom of the hike when you reach a large waterfall on one side and the base of the Hudson River on the other.

The hike is definitely not simple, but very rewarding. It took me an hour and a half each way. I recommended the hike to my friend who wanted an adventure with her teenagers. While on the trail, she kept calling me to make sure she was on the right path! She couldn’t believe my four-year-old managed the hike, but it’s all a matter of determination and practice. So, start training now! (Excerpted from Teen Pages, Issue 685)