A Fall Foliage Drive: Millerton to Hudson, NY (or Vice Versa)
Not all scenic drives are created equal, and this bucolic 30-mile jaunt delivers enough smiles per gallon to justify the gasoline you'll use. The route, which connects Millerton and Hudson, NY, is not only an insider's short cut between the two towns, but also a reminder that local agriculture is the key to preserving the rural landscape. Though we started our drive in Millerton the other day and ended at Olana, you can just as easily do this trip in reverse, concluding at the Harney Tea Salon. The route is a rural cliché in the best sense, and along the way you can buy pumpkins and gourds, pick apples, shop for penny candy as well as the last tomatoes and the peaches of the season. You can even pick fall raspberries which, for some reason, are so much tastier then the ones you get in early summer. Most of all, you can revel in the vistas and fall foliage and marvel that we reside in such an unspoiled land.
Begin at the interesction of Route 44 and Route 22 in Millerton, and head north on 22, and make your first left onto Route 60 (aka Winchell Mountain Road.) When you reach the peak of the hill, there will be a cemetery on your left; make a right on Pulver Road, passing farmland and a panormanic view of the Catskill Mountains. Make a left at the fork onto County Route Route 60, which brings you into Ancramdale. If you need coffee and a muffin, stop at the Farmers’s Wife. Continue straight ahead on 82, which becomes Route 23 when you cross Route 9, continuing on until you reach Route 9G. Turn left onto 9G just before the Rip Van Winkle Bridge.
This farm offers more than just the perfect photo op for family pictures. The pumpkins and gourds here are in pristine condition and they are exceedingly well-priced with extra large pumpkins you can barely lift at just $10 each.
3201 Rte 82, Ancram; 518.329.2280
Thompson Finch Farm
The farm’s sign on Route 82 is down, but Thompson-Finch is not hard to find; it’s the second right, Wiltsie Bridge Road, after you pass through Ancram. As of Wednesday, October 1, you could still pick organic raspberries on Wednesdays and Saturdays, but call first to double check availability.
750 Wiltsie Bridge Road, Ancram; 518.329.7578
If you take a quick detour onto Route 7 at the blinking light in Ancram, you will pass the Ancram Opera House soon come to the Bottle Tree restaurant, a former grocery, which has a cult following. The redoubtable Joan Osofsky of Hammertown Barn calls it the best brunch ever. Reserve ahead.
1415 County Route 7, Ancram
The West Taghinac Diner
Whether it’s early or late in the day, this vintage 1953 diner is always spotless and welcoming with comfort food like tuna melts and french fries. It’s not hyperbole to say this is as all-American as it gets (which includes the Mexican fiestas every Saturday!)
Route 82 and the Taconic Parkway, Ancram
If you’re impulse is to bypass any place that looks like it was designed to appeal to tourists, you’ll drive right by the yellow barn that resembles a set director’s conception of a country store that you’d come upon on a Sunday drive in Columbia County. It’s exactly what you suspect, and Taconic Orchards has the aw-shucks feel of an old-time general store with jars of penny candy and boxes of late season tomatoes.
591 Route 82 Hudson; 518.851.7477
Fix Brothers Fruit Farm Just past the entrance to Olana, you will see a sign for “Fix Bros Pick Your Own Apples.” Follow the arrows and you’ll pass acres and acres of orchards. This fourth generation family farm has a wide variety of apples—including Macintosh, Cortland, Honey Crisp, Empire, Macoun & Jonagold. When you pick your own, all varieties are 80 cents a pound. 215 White Birch Road, Hudson; 518.828-7560
If you want to tour the inside of the fantastical 19th century Persian-style house, you have to call in advance and make a reservation. The owner and creator of Olana, the revered artist Frederick Church, created a landscape that makes the most of its hilltop setting and the view down the Hudson looks like one of his famous paintings. It’s a magnficent vista any time of day, but never more so than just before sunset. Route 9G, Hudson; 518.828.0135