Hudson River Valley is a bonanza for leaf-peepers

Entertainment,Andrea Farnum
Forget the Big Apple. When it comes to autumn, travelers looking to catch fall's show of brilliant color should venture north of the big city.  Upstate New York's Hudson River Valley offers great foliage, farm-fresh harvest foods and value-added savings.

“There are no words to describe the beauty,” said Tisha Bevilacqua, a former Silver Spring resident who recently moved to New Paltz, N.Y.  “The leaves are just starting to turn, and we'll still have great color until the end of the month.”

Through Nov. 15, many Hudson River Valley lodgings are offering discounted vacation packages and gas incentives to encourage visitors.  “It's no secret that travelers today are more value-conscious than ever,” said Thomas Ranese, chief marketing officer of I Love New York, the state's tourism agency. “We offer a quintessential seasonal experience combining culture, culinary and the beauty of our scenic foliage.”

Lodging specials include a fall package at Captain Schoomakers Bed and Breakfast in High Falls, where for $165 a night you get a $25 gas incentive, fruit basket, wine tasting and driving map of the local hot spots for autumn views, farm stands and wineries. 

Sightseers looking for a rock, ledge or stream with quintessential fall views should not miss the Mohonk Preserve in Gardiner.

Set in the Shawangunk Mountains, this idyllic preserve offers more than 6,500 acres of cliffs, forests, fields and ponds. Cost for the day is $9 for hikers and bikers and $15 for climbers; children 12 and under are free with an adult. 

“I've hiked in Mohonk at least 20 times already, and it never gets old,” said Gina Dambra, a jewelry designer from Rosendale, N.Y. “Part of the appeal is the quiet and solitude you find there. It really is a special spot.”

Travelers are advised to come with an appetite, as the Hudson River Valley will not disappoint.

“There is nothing better after a long day hiking or biking to have a wonderful meal in front of a roaring fire made with all local and organic foods,” said Bevilacqua. “It's my culinary nirvana.”

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