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 mile to justify the gasoline you’ll use. The route, which connects Millerton and Hudson, is not only an insider’s shortcut 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 and ended at Olana, you can just as easily do this trip in reverse, concluding at the Harney & Sons Tea Lounge. The route is a rural cliche in the best sense, as along the way you can buy pumpkins and gourds, pick apples, shop for baked goods, and procure the last tomatoes and peaches of the season. You can even pick fall raspberries which, for some reason, are so much tastier than the ones you get in early summer. Best of all, you can revel in the vistas and fall foliage, and marvel that we reside in such an unspoiled land.
Begin at the intersection of Route 44 and Route 22 in Millerton. Head north on 22 and make your first left onto Route 60 (a.k.a. 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 views of the Catskill Mountains in the distance. Make a left at the fork onto County Route 60, which brings you into Ancramdale. If you need coffee and an egg sandwhich, stop at The Farmer’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 background for family photos. 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
Thompson-Finch is not hard to find; it’s the second right, Wiltsie Bridge Road, after you pass through Ancram. As of September 27, you could still pick organic raspberries on Wednesdays and Saturdays, but call first to double check availability or check their website for daily updates.
750 Wiltsie Bridge Rd., Ancram; 518.329.7578
The West Taghkanic Diner
Whether it’s early or late in the day, this vintage 1953 diner is always convenient (and affordable) for comfort food like grilled cheese and french fries. It’s not hyperbole to say this is as all-American as it gets and feels like an appropriate stop when on a long country drive.
1016 State Rte. 82, Ancram; 518.851.7117
If your 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’d suspect, and Taconic Orchards has the aw-shucks feel of an old-time general store, with over 20 different varieties of apples, locally made cider, pies, apple fritters, fudge and a large variety of produce.
591 Rte. 82 Hudson; 518.851.7477
Fix Brothers Fruit Farm
Heading towards 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 and Jonagold. A corn maze and hay ride will keep the kids happy. And they’re open every day. 215 White Birch Rd., 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 Frederic 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 magnificent vista any time of day, but never more so than just before sunset. 5720 Rte. 9G, Hudson; 518.828.0135