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Our State’s Three Dream Drives
AAA Car & Travel Magazine
June 1, 2011

Our State’s Three Dream Drives

While current pump prices are none too pretty, New York road-trippers always have attractive escapes in store. Here are three scenic home-state stretches within reach of a fill-up or two.


by Jeff Heilman, Editorial and Photo
Original Publish Date - June 2011

Travel Information: iloveny.com;
AAA.com/Travel

Route 30
Winding 300 miles from the Western Catskills through Adirondack Park to Québec Province, this quintessential rural road pleases at every turn. Departing from the Rte. 17 interchange at East Branch (West Branch Resort’s upscale log cabins in nearby Hancock provide a great starter base) the charms of New York’s 30 quickly become apparent. Appealing towns like Colchester and its hamlet of Downsville nestle in mountainous folds as you chase the Delaware River’s East Branch through forest and fern to the majestic Pepacton Reservoir. Continuing to Margaretville, where nearby attractions include the Delaware-Ulster Rail Ride, 30 journeys through red barn-dotted farmland past tiny Halcottsville—where Susan’s Pleasant Pheasant is a superb B&B option— en route to historic Roxbury. Here, a man-made wonder beckons in the fabulous Roxbury Motel, complete with spa, meeting space and adjacent cocktail lounge. Its 27 quarters, which include the Angel Hair and Star Trek-inspired Final Frontier rooms, is an unlikely mountain oasis and a beacon at night; the four-season Plattekill Mountain Resort is nearby.

Famed American naturalist John Burroughs hailed from Roxbury; the views from Woodchuck Lodge, his National Historic Landmark summer home, and adjacent gravesite are pure inspiration. Pass through Grand Gorge into the flowing farmland of lower Schoharie County, where local draws include summer farm stands, the Gilboa Fossils, the not-unattractive Blenheim-Gilboa Power Station and, for hikers, soaring valley views from Vroman’s Nose near Middleburgh. For extended drives, 30 proceeds north through Amsterdam into the Adirondacks and on to Québec, continuing to Montreal as Canadian Rte. 138.

Route 22
Practically zippering New York’s eastern border to Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont, Rte. 22, at 341 miles, is the state’s third longest highway. Originally an Indian trail, it is among New York’s most storied thoroughfares, prominent in Colonial and Revolutionary times and a principal Gotham-to-Canada artery starting from the 1930’s. Today, this mostly rural road supplies a leisurely longitudinal tour of New York’s changing landscapes, with a decidedly urban departure off Rte. 1 in the Bronx at E. 233rd St. (or skip ahead to 22’s intersection with I-684 near Armonk). Tracking through Westchester County as White Plains Rd., 22 establishes its country character quickly. After edging around Kensico Reservoir, passing through bucolic Bedford and dancing alongside I-684 through Putnam County, 22 hits its scenic stride in the panoramic Harlem Valley.

Passing by Pawling, a key Appalachian Trail coordinate, 22 hits historic whistle-stops such as Wingdale, with its abandoned psychiatric hospital, Dover Plains and Amenia, before embarking on its eye-catching stretch through the Taconic and Berkshire Mountain valleys and remote Columbia County. Reaching its approximate halfway point in historic New Lebanon, the spiritual home of the Shaker movement, more scenic high notes follow in pastoral Washington County, where 22 traverses the lowlands between the Appalachians and Adirondacks. Drivers going the distance from here are rewarded with the majestic magnitude of the Adirondacks, Lake Champlain and spectacular vistas en route to the Canadian border.

Pulaski Highway
For a remarkable country experience some 55 miles from midtown Manhattan, head to Warwick (Rte. 17N to 17A) and sample the bounty of the surrounding Black Dirt Region. Once the post-Ice Age Drowned Lands, this agricultural Eden, backed by twin mountains Adam and Eve, was first cultivated by Polish farmers more than a century ago.

Stretching out either side of the Pulaski Hwy. (Rte. 6), this deep sea of millenniaold organic decay, redolent with the smell of onions and other crops, including pickyour-own sweet corn and strawberries, intoxicates the senses while whetting the appetite. A host of local purveyors is happy to oblige, such as the Quaker Creek Store in tiny Pine Island, a third generation Polish family-run cured meats and charcuterie emporium beginning life in 1947. Slake your thirst on varietals and ciders, cordials and liqueurs hand-crafted from local apples, pears and other fruit at the Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery, with live music and fruit picking also on the menu. Looped by Rte. 94, historic Warwick, nearby Florida and artsy Sugar Loaf are appealing stops for strolling and casual fare, with Applewood Orchards & Winery another welcoming spot for tastings and apple picking. Following 17A back, don’t miss Bellvale Creamery atop Mt. Peter for delicious ice cream and great views.


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