After soaking in the views, we drove back down the mountain and admired the river we had seen from above.
There were ferry boats and bridges and trains.
Then things got interesting. As we were admiring the river and the cool breeze coming off of it, along came a number of people walking down towards the docked boat carrying giant steins of beer. Just walking with beer, on a mountain, in New York, on a Saturday in September. These people were not, shall we say, sober. Men were stumbling and I heard one girl, presumably his girlfriend, say, “Ugh, you’re a complete mess right now.” She, on the other hand, was not. I bet they had a fun afternoon.
So, we did what anyone would do and set out to find where all these people were coming from and go to there.
Hello Oktoberfest! Bear Mountain holds Oktoberfest every year for a couple of weeks in September and October, and we just happened to stop by on opening weekend! It was fantastic; people of all ages, dogs, couples dancing to polka music in leiderhosen, giant pretzels with copious amounts of salt, a flea-market selling local honey, German beer–it was perfect. We stopped and had a beer and split a pretzel, because when in Oktoberfest! We watched the dancers and listened to music and enjoyed the atmosphere. Both of us wanted to stay all afternoon, but we had more to see, and also we had to drive back to New Jersey. No boat for us.
We ended our trip with a walk through the zoo. Yeah, there’s a zoo, too. It’s an old zoo that caters to local wildlife and also acts as a refuge for injured animals. And! I got to see a bear! I have a thing for bears. That one’s name was Pal. He’s friendly. His sister, Sadie, is not. Full Disclosure: I’m sure Sadie is a very nice bear, that’s just what the zoo keeper said. Maybe Sadie just doesn’t like her. I bet Sadie and I would be great friends.
Bear Mountain was a treat, and if you ever find yourself in that area of New York, you should check it out. And if you find yourself there in the next couple of weeks, give yourself an afternoon because Oktoberfest will suck you in. Let it happen.
This Detours column will come to you as often as I can write it, meaning I have to actually travel in order to write about my travels. I do know that there’s a Maine post in the next month or so and I’m so excited I can hardly stand it!
In the meantime, you should go explore! Find a zoo, or a bunch of unruly drunk people climbing a mountain, and then just soak it all in. Let’s get out there.