Detours / See Hatsie Travel

Travel: Bear Mountain, NY

Most of you who gave feedback to my question regarding what I should and shouldn’t post here responded with a resounding “SHOULD!” You are open to posts that extend beyond the realm of food, so here I am, giving you what you asked for.  I present to you: Detours, a column about the little or big adventures I find myself in.  Don’t worry, food is never far away.
I spent last weekend in New Jersey, which was lovely as usual.  Saturday, after we lazed around the house eating bagels all morning, we went on what I like to call “Hatsie sits in the car paying little to know attention to where we are going, then finds herself in a really exciting place.”  Last time this happened I looked up and we were in Maine.  I might have cried I was so excited.  I did the same thing the first time I saw the Eiffel Tower.  It’s fine.

This time the destination was Bear Mountain, New York.  While this mountain was not full of bears, as far as I could tell anyway, it was full of beauty.  And a river.  And the New York City skyline in the distance.  And a zoo.  And Oktoberfest.  And giant pretzels and cold beer.  It was pretty spectacular.
We began on the peak, which over looked the Hudson River Valley, which if you didn’t know, is breathtaking.

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.

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