I recall the days at Boy Scout winter camp when I’d be nestled comfortably inside my warm sleeping bag, only to be rudely awakened by the blaring of a bugle sounding off reveille.
The next thing I knew, I was trundling down to the lake for a “polar bear swim.” To this day, I believe whomever thought it was a good idea to jump into an icy lake at six in the morning should be brought to justice and tried in a criminal court.
Aside from the fear that one of these frigid dips would eventually cause a certain extremity to fall off, Scout camp did provide me with one of my favorite outdoor activities: hiking.
Yet, leaving for New York to join the ranks as a staff writer of the Family Travel Forum team, it didn’t occur to me until after a few weeks living in the city that I would no longer be able to simply walk out of my house and take a scenic walk through the backwoods.
On a recent jog across the George Washington Bridge on my day off (I believe Columbus would’ve agreed with my decision to take off work in his recognition), I took a different route and came upon some great trails along the Hudson River.
Along the wooded path north of the New Jersey side of the bridge, a steep stone stairway spirals all the way down to the river, continuing along the much smoother, paved Henry Hudson Drive. Along the way, there is the Ross Dock Picnic Area, which includes grills, fire rings, tables and a central lodge, as well as a small playground for kids. This is just the first of four picnic areas located along this particular stretch of the Hudson River.
The nearly 10-mile road then passes by Tenafly Nature Center. This park seems to have a lot of inexpensive activities for kids to get involved in throughout October and November, including family nature walks, scavenger hunts, family campfires, haunted forest tours and my favorite, apple cider making.
Finally, the path trails off into the Palisades State Park, where there are a number of guided hikes and historical tours of the area as well as plenty of other inexpensive kid-friendly events throughout the months of October and November.
Whether by bicycle or on foot, being able to get out of the city once in a while and breathing in some fresh(er) air can really relieve stress, so put on your hiking boots and jacket and go!
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