What’s the best way to digest that gigantic Thanksgiving meal – and all the leftovers the next day? Go for it. A hike after Thanksgiving Day is a tradition for many in this time of overconsumption.
The following are accessible (meaning parking is readily available) and are ideal for a brisk stroll or walk that won’t take all day. That way, you can be home in time to claim that last piece of pumpkin pie.
McAndrews Estate, Oscawana Park, Croton
This easy 3-mile hike winds through the ruins of the turn-of-the-19th century McAndrews Estate, which once featured a huge Victorian mansion, a full-size running track with an elaborate two-story judges’ stand, fountains, the Cruger mansion, several other houses and all the livestock, machinery and personnel needed to run a large working farm. The ruins of this once grand estate are scattered across the property. Find parking at the trailhead at Oscawana Park, Cortlandt Street, Croton-on-Hudson. — Contributed by Carlos González
Scenic Tarrytown Riverwalk-Sleepy Hollow Riverwalk
A recently opened stretch of this waterfront park hugs the shoreline around the former General Motors Assembly factory property. This is a flat, accessible paved path that offers beautiful views of the Hudson River, Governor Mario Cuomo’s Bridge, the Palisades, and even the distant Manhattan skyline to the south. Highlights include up-close views of Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse (which is being renovated), access to Kingsland Point Park, and dining options at two restaurants, Hudson Farmer & The Fish and Rivermarket Bar & Kitchen. There are plenty of benches along the river and park walk. Parking is available at Pierson Park in Tarrytown (it may charge a fee, so read the signs carefully) or at Edge-on-Hudson in Sleepy Hollow. For more information: scenichudson.org/explore-the-valley
Hook Mountain/Nyack Beach Bike Trail
The 8 mile Hook Mountain/Nyack Beach Bike Trail connects Nyack to Haverstraw Beach State Park. It’s easy, runs along the edge of the Hudson and welcomes bikes, walkers and hikers. An ascending hill along the way will take you to the Long Path hiking trail – a 7 mile route between Hook Mountain Rockland Lake. Three connecting paths to the Long Path—one each at the north, south, and midpoints of the hook face—allow for circular hikes of varying lengths. Parking is available at Nyack Beach State Park, 698 N. Broadway, Nyack. parks.ny.gov.
Bear Mountain State Park
If those trails to Bear Mountain seem daunting, switch to Plan B: an easy walk around the park’s Hessian Lake (it’s right next to the Bear Mountain Inn) on a 1.5-mile paved trail. Options abound from there. Turn right at the zoo and there is an additional one mile trail to the Hudson River and Bear Mountain wharf. There are more difficult trails that connect to the Appalachian Trail and the Long Trail; others meander to the top of Bear Mountain. Find a trail map at parks.ny.gov/parks. Leashed dogs are allowed on the trails, and the park has a pavilion with dining options and bathrooms. During the winter months, there is an outdoor ice rink that offers skate rentals. The park is open daily, year-round, from 8 a.m. to sunset. $10 parking per vehicle on weekends.
Franny Reese State Park, Highland
The trails, which cover 2.5 miles in this park, follow a historic carriage road that winds past the ruins of a 19th-century estate, while a gazebo offers superb views of the Mid-Hudson Bridge and Skywalk. the Hudson. A link connects the park to the Walkway Loop Trail. Free and open all year round, from sunrise to sunset. Johnson-Iorio Park, Haviland Road, Highland. For more information: parks.ny.gov/parks/frannyreese/maps.aspx
Norrie Point, Staatsburg
This 2.5 mile hike along the Hudson River is a great family outing. Parking is available at the Staatsburgh State Historic Site (Mills Mansion). The hike passes a stone boathouse, the gardeners house and a view of the Esopus Meadows lighthouse. When you’re done hiking, you can explore the Mills Mansion Estate which offers tours and special events during the holidays. 9 Old Post Road, Staatsburg. For more information, go to parks.ny.gov/parks/millsnorrie/details.aspx
Barnes Mine and Welch Lake Loop, Harriman State Park
A five-mile loop hike follows logging roads and trails past an old abandoned iron mine and through the site of a hamlet that was flooded to create Welch Lake, ending with a historic stone church from 1880. The Barnes Mine is located on the south slope of Pole Brook Mountain in Harriman State Park. The mine sits on a 17-acre parcel purchased in 1846 by Isaac Barnes. Barnes Mine ceased operations around 1880. Welch Lake was started in 1928 on what was then known as Beaver Pond. Sandyfield was a settlement of about 30 homes that was submerged when the marshy Beaver Pond was dammed to create the 216-acre lake by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission. Hiker parking lot on St. Johns Road at Stony Point, Harriman State Park, parks.ny.gov/parks/145. –– contributed by Carlos Gonzalez
Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, Irvington
The OCA stretches 26 miles from Croton Reservoir to Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. This segment starts at Main Street in Irvington (look for the trail near the old elementary school), then heads north to Lyndhurst National Historic Site before returning to Irvington. There is parking available on the street and in several lots. The well-groomed dirt road is a quiet oasis, passing properties, everyday homes and woods with glimpses of the Hudson River between the trees. You will share it with walkers, joggers and cyclists. In Lyndhurst, walkers will see the estate’s neo-Gothic mansion and massive glasshouse, a 19th-century bowling pavilion, and centuries-old beech and weeping willow trees. If you want to add a few steps, continue north on the OCA and you’ll come to a great lookout point for Governor Mario Cuomo’s Bridge before returning to Irvington. There are tours available of the mansion and grounds. Go to lyndhurst.org. For more information on the aqueduct, go to parks.ny.gov/parks/oldcrotonaqueduct/details
Alfred B. DelBello Muscoot Farm, Somers
If you have kids in tow this is a great option for a good walk with beautiful scenery and the chance to visit some of the farm’s resident animals including cows, pigs and chickens. Muscoot is an early 1900s interpretive farm that’s open year-round, but it also offers more than seven miles of hiking trails through fields, woods, and wetlands. Trail maps are available at the Visitor Center. There is a large unpaved parking lot. The park is open every day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. all year round. Highway 100, Somers. For more information, go to parks.westchestergov.com/muscootfarm
Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Sleepy Hollow
We know, it sounds weird, but every year after Thanksgiving, that’s where my family would go out for dinner! There are miles of paved and crushed stone roads leading to the more historic areas of the cemetery which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Those in the story will find themselves scrolling through cellphones to learn more about those interned in awe-inspiring final resting places, from Andrew Carnegie to IBM’s Thomas Watson; see if you can find the humble final resting place of Paul Warburg, once among the world’s richest men and the reported role model for Daddy Warbucks’ character in the ‘Little Orphan Annie’ comic book. The Pocantico River runs through the property which is also a certified arboretum with 28 species of trees including Robinia, White Spruce, Eastern Hemlock, Austrian Pine, Black Birch and Black Cherry. 540 N. Broadway, Sleepy Hollow. Open daily, with all doors closed at 4:30 p.m. For more information, go to http://sleepyhollowcemetery.org