Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Eating Out(side) Part 2

I'm revisiting some of the perfect picnic places we wrote about in last year’s Hudson Valley Connoisseur magazine, and here are a few more ideas …

Each year you can see Shakespeare under the tent at the Hudson River estate Boscobel on Route 9D in Garrison, from June to September, courtesy of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. This year they’re presenting Richard III directed by Terrence O'Brien through August 18, and As You Like It directed by Kurt Rhoads through September 2. You can get ticket info at the Web site. Bring a blanket and a picnic, take in the panoramic views of the Hudson Highlands and see a show. That’s about as perfect as it gets.

Perfect Picnic places near Boscobel

Make a day of it. Boscobel Restoration, host of the Shakespeare festival, has a mansion-turned-museum that dates from the early 19th century and contains one of the nation's leading collections of furniture and decorative arts from the Federal period. Boscobel is close to the village of Cold Spring with its antiques and specialty shops. Bear Mountain State Park, the Dia:Beacon arts center, and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point are a short drive away. And if you like to hike, here are two other fine ideas about where to park your picnic.

For those who prefer their picnics on the wild side, the Fishkill Ridge Conservation Area is home to eagles, falcons and numerous rare species. More than 1,900 acres of Fishkill Ridge, the northern gateway to the fabled Hudson Highlands, are protected by the Scenic Hudson Land Trust and managed by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Visitors will enjoy panoramic views of the Hudson River and the Catskills along with some of the region’s best hiking trails that connect to thousands of acres in Hudson Highlands State Park and on historic Mount Beacon. Open dawn to dusk. Free.

Visit Manitou Point Preserve in Garrison and enjoy magnificent Hudson River views from the former estate of another member of the Livingstons (one of the Hudson Valley's most prominent 19th-century families). This 136-acre retreat is owned by the environmental organizations Scenic Hudson and the Open Space Institute and has four miles of trails that wind along Manitou Marsh and past wooded uplands, the Hudson River and Copper Mine Brook ravine. You’ll also pass by a restored mansion (that is not open to the public) that is the national headquarters of Outward Bound. Open dawn to dusk. Free.

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