21 Best Things to Do in Rockland County, NY

Rockland County, NY

Nestled just north of the bustling cityscape of Manhattan, this little-known gem is where the charm of small-town living blends seamlessly with the vibrancy of city life.

Join us as we  share some of the  the very best things to do in Rockland County, New York, a place where there's always something exciting waiting just around the bend.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the following individuals for their invaluable contributions to this article: Helena Winters, Terri Black, Bryant Parker, Frank Chambliss, Brian Hall, Lori Albrecht and Justin Wiese.

Hike around Pine Meadow Lake

The waters of Pine Meadow Lake
quiggyt4 / Shutterstock.com

One of my favorite weekend getaways is a trip to Pine Meadow Lake.

I never grow tired of the beautiful lake that's nestled at the end of a rewarding hike.

I usually start my journey from the Lake Sebago Boat Launch, where there is ample parking.

I've even managed to find parking spots on busy Sunday afternoons when the visitor center's parking lot is overflowing with cars.

The hike to the lake takes about an hour, and then I like to spend another hour just strolling around the lake, soaking in its serenity.

The trail system around Pine Meadow Lake is impressive, with a network of pathways that offer varying levels of difficulty.

For those who prefer their hikes straightforward and easy, the Red Trail is a great choice.

I, however, prefer the blue trail. Yes, it's steeper and more challenging, but the views it offers are absolutely worth the extra effort.

Lily pads at Pine Meadow Lake
quiggyt4 / Shutterstock.com

One of the best things about the lake is that it's dog-friendly, so I often bring my canine companion along.

We'll break for lunch and just enjoy the beauty surrounding us.

Just a little local tip: the trail is much easier than Bear Mountain's, with no stairs, and is quite good for people who might have knee problems.

It's a five-mile round trip from Reeves Meadows visitor center to Pine Meadow Lake.

In the end, it doesn't matter if it rained the day before - the trails usually remain pretty dry, with only a few spots that get slightly muddy.

I do recommend having a trail map or app handy, though.

Some trails intersect, and it can get confusing when one trail becomes a different one with no directional arrows to guide you.

But as long as you're prepared, you're in for a wonderful time in nature's lap!

Cool Down at the Scenic Serenity at High Tor State Park

I arise with the early New York sunrise and head out eagerly to High Tor State Park, my go-to place for a quick hiking adventure.

Nestled right off Central Ave, on the peak of the mountain road, the park is a local secret that we fondly refer to as the mountain road.

The hike is a refreshing start to my day.

I begin by tracing the teal blazes, marking the trail as I meander through the thick woods.

About a mile in, I reach an intersection marked by three white blazes.

A left turn here, and I'm on my way to the top, following the white blazes.

The view from the top is absolutely breathtaking!

My eyes are treated to a panoramic display of the North Rockland area and the Hudson.

There’s a narrow path that offers a different perspective from the left side.

After spending some time soaking up the splendid vista and capturing the beauty in my camera, I retrace my path back, following the white blazes to the bottom, then taking a right to follow the teal blazes back to my parking spot.

But the charm of High Tor State Park extends beyond the hiking trails.

The park is home to a jumbo pool that invites a refreshing coolness, especially during the hot summer months.

The pool area has an alluring atmosphere with two diving boards, creating a perfect spot for family fun.

It's a nominal $5 fee for the pool and an $8 entrance fee to the park.

Despite its modest rating of about a 3 or 4 for the hike, the High Tor scenic overlook spot definitely bumps up the challenge to an 8 or 9.

But trust me, it's totally worth it!

The sweeping, panoramic view is a sight to behold.

There's also the Little Tor overlook that's less grueling but equally rewarding.

Have a Picnic by Lake Sebago

Bench overlooking Lake Sebago
yuriyt / Shutterstock.com

There's a tranquility to Lake Sebago that cannot be found elsewhere. I discovered this serene getaway during one of my regular weekend drives around the town.

Nestled amongst the Seven Lakes, this place has quickly become my personal retreat.

Parking here can be a bit tricky. During a busy day, you may have to resort to street parking.

But don't worry, there are no signs indicating no parking. If you're lucky, you might find a spot in the lot, even when the sign says it's full.

Prepare for some beautiful hiking trails around the lake. On my first visit, I had aimed for a 6-mile hike but ended up doing 8 miles owing to the sparse signage.

A small dock at Lake Sebago
Jam Norasett / Shutterstock.com

I urge everyone enjoying the splendor of the lake to adhere to the carry-in/carry-out rule.

The views around Lake Sebago are truly breathtaking. Not as crowded as other popular spots, the peacefulness of the lake allows for a much-needed break from the daily hustle.

As for swimming, there's a sign that discourages it, but I haven't seen anyone enforcing it.

However, the lake's true charm lies in its secluded corners. I've seen families having barbecues, and it's become the perfect spot for my quiet reading sessions.

This little gem is where the chaos of the world fades away, replaced by the harmonious chirping of the birds and the soothing ripples of the lake.

Gorgeous sunset over Lake Sebago
Matt Kremkau / Shutterstock.com

Go Camping at The Stephen & Betsy Corman AMC Harriman Outdoor Center

The splendor of nature tucked away just a short drive from the bustling city - that's what makes The Stephen & Betsy Corman AMC Harriman Outdoor Center a gem in its own right.

I often find myself driving by this place on my frequent trips to and from the city, and I can't help but be drawn to its allure.

Venturing into the campground for the first time, I was welcomed by the breathtaking view of the nearby lake.

It's a sight that never fails to mesmerize me, no matter how many times I've seen it.

The area itself is well-maintained and inviting, with the surrounding serenity offering a pleasing contrast to the city's constant hustle.

The dining hall further enhances the experience.

It offers an extensive menu with a variety of options catering to different dietary preferences.

I was particularly impressed by the range of vegan options available.

The food is delicious and well-prepared, making each meal a delightful experience.

Complementing the outdoorsy charm of the place are the cabins - they are modern and comfortable.

It's like having a slice of urban comfort in the heart of nature.

However, do remember to inform your loved ones about the limited cell phone service.

It can be a blessing in disguise, allowing you to tune out distractions and immerse yourself in the peace and tranquility of nature.

The Stephen & Betsy Corman AMC Harriman Outdoor Center also offers a plethora of activities.

From boating to kayaking, there's much to do for those of us who love a bit of adventure.

My personal favorite is taking a canoe across the lake, followed by a scenic hike nearby.

The staff, with their friendly and accommodating nature, adds to the overall positive vibe of the place.

Whether you are looking for a weekend retreat or a place to spend quality time with your kids and friends, the Stephen & Betsy Corman AMC Harriman Outdoor Center is a place definitely worth considering.

Discover Local History at Stony Point Battlefield

Entrance to Stony Point Battlefield
Brian Logan Photography / Shutterstock.com

One of the gems in my neighborhood, hidden in plain sight, is the Stony Point Battlefield.

More than just a park, it's a step back into our nation's revolutionary past.

The site of the 1779 Battle of Stony Point is a place that surprises you with its rich history and panoramic views of the Hudson River.

The historic lighthouse, although under renovation as of June 28, 2023, still adds a touch of timeless grandeur to the landscape.

As I walked in for the first time, I was welcomed by a friendly woman in the museum who had a wealth of knowledge about the history of Stony Point.

I learned that there wasn't a battle fought here: Anthony Wayne, a cunning strategist, distracted the enemy and simply walked in to take control!

The battlefield isn't just a static exhibit, it's an interactive experience.

On my visit, reenactment actors brought the past alive, demonstrating muskets and cannons and setting up a living camp to portray soldiers' life.

A lighthouse at Stony Point Battlefield
Colin D. Young / Shutterstock.com

The site, which also serves as a cemetery for fallen soldiers, commands respect and is maintained with care.

Despite its historical significance, Stony Point Battlefield remains humble. It's free to visit, but I make it a point to drop a small donation at the museum.

The funds support local school programs, connecting the past with our present and future.

The journey to the battlefield is an adventure in itself. The entrance leads you across an old, narrow bridge over freight trains to a large parking lot.

Climbing the large paved hill can be a bit challenging, but there's a free shuttle cart to whisk you up to the action.

Whether you're passionate about history or just looking for a great place to stretch your legs, Stony Point Battlefield offers a unique experience.

A house at Stony Point Battlefield
Brian Logan Photography / Shutterstock.com

Take Photographs at Nyack Beach State Park

Sunny day at Nyack Beach State Park
quiggyt4 / Shutterstock.com

There's nothing quite like spending a sunny afternoon at the enchanting Nyack Beach State Park.

Nestled on the scenic Hudson River, this serene landscape is a 61-acre oasis for nature lovers and adventurers alike.

The park has a couple of parking lots, which can fill up quite quickly on bright, sunny days.

But if you're like me who prefers to visit when it's a little less crowded, like during a light drizzle or later in the day, its tranquillity can be quite breathtaking.

Remember that unforgettable moment when I saw a baby deer frolicking about?

Absolutely adorable! Nyack Beach State Park's stunning riverside view is also worth mentioning.

I find it incredibly relaxing to just sit and watch the calm river flow.

The waters of Nyack Beach State Park
Brian Logan Photography / Shutterstock.com

There's just something about the quiet rustling of the leaves and the subtle hum of the river that melts all your worries away.

For the active folks out there, the park is a paradise. The trails, stretching from the starting point to Haverstraw, are gravel and span about 5.5 miles.

They're perfect for hiking, biking, and even cross-country skiing in the winter. Trust me, the hills may not be too long or steep, but they offer a good workout.

Now, I must admit, there's one tiny drawback. The restrooms, while well-maintained, lack proper lighting.

It can get quite challenging, if not a tad bit scary, to use them once it gets dark. But don't let this minor hiccup deter you.

View from a cliff at Nyack Beach State Park
quiggyt4 / Shutterstock.com

Take in the Views from Hook Mountain State Park

Hudson river at Hook Mountain State Park
James Andrews1 / Shutterstock.com

My heart always beats a little faster when I lace up my hiking boots, grab my water bottle and head for the trails at Hook Mountain State Park.

There's something invigorating about the fresh, crisp air whipping past as I balance on the rugged terrain, surrounded by uninterrupted views of the Hudson River.

The park is home to a plethora of trails, catering to all types of hikers, from beginners to seasoned enthusiasts.

I often find myself feeling adventurous and taking the trail that comprises Nyack Beach and Hook Mountain Loop.

It's a good two-and-a-half-hour hike and might feel slightly more intense than your average moderate trail, but the breathtaking Hudson River views make it profoundly worth it.

And yes, remember to bring $8 cash for the parking fee!

Hook Mountain State Park has this uncanny ability to surprise you.

On one of the recent hikes, I decided to explore the newly created white trail, a well-designed trail leading to the mountain peak.

The views from the top were simply astounding, the vast expanse of the Hudson stretching out as far as the eyes could see.

A cliff at Hook Mountain State Park
quiggyt4 / Shutterstock.com

I then ventured onto the green trail and found it equally well-maintained, if not more so, than the trails in the Palisade State Park.

I should also mention the nature's bounty you'll find here. On my last hike, I spotted a few calves grazing tranquility in the greenery.

And as an added bonus, the park is a haven from the city's hustle, just around an hour's drive from Manhattan.

It's a rare place where you can hike 700 feet elevation within such a short distance from the city.

But do watch out for the bugs – they're harmless but can be a bit of a distraction when you're soaking in the serenity.

And in some spots, the grass could be a bit overgrown. I always do a tick check right after my hike, although I've never found any so far.

Hook Mountain State Park is not just a hike, it's an adventure. It's a journey into nature's lap, a retreat into the peaceful and picturesque wilderness.

Explore the Wonders of Trailside Museums & Zoo

Entrance to the Trailside Museum & Zoo
quiggyt4 / Shutterstock.com

Oh, what a joy it is to have the Trailside Museums & Zoo as part of our community!

It's not just a zoo; it's an oasis of knowledge and natural beauty tucked away in our own backyard.

Unfolding the mysteries of local geology and ecology is my favorite pastime, and this place is a treasure trove for such explorations.

Each exhibit tells a story of our earth's remarkable journey and the diverse life forms it nurtures.

Additionally, the sanctuary rehabilitates and houses a multitude of wild animals who have been rescued.

It's heartwarming to see these animals being cared for and flourishing in their new surroundings.

But the cherry on top is its location.

Trailside Museums & Zoo seamlessly blends into the Bear Mountain State Park, making it a comprehensive package for an entire day out.

There’s nothing like packing a picnic and heading to the park for a delightful day of exploring and relaxation.

The trails have been recently repaved, so you can enjoy a smooth walk through the zoo and learn about some intriguing US history.

One of my most cherished experiences is walking around, observing the local animals you'd typically encounter around Bear Mountain.

It's a small yet immersive zoo that acquaints us with the creatures that share our landscape, making it a truly unique experience.

Feel the Adrenaline Rush at Autobahn Indoor Speedway & Events

The first time I stepped foot in Autobahn Indoor Speedway & Events, located in the heart of Palisades Mall, West Nyack, New York, I was immediately swept off my feet by the energetic atmosphere.

You can check this amazing place here.

It's not every day you stumble upon such an adrenaline-filled racecourse tucked away in a shopping mall.

I remember my first go-kart race like it was yesterday.

The staff members were extraordinarily helpful, easing my beginner's nerves and guiding me with attentiveness and patience.

The thrill of the race was unparalleled, and I felt an adrenaline rush like never before.

The beautifully designed course only made the experience more enjoyable.

But the fun doesn't stop at racing.

They also offer axe throwing - an activity I recommend you don't miss.

When I first heard about it, I was skeptical.

But the friendly staff member won me over.

He taught me a slew of new moves and kept things interesting with a variety of games.

It proved to be one of the most unique and exhilarating experiences I've ever had.

But what truly sets Autobahn Indoor Speedway & Events apart is their exceptional staff.

My kids can't stop talking about how much fun they had!

Don’t just take my word for it.

Visit and see the magic for yourself.

Unwinding at Rockland Lake State Park

Bench overlooking the waters of Rockland Lake State Park
Brian Logan Photography / Shutterstock.com

Rockland Lake State Park is my go-to place whenever I need a break from everyday hassles.

An oasis of relaxation, it's tucked away just a short drive from home.

From annual BBQs to just sitting by the lake, the park offers a myriad of activities that never fail to rejuvenate me.

Rockland Lake State Park is home to a massive swimming pool that locals and tourists rave about.

Although I've yet to try it myself, every time I pass by, the glistening water and the sound of splashes stir up a strong desire to dive in.

The park's cleanliness is commendable, especially the bathrooms which are pristine until the end of the day when the poolgoers trickle in.

The park doesn't just stop at the pool.

It boasts tennis courts, golf courses, trails, and a lake for those who love fishing.

One of the things that I love about this park is how it fosters community engagement.

I vividly remember when a state park officer joined the kids in a game of tug-of-war.

The kids' faces lit up with joy, and it was such a heartwarming sight.

The park is truly a gem.

The ease of access and ample parking make for a hassle-free visit.

The natural beauty around is breathtaking and it's one of the best parks I've ever been to.

Catch a Game at Clover Stadium

The grounds of Clover Stadium
Alexisrael, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

When it comes to enjoying a good baseball game, there’s no place like home - and by home, I mean Clover Stadium, the heart and soul of Rockland County.

There's just nothing like the thrill of cheering for our local heroes, the Rockland Boulders, along with the rest of the neighborhood, creating a wave of energy and camaraderie that you won't find anywhere else.

The moment I step foot into the stadium, I am greeted by the friendly staff, who always remember my name.

It's a small thing, but it adds that extra warmth to the whole experience.

The seats are excellent, offering a clear view of the field from every angle.

And if you're lucky, you might catch a flyball.

My go-to spot, however, has always been the outfield with my two kids, waiting with our gloves on, hoping to catch a home run.

I have a fond memory of Number 27, David Vinsky, being especially nice to my boys.

He, like the rest of the players, never hesitates to sign autographs and interact with fans after the game.

It's this friendly, down-to-earth attitude that really makes you feel part of the Boulders family.

But it's not just about the game.

Clover Stadium takes entertainment to the next level with an array of fun activities.

My kids absolutely love the playground and mini golf course.

And the free train ride that encircles the stadium?

It's like icing on the cake.

Oh, and how can I forget the irresistible 16-handled ice cream that has become a game-day ritual for us!

And let's not forget the convenient parking right outside the stadium for only $5.

Honestly, it's these little things that make all the difference.

Immerse in Art History at Edward Hopper House Museum & Study Center

Just another normal day in my life, I found myself seeking shelter from the downpour at the Edward Hopper House Museum & Study Center.

You see, this place is a little gem tucked away in our town, a house where the world-renowned artist, Edward Hopper, was born in 1882.

We delved into the history of Hopper's art and how it related to the area and naturally, a local like me was all ears soaking in these intriguing stories.

It was a small house filled with period furniture, letters, sketches, and various memorabilia.

Nonetheless, the Edward Hopper House Museum & Study Center provided a fascinating peek into the artist's life.

It's a compact tour, easily done in under an hour, but worth every minute.

The walking tour may seem quick on a map but be prepared for some steep climbs.

Let's just say it's enough to get your heart pumping a bit.

But I guarantee you, it's worth it.

Every time I visit, I leave with a deeper appreciation for Hopper's work and a renewed love for my town.

Have a Splash at Tallman Mountain State Park

A swimming pool at Tallman Mountain State Park
quiggyt4 / Shutterstock.com

When I think about my perfect day off, I instantly think about Tallman Mountain State Park. It's my little gem tucked away in upstate New York.

No matter what season it is, there's always something to do there.

First thing in the morning, I usually grab my hiking boots and conquer the steep hike up the mountain.

It's a bit challenging, but it's never too long. And the view? Absolutely worth it!

As I make my way through narrow pathways and tunnels, I can catch breathtaking views of the Hudson River and the Piermont Marsh.

It’s always a great way to kick-start the day. Around lunchtime, I shift gears a little.

The park has some really nice barbecue pits and picnic areas that are perfect for a quick bite to eat.

With the park being very family-friendly, it's common to see families gathered around, sharing a meal, and having a good time.

Welcome sign of Tallman Mountain State Park
Veronica Winters / Shutterstock.com

After a bite to eat, I usually go for a leisurely stroll. The greeneries in the park offer a relaxing atmosphere.

Sometimes, I even take a dip in the pool. There’s one for adults and another for kids, both well-maintained.

If I feel like engaging in some active sports, there’s a basketball court and a tennis court that I can use.

If you're planning to visit Tallman Mountain State Park, keep in mind that the parking spaces, especially near the pool, fill up really quickly.

So, the earlier you arrive, the better. Don't forget to bring your bike – the park's pathways are ideal for cycling. But you have to watch out for the other cyclists!

Stroll across Bear Mountain Bridge

Sunset over Bear Mountain Bridge
Mihai_Andritoiu / Shutterstock.com

Not many people know about this hidden gem, the Bear Mountain Bridge.

Teetering over the Hudson River, it's not just a bridge for cars but a place to take a leisurely stroll, bike, or photograph the scenic landscapes around it.

It's an incredible experience to walk across this cable-stayed bridge.

The pedestrian pathway, though slightly cramped, offers a unique perspective of the river and forest, especially when the leaves change in the fall.

Parking isn't usually an issue, but be careful of speeding traffic when getting out of the car and when crossing the road to get to the walkway.

On my frequent walks here, I've found that the bridge itself is a monument of local history.

The road of Bear Mountain Bridge
mustapha2019 / Shutterstock.com

There are plaques and signs that give you a snapshot of its historical significance, which somehow makes the views even more meaningful.

As you walk along, you'll also notice signs urging anyone in a mental health crisis to reach out, a sobering reminder of the darker moments that such beautiful places can also witness.

One of the best perks of living here is the privilege of ending a day with a calming walk on the Bear Mountain Bridge, drinking in the views, and snapping a few photos of the breathtaking scenery.

Aerial view of Bear Mountain Bridge
Mihai_Andritoiu / Shutterstock.com

Overcome Your Fears at the Palisades Climb Adventure Ropes Course

I still remember the thrill of my first visit to the Palisades Climb Adventure Ropes Course.

Zigzagging through the myriad of obstacles, the adrenaline coursing through my veins was palpable.

I must admit, some of the obstacles felt repetitive, but the overall experience was undeniably exhilarating.

The staff there turned out to be the unsung heroes of the day.

Their courtesy was contagious, and their encouragement helped many children overcome their fears and embrace the adventure.

One of the highlights of my visit was, without a doubt, the zip line.

Although the wait was a tad bit long, the thrill of soaring through the air was worth every minute.

The staff was particularly attentive during my zip-lining session, ensuring that everyone felt safe and enjoyed the experience.

What made the experience even better was the fact that I had snagged a sweet discount on Groupon.

There's nothing like a good deal to add an extra bounce to your step!

If you're on the lookout for a fun, adventurous day out, I highly recommend checking out Palisades Climb Adventure Ropes Course.

Regardless of your age or skill level, this place offers a unique and thrilling experience.

And if you're in any doubt about the safety aspects, just have a chat with any of the staff members – they're always ready to explain.

I'm already planning my visit back in a few months.

It's not every day you find an adventure park that leaves you feeling safe, satisfied, and craving for more!

Go Swimming at Lake Welch Beach

Sunny day at Lake Welch Beach
Mihai_Andritoiu / Shutterstock.com

Whenever I need a breather from my daily hustle, I make a beeline for Lake Welch Beach, my personal sanctuary.

With its half-mile-long sandy stretch, it is a slice of paradise right here in New York.

The beach is perfect for swimming, boating, fishing, and picnicking.

A lot of locals and tourists alike find it an ideal spot to unwind hence it can get pretty packed during peak hours.

However, the beach never loses its charm.

I remember countless sunny afternoons spent grilling and barbecuing in their designated areas.

The parking fee is well worth the $10 for a day of serene relaxation and water fun.

Families, in particular, would find Lake Welch Beach a delight.

It's maintained well, with clean water that's inviting on a hot day.

There are bathrooms, lockers, and showers, making it convenient for a day-long stay.

Not to mention, a snack bar for a quick bite - a lifesaver when the children start getting fussy!

And for peace of mind, there's security all around the park.

But like every place, it has its shortcomings.

The restroom cleanliness could use some improvement.

Nevertheless, I've been visiting this place since 2000, and it never fails to impress me.

A day at Lake Welch Beach always feels like a vacation, even when it's just some miles away from home.

Conquer the Trails of Dater Mountain Nature Park

Peak of Dater Mountain Nature Park
LittleKitty / Shutterstock.com

Whenever life in the city gets too hectic, I escape to my sanctuary, the Dater Mountain Nature Park.

You see, this isn't just an ordinary park. Covering a vast space, Dater Mountain boasts an impressive 31 lakes, two beautiful beaches, over 200 miles of trails to explore, and two campgrounds.

Every visit feels like a new adventure. One of my favorite trails is the Claudius Smith Den trail.

This track is never crowded and it offers a fantastic workout if you choose to hike it clockwise. If you prefer an easier route, counter-clockwise is the way to go.

But make sure you stop by the Den, it gives you a feeling of accomplishment, and the view is simply rewarding.

I also enjoy mixing up the trails. Starting with a normal walk, the intensity gradually increases, making the journey more exhilarating.

I often start by the lake and then ascend toward the peak via the elevation trail.

Trail with foliage at Dater Mountain Nature Park
LittleKitty / Shutterstock.com

Coming down on the white and blue trail can be a bit challenging as there are some rocky parts where you'll need to use your hands.

But don't worry, the park management has done a splendid job with the trail markings.

Although there may be moments when you feel lost, you'll always find the trail signs to guide you.

Dater Mountain Nature Park also offers an array of activities, from camping to fishing. It's the perfect place to disconnect without having to travel far.

It's so vast that even after 20 years of exploring, I still discover new corners.

The views are diverse, too, from the majestic Hudson to eerie caves and even old abandoned iron mines.

Creek at Dater Mountain Nature Park
LittleKitty / Shutterstock.com

Unearth the Hidden Artistry at Tweed Tunnels

Every summer, as the sun spills over the lush greenery of our town, I find myself drawn to the Tweed Tunnels.

They are a stone's throw away from my home and have become my personal sanctuary amidst the urban chaos.

With each visit, I am reminded of the importance of carrying boots!

The paths leading to this hotspot are often overrun by wild plants and untrimmed grass.

They sure add to the rustic charm, but they also present a bit of a challenge.

Yet, the slight hardship does not compare to the delightful surprise that awaits once I reach the tunnels - an expansive canvas of graffiti and art.

The abandoned nature of the Tweed Tunnels only adds to the allure.

The eerie silence, interrupted only by the echoes of my steps, amplifies the beauty of the graffiti that adorns the walls, adding an eccentric touch to the place.

It's true; the place does hold a lot of history.

Stories whispered by the winds, etched in stone by artists over the years, waiting to be uncovered and appreciated.

Each time I stumble upon a new artwork or an 'Easter egg,' it feels like discovering a small hidden gem.

The Tweed Tunnels are more than just an abandoned place; they are our local art gallery, a photographer's paradise, and a historian's dream.

Despite its slightly spooky ambiance, it has a unique beauty that keeps me and many others coming back season after season.

Experience the Paranormal at Letchworth Village

A building at Letchworth Village
littlenySTOCK / Shutterstock.com

Sometimes, the silence in the woods surrounding Letchworth Village speaks louder than any bustling city street.

I stroll along its abandoned pathways often, lost amidst the shadowy specters of the past.

Vandalism is rampant here, the footprint of the living on the remains of the dead.

You can see it in the broken windows, the graffiti-scarred walls, the decaying buildings crumbling towards inevitable ruin.

The history of this place is as bleak as the winter chill that bites through your coat, a testament to human cruelty and neglect.

During the day, my explorations are often accompanied by a cacophony of rustling leaves and the occasional deer sighting.

I've even seen a group of them once, resting near what seemed to be an old swing set.

It was a moment of unexpected serenity, a precious whisper of life amidst the decay.

But as daylight wanes and shadows grow longer, the atmosphere changes. The buildings, now just shells of their former selves, seem to take on a life of their own.

There's an old hospital that stands out from the rest.

Ruins at Letchworth Village
Doug Kerr from Albany, NY, United States, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Its skeletal frame looms high, the echoing halls and abandoned wards filled with the silent screams of the tortured souls who once resided here.

I find it hard to shake off the chill that crawls up my spine whenever I walk its deserted corridors, the air heavy with an unsettling dread.

It's enough to make your hair stand on end, enough to make you believe the whispers about this place being haunted.

The main building is another story. I've dared to venture into its eerie depths only a few times.

Each time, I've felt a strange energy, a sense of being watched, of not being alone. Paranormal experiences, some call it.

It's not something I can explain, but it's enough to make me tread carefully, always respectful of the spirits that may still linger here.

Letchworth Village has been a part of my life for quite some time now, a grim reminder of the past that cannot be forgotten.

If you ever decide to visit, remember to be respectful.

Because this isn't just an abandoned institution; it's a monument to the suffering of those who were once confined within its walls.

Boys dormitory at Letchworth Village
GeekOnTheWing, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Discover the History that Lies in Blauvelt State Park

Ah, the untamed beauty of Blauvelt State Park.

With 590 acres of lush forest and meandering hiking trails, it's a treasure right in our backyard.

It's hard to believe this slice of serenity lies beside the bustling freeway.

One of my favorite pastimes is uncovering the park's hidden secrets.

To the untrained eye, it may look like an ordinary forest.

But to those with an adventurous spirit, it's a maze filled with "secret tunnels" and hidden structures, dating back to the early 1900s.

There's an entire network of them.

It's like stepping into a time capsule, a testament to our local history.

I often embark on my explorations from the park's entrance at Greenwood and 303.

The parking lot is compact, fitting around 6-7 cars.

My journey generally starts on the paved path, which soon gives way to a dirt trail.

It gets a bit narrow in places and can be challenging, but that's part of the adventure.

If hiking isn't quite your thing, the park also offers a fantastic bike path.

It's generally better maintained than the walking trail and provides a smoother ride.

Sure, you might encounter a few rocky patches, but you can easily navigate around them.

The best part about these trails? The art.

The park is a living canvas, adorned with fascinating street art and graffiti.

It adds a vibrant touch to the otherwise rustic surroundings.

The one thing I've learned about Blauvelt State Park? Keep your eyes open.

You never know when you might stumble upon a collapsed tunnel or another hidden gem.

The park is more than just trees, it's a living, breathing testament to our local history.

And I wouldn't trade being able to explore it for anything in the world.

Go Wine Tasting at Torne Valley Vineyard

Daytime view of Torne Valley Vineyard
JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ, M.D., CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Every so often, I find myself craving a little time away from the hustle and bustle, and when that happens, there's no place like Torne Valley Vineyard.

It's like stepping into another world, one that's filled with the distinct aroma of ripening grapes and the tantalizing scent of savory foods.

As soon as you step foot on the property, you're greeted by rows of lush vineyards, a beautiful setting that immediately puts your mind at ease.

But, the real magic happens when you actually step inside.

The wine tasting is an experience unto itself.

The vineyard's beautiful patio area is the perfect backdrop for a delightful afternoon filled with music, great food, and of course, fantastic wine.

Their menu boasts an array of delicious appetizers.

I'm particularly fond of their chicken wings and chicken dumplings.

You'd think a vineyard might focus only on their wine, but their food is just as amazing.

I'm a regular here, and each time I visit, I make sure to try out their sangrias.

It's a refreshing drink that compliments hearty meals perfectly.

What sets Torne Valley Vineyard apart, though, is its service.

The staff is always friendly, and the owner herself often mingles with the customers, which adds a personal touch to the whole experience.

It's about a 2-hour drive from the city, but the scenic journey, coupled with the fantastic experience at the vineyard, makes every trip worth it.

On a perfect day, with the sun shining bright and a cool breeze sweeping across the vineyard, there truly is no better place to be.

Final Thoughts

In my years living in Rockland County, New York, I've found that there's never a shortage of things to do.

From the peaceful tranquility offered by Pine Meadow Lake to the excitement of the Autobahn Indoor Speedway, there's an activity for every interest and age group.

The county's vineyards and local produce also provide a tempting array of options for those with a taste for fine wines and fresh ingredients. Torne Valley Vineyard, in particular, is a must-visit for wine enthusiasts.

When I reflect on my time spent in Rockland County, it's clear to me that this is a place where you can not only enjoy a rich array of activities but also thrive in a strong sense of community.

Spotted a mistake, have some feedback, or just want to chat with our editorial team? Click here to get in touch.
Find out more about Travel Lens and read our editorial guidelines here.