Fall in Poughkeepsie, NY means beautiful 70 degree-days, no more humidity and weekends full of clear skies; however, many Marist students find themselves at a loss for how to utilize this gorgeous weather. What these students have yet to discover is the nearby Minnewaska State Park Preserve and the quaint town of New Paltz, NY, which offers students an affordable place to spend their days all year round.
The Minnewaska State Park Preserve is located in New Paltz, NY and consists of mountains, streams, waterfalls, lakes, and hiking paths that stretch on for miles. Putting aside its natural beauty, people all over New York State are attracted to Minnewaska due to the activities its visitors can enjoy no matter what the weather is outside. The scenic views at Minnewaska can be enjoyed all year long, but with that from spring to fall, people can go to Minnewaska to bike, hike, picnic, rock climb, scuba-dive or horseback ride, and in the winter trails open for cross-country skiing.
From season to season, Minnewaska is constantly changing. As the climate changes, the entire look of the park changes, from lush greens in the summer, to rustic fallen leaves in the fall, to frozen streams and snow-covered mountains in the winter. And with that, the visitors of the park change, from those who bring their scuba-diving gear to explore the water in the 90 degree summer months, to those who come to hike and take in the view as the weather cools, to the snow-bunnies who come to ski the slopes that the natural layout of Minnewaska provides. HikingWebsite.com explains that for hiking there is something called the “two-season” which begins in late spring and goes until early fall, at which point the weather is perfect for hiking trails such as the ones that can be found at Minnewaska.
Annie Oswald, a student at Siena College and an avid hiker, said of hiking in the fall season, “The benefit is that you can capture the dramatic change of colors in the landscape and the weather makes the adventure that much more enjoyable.”
What makes Minnewaska such a great resource for college students is that unlike most attractions, it’s cheap. The only admission fee that Minnewaska charges is $8 per car to park and the park provides low costs to partake in amenities such as skiing and scuba diving, as listed on the Minnewaska State Park website.
In a news release from Minnewaska State Park Preserve, the park invites volunteers to partake in a program to help improve trail conditions at the park and learn about basic trail maintenance from experienced trail keepers on September 15 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. (contact 845-255-0752 for information/pre-registration). The program will allow for paritcipants to learn while also taking in the environment at Minnewaska.
A frequent visitor of the Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Michael Gosselin, said of visiting the park in the fall, “This is my favorite time to come. If you climb to the top you look down and see all of the trees below you for miles, it’s pretty awesome.”
For the less nature-oriented person, the New Paltz town has plenty to offer its visitors. The quiet town surrounded by mountains and fall foliage, is filled with small boutiques and restaurants of different varieties. The fall season attracts many to New Paltz as they host several events which include food vendors and live music, which people can learn more about by visiting New Paltz’s website.
Although Minnewaska and the New Paltz town may be an untapped resource for many Marist students, SUNY New Paltz students are well aware of the abundance of beauty surrounding them. Shannon Fabiani, a senior at SUNY New Paltz, said, “I came to New Paltz and fell in love; the town, the friendliness of the people, the accepting and beautiful environment. It’s perfect and there’s always something to do. My favorite thing is riding my bike down the rail trail it’s relaxing and so serene.”
So for the students who find themselves waking up on a Saturday morning, looking out the window admiring the picturesque weather, go out and enjoy the day by exploring Minnewaska State Park and the town of New Paltz. A naturally beautiful environment surrounds students at Marist College and fall provides the perfect climate to go out and explore it.