As 5,500 undergraduates have settled in their respective dorm rooms, apartments, and houses they again begin to explore the surrounding area in search of entertainment and social events. With every changing season, the town of Poughkeepsie offers different attractions and charms for both its permanent citizens and the seasonal Marist students. As summer quickly comes to a close and autumn approaches, one of the gems of the Hudson Valley, standing 212 feet tall and about 1.3 miles long, is prepared to welcome a swarm of visitors.
Since its opening in October of 2009 the Walkway Over the Hudson has gained national attention because of the breathtaking views it provides its guests. As the cool fall weather touches down in Poughkeepsie, the Walkway staff is getting ready for the crowds that will come in search of the terrific views.
When asked if the fairer temperatures bring an increase in attendance to the Walkway, Ellen Henneberry, Development Manager for Walkway Over the Hudson said, “Absolutely. There is no doubt about it.” Statistics show that this is most definitely the case. Henneberry revealed that in July of 2012, 48,693 people visited the pedestrian bridge. However, in October of the same year 105,501 visitors came to enjoy the fall weather and scenery. On an average October Saturday, the Walkway boasts an attendance of nearly 10,000 people.
In a statement, Walkway Over the Hudson Executive Director Elizabeth Waldstein-Hart said, “We see huge increases in visitors to the Walkway in the fall as people come to see the beautiful fall foliage. To be surrounded by these astounding colors in the Greater Walkway Region 212 feet above the Hudson River is a sensation not to miss!”
Along with the very telling statistics, both citizens of Poughkeepsie and Marist students agree that there is no better time to visit the Walkway than the fall. Long-time Fairview Avenue resident Donna Erts echoed this sentiment. She said, “When the humidity of summer breaks and the leaves begin to change color, heading over to the bridge is a great way to spend an afternoon. To have a bird’s eye view of such a great looking area is something we feel lucky to have so nearby.” With the entrance to the bridge being within walking distance of much of the community, it is not surprising that so many take advantage.
Violet Avenue resident Rob Grbic also expressed his gratitude for the opportunity that the Walkway provides. “Not many towns or communities in the entire country have a gem like the Walkway Over the Hudson. It’s one of those things where once you get up there and look around, you really appreciate that something this cool is kind of in your own backyard,” he said. He continued, “I’m glad that it’s getting the attention it deserves. The view of the all the trees lining the river in the fall months is pretty awesome.”
For Marist Students, the bridge is a great way to get out of a crowded dorm room or stuffy apartment. If boredom begins to set in, there is a resource just down the road from the Poughkeepsie campus. Undergraduate student Tyler Hub said, “It’s a great place to just go for a walk and kill some time. I also like to go for a run across the bridge once the weather changes. Being that high up in August and September is sometimes tough when you’re exercising, but during the fall it’s perfect. I really enjoy it.”
Whether it be to snap photos of the bright colored leaves, to kill some time before heading to class, or to get a scenic workout in, many in Poughkeepsie can agree that the Walkway Over the Hudson is a landmark that they are proud to visit.