Kate and I rode our Honda CBR's up to the Hudson Highlands (i.e. Bear Mountain area) the weekend of Aug 23/24 2008. Here's a quick summary of the trip.
We hit the road about 8:30 AM Saturday. The bikes got over 50MPG, even going 65 up the G.S. Parkway, N.J. Turnpike, and Palisades Parkway.
After lunch at a diner in Stony Point, NY, we headed north-west via some of the "less travelled" roads (route 106, Seven Lakes Parkway) to the Storm King Arts Center a sculpture park somewhat like "our own" Grounds for Sculpture near Trenton.
Storm King Arts Center sculptures are spread out enough that you'll want to take the free tram ride around the property to see some of the larger works, before you eventually visit the smaller works that are clustered about the main building. SKAC is worth at least a couple of hours, more if you really dig sculpture.
Admission was $10 per adult, no charge for parking, and the lots are gravel, but more like packed sand, not the difficult kind of gravel.
After SKAC, we headed south west, decided to ride a scenic mountainous section of 9W south, then ride back north on 218, which is very "technical" as it rides along the cliff overlooking the Hudson to downtown Newburgh, NY. While parts of Newburgh are "struggling", the waterfront part is very nice, with what look like upscale restaurants, river cruise companies, and a wonderful mural painted on a railroad viaduct.
Our search for a motel eventually brought us to I-84 exit 7, which along with exit 6 has many chain motels and several restaurants to offer. These exits are only a few miles west of the Hudson, and are part of Newburgh township, so they all have Newburgh addresses.
Once we registered at a Motel 8, we decided to head over to Orange County Choppers, which massive new cathedral-like headquarters is a couple miles South/East of exit 6 on route 17K. Open until 9PM, it's a motorcycle shop unlike most. I've never seen so many "Stuffed Paul Tuetel" dolls in my life.
We admired the many custom bikes on display, which no matter your opinion on them as transportation, are certainly interesting art and craft.
After leaving OCC, we had dinner at a very good Asian restaurant within walking distance of the Motel 8.
Sunday morning dawned overcast, but we packed up and decided to head across the Hudson to visit Boscobel, a home built by Loyalist States Dyckman around 1800, that is on a plot of land with a fantastic view overlooking the Hudson. Boscobel has been meticulously restored, down to even containing 500 of States' original books that he bought while living in London, and some of his original silverware and dishes. The rest of the furnishings are period antiques. We took the guided tour of the house.
From Boscobel, we decided to head south and back across the Hudson to West Point. Kate and I had both toured West Point back when we were kids, and thought it might be fun to do it again. So we had a nice ride down route 9D along the Hudson, then across the Bear Mountain Bridge (considered the longest suspension bridge in the world when it was built in 1924), and north on 9W along the Hudson through Highland Falls, to West Point.
Arriving at W.P., we find that the main parking lot is full, so we park in the next lot over, where the tour busses are supposed to park, along with about a dozen cars who have already had the same idea. This turned out to be a very bad idea. We went into the museum building, bought tickets for the bus tour, and then, with 40 minutes to kill, walked across the street and had lunch at a tiny little luncheonette that offers an obscene number of variations (over 300) on hot dogs and other sausages.
After our quick lunch, we walked back across the street to find two Military Police busy writing tickets to everybody who parked in the "bus" area. Despite the fact that we got there before he got to our vehicles, they insisted we wait for them to write us up, rather than just telling us to get out of there. I won't bore you with the stupid exchange that followed, but lets just say that we got refunds for our bus tour and left there, with our bleedin' parking ticket, and headed home, fuming. Needless to say, I can't recommend a visit to West point, because if you get there and the lot is full, you're on your own finding some kind of secure parking for your bike, and the M.P.s are worse than useless.
Another two hours of fun on the various Parkways, and we got home