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Perrine's Covered Bridge

If you are traveling northbound along the New York State Thruway, you may notice a roof of a covered bridge as you cross the Wallkill River near Rifton (not far from Rosendale), just about halfway between the New Paltz and Kingston exits. Your eyes are not deceiving you, as that is the historic Perrine's Covered Bridge that you are passing. While you would have to do some backtracking along NY Route 32 or NY Route 213 if you decide to turn around in Kingston to see the bridge, there is plenty of history and scenic beauty if you decide to do so.

Perrine’s Covered Bridge is one of five covered bridges that is still standing in Ulster County. Owned and maintained by Ulster County, Perrine’s Covered Bridge was named after James Perrine, who was a son of French immigrant James Perrin and Huguenot descendant Catherine Freer. Perrine had operated a hotel and tavern starting in the 1820s on the south side of the Wallkill River at the site that subsequently was chosen for the covered brid…
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World's Largest Kaleidoscope

After hiking up and down nearby Tremper Mountain, I decided to celebrate by doing something nearby and also unique. Since I was smack dab in the middle of the Catskills in the town of Mount Tremper anyway, I decided to head up to the Emerson Resort & Spa on NY Route 28 and check out the World's Largest Kaleidoscope. I have driven past the kaleidoscope a number of times before and had wanted to check it out.

The kaleidoscope is housed in a silo that is connected to a barn built in 1860 on the former Riseley Flats farm. The silo itself is 56 feet tall and 38 feet in diameter and is connected to a group of gift shops called the Shops at Emerson. The kaleidoscope itself is part of a kaleidoscope gift shop called the Kaleidostore and it opened in 1996. It has been certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest kaleidoscope. It was designed by award winning kaleidoscope artist Charles Karadimos, with video designed by psychedelic artist Isaac Abrams and his …

Russell Brook Falls

Located deep in the woods between Roscoe and Downsville, Russell Brook Falls is a magnificent waterfall in the western Catskills. You can access the trail to the waterfall from the Mud Pond and Trout Pond Hiking Trail parking lot, via the narrow and twisty Russell Brook Road, and before then, you can take Morton Hill Road from New York State Route 206.



Once you start hiking, it is only about a quarter mile walk to the falls. You would cross over a snowmobile bridge and soon after crossing, there is a herd path near the remnants of a dam at the right that will take you to the 30 foot tall lower falls. There is also an upper falls, which is about 10 feet tall. The waterfall is in a beautifully intimate environment with a cliff on one side of Russell Brook Falls. I did manage to get my feet wet with some of the photos I took, owing to the waterfall's photogenic nature. While it was a short visit to Russell Brook Falls for me, it was worth the long drive down side roads to get there.







Azure Mountain

Located in the northern Adirondacks in Franklin County, New York, the 2518 foot tall Azure Mountain contains a popular fire tower with some wonderful views. In the town of Waverly, south of the small hamlet of Santa Clara, the fire tower at Azure Mountain fire tower has stood tall since July 29, 1918.  A steep, but short one mile trail takes you to the summit and the fire tower, with rewarding views of the surrounding countryside of the Adirondacks. From the trailhead off of Blue Mountain Road to the mountain's summit, there is a 944 foot elevation gain. From the summit you can view the northern Adirondack forests, and on a clear day, you can even spot some of the distant high peaks.


Part of the Debar Mountain Wild Forest, Azure Mountain is also known locally as Blue Mountain. In 1918, the present 35 foot Aerometer galvanized steel fire tower was erected, at a cost of $530. However, by 1978, the fire tower was closed by the NYSDEC, and as a result, the lower two sets of stair rise…

Balanced Rock in North Salem, New York

The northeastern parts of Westchester County are a nice mix of rolling countryside, stately homes, equestrian centers and historic communities. It is an enjoyable area to drive around and explore, especially with it being so close to New York City. In one of these communities, North Salem, is a bit of a geologic oddity, the Balanced Rock.


The Balanced Rock is located right in the heart of North Salem, next to the Cable Barn and Union Hall. There is not much parking in the area, but I was able to park on a side street and walk a few minutes to Balanced Rock. Widely thought to be a glacial erratic, Balanced Rock is a large stone that happens to be resting on three smaller boulders. Estimated to weigh about 60 tons, the balanced rock is composed of a type of granite that is not normally found around North Salem, but may have been pushed from the Hudson Highlands by glaciers during the Ice Age. There are plenty of examples of glacial erratics, between pebbles and larger boulders like this…

Luykas Van Alen House & Ichabod Crane Schoolhouse

Just a stone's throw away from old Kinderhook lies the historic Luykas Van Alen House and the Ichabod Crane Schoolhouse. The house was built in 1737 and has numerous stories to tell. The house was the inspiration for the Van Tassel family home in Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and was used in the 1993 film "The Age of Innocence". Van Alen himself was once charged with seditious libel by the royal New York governor William Cosby, and his wife had left him, all around the same time that this home was built, so that could have been a catalyst for the construction of this lovely house. Born in 1682, Luykas Van Alen was an early settler of Columbia County, New York and had considerable wealth in his community. The house was built in a typical Dutch style of the time, with its parapet gables, classic Dutch design doors, and entrance stoops. The house three rooms with attic space and a fireplace dominating the main room, which was typical of Dut…