Riding the Aqueduct Trail

Easter Sunday was the kind of day you dream about all winter, when nature celebrates the return of warmth with birdsong and budding trees, and the exuberant yellow of forsythia bushes everywhere. Grace had just returned from visiting her grandparents in North Carolina and after a long Amtrak trip, we were both anxious to get outside. Grace in particular was eager to drag her bike out of storage, where it had grown dusty with disuse.

We picked up the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail (www.aqueduct.org) where Cedar meets Main in Dobbs Ferry. Popular with joggers, dog walkers and cyclists, the Aqueduct Trail runs for over 26 miles from Van Cortlandt Park at the Yonkers/Bronx border north to the Croton Dam, following the historic aqueduct that once brought precious water to New York City. The path is ever changing: wide and gravelly, narrow and smooth with packed dirt, pockmarked with small stones and scarred with tree roots. The scenery is often surprising as well: patches of deep woods opening to suburban back yards, grand homes, tennis courts and the parking lots of small towns. On the ride to Tarrytown alone, you will cross the campus of Mercy College and Main Street in Irvington before arriving at
Lyndhurst, a national historic site overlooking the Hudson River.

Lyndhurst (www.lyndhurst.org) is a wonderful place to take a break. On Easter Sunday, we cycled up to the front door of this spectacular gothic-style mansion and peered in the windows from the veranda. Tours are available, but it’s also nice to just walk around the 67 acres of grounds, where massive curling trees straight out of Narnia or the Land of Oz beckon young would-be climbers. Alas, there is a sign prohibiting tree climbing, so we dutifully admired the low and twisted branches from the ground.

Grace and I have also cycled the South County Trail, which you can access from Lawrence Street in Dobbs Ferry, just east of the Saw Mill River Parkway, among other points. The advantage of this trail is that it’s paved and relatively smooth. A nice stopping point on this ride is the duck pond at V.E. Macy Park. The disadvantage is that, for at least the stretch we’ve done, the traffic on the Saw Mill is never completely out of sight or earshot. For more information on this and other county trails, visit http://www.westchester.gov.

As I’ve mentioned in previous postings, there’s so much to do in Westchester County (see below for a highly subjective listing), but Grace and I now have a goal: she wants to ride all the way to the end of the Aqueduct Trail in Croton. So, pump up your tires and dust off your helmets and join us on the trails!

Beczak Environmental Education Center, Yonkers (www.beczak.org)
April 24
Earth Day at Beczak
Join Beczak’s staff in giving back to the earth.
Snacks and gloves provided.
Folk/bluegrass concert at 11:00 AM.
10:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Greenburgh Nature Center, Scarsdale (greenburghnaturecenter.org)
Sunday, April 18, 1:00 – 3:30 PM – EARTH DAY CELEBRATION
It’s the 40th anniversary of Earth Day! Show your appreciation of the natural world by joining us for a fun, earth-friendly afternoon as we spruce up our grounds, prepare our garden beds, clear our trails, and more. Then learn about sustainability practices from our naturalist staff. Free visit to our Animal Museum included for all Earth Day volunteers. Groups welcome but please pre-register. Free.

Westchester County Parks
4/17/10
EARTH DAY SHORE CLEAN-UP
Details: You can make a difference by pitching in to keep our shorelines free of trash. Work gloves and trash bags provided. Refreshments served. Meet at the nature center.
Hours: Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: Free

Location: Croton Point Nature Center
Croton Point Park
Croton-on-Hudson, NY

BIRDS OF PREY PROGRAM
Details: Meet master falconer James Eyring from the Pace University Environmental Center. James will introduce you to his feathered friends while you learn all about these amazing birds.
Hours: Saturday 1 p.m.
Cost: Free

Location: Lenoir Preserve
Dudley Street
Yonkers, NY 10701

For additional information: (914) 968-5851

4/24/10
FIRST SPRING MIGRATION BIRD WALK
Details: This is the first in a series of early morning bird walks on alternate Saturdays and Sundays during the spring migration. Birds tend to arrive in an area on almost the same date each year depending on their species. Bring binoculars and watch the birds as they come back from points south.
Hours: Saturday 7:30 a.m.
Cost: Free

Location: Marshlands Conservancy
Route 1
Rye, NY 10580

For additional information: (914) 835-4466

4/24/10
SPRING ADVENTURES FOR KIDS: ARROWHEADS FLINT-KNAPPING WORKSHOP
Details: Learn to transform lumps of stone into elegant Native American tools in the Lenape Lifeways tradition. Tools and protective gear provided.
Hours: Saturday 1 p.m.
Cost: Free

Location: Croton Point Nature Center
Croton Point Park
Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520

For additional information: (914) 862-5792

4/24/10
HOW TO THINK LIKE A TRACKER
Details: Tracking skills open up the world of nature like nothing else. Learn to see animal tracks and clues as we investigate nearby fields and forests. Discover how the landscape influences animals and how animals impact the land. Note: This ia an intermediate level program. For ages 12 and up.
Hours: Saturday 1 p.m.
Cost: Free

Location: Read Sanctuary
Playland Park
Playland Parkway
Rye, NY 10580

For additional information: (914) 967-8720

4/24/10
I DO, I DO, I DO BELIEVE IN FAIRIES
Details: Let nature be your guide. Join the naturalist for an amazing afternoon of fairy houses. This fun-filled program will allow children to explore their imagination and creativity while building their own unique fairy homes.
Hours: Saturday 2 p.m.
Cost: Free

Location: Lenoir Preserve
Dudley Street
Yonkers, NY 10701

For additional information: (914) 968-5851

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  1. Pingback: Riding the Aqueduct Trail « New York Outdoors Blog

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