Enjoy the leaves along the Hudson River

No matter where you go in the Hudson Valley, the fall foliage is spectacular. In every village, red maples and golden oaks will line paths along the rivers and reflect in the streams.

White Plains, N.Y., has long been a commuter town for those who want to escape New York City’s urban trappings for open space and close proximity to the majestic lower Hudson River Valley.

Located 32 minutes from Manhattan’s Grand Central Station — just two stops on a Metro North train — the city of White Plains serves as the seat of Westchester County. With its tall office complexes, historic municipal buildings and upscale shopping malls, it may appear more suburban outpost than travel destination. Don’t be fooled.

Luxury at great value

With weekend rates starting at $199 per night, the Ritz-Carlton, White Plains is my new hidden gem for staying near New York City.

Within a five-minute walk of the Metro North train station, the 146-room hotel features all of the luxury service and amenities that the brand is known for.

Classic guest rooms feature a king bed or two double beds, along with thoughtful luxury amenities such as Frette linens, 42-inch flat-screen TVs and DVD players, wireless Internet access and iPod docking stations. All rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows with views of downtown White Plains or the leafy hills that face New York City.

The hotel’s 10,000-square-foot spa, which features 11 treatment rooms, offers a wide range of services, from traditional massages and classic manicures and pedicures to all-day spa treatments.

Adjacent to the spa is a large, modern fitness center decked out with the latest and greatest cardio equipment and free weights — and, best of all, guests can take advantage of a large indoor rooftop swimming pool.

Leaf peeping through the Lower Hudson River Valley

Aside from its convenient access to New York City, White Plains — located four miles east of the Hudson River — is ideally situated near several places where you can enjoy the change in colors this fall.

In nearby Cross River, the 4,315-acre Ward Pound Ridge Reservation is the county’s largest park. With its varied terrain and landscapes, the park features miles of wooded trails.

In Sleepy Hollow, visitors to 18-acre Kingsland Point Park can access historic Tarrytown Lighthouse.

At Rockefeller State Park Preserve in Tarrytown, visitors can explore the scenic paths winding through wetlands, woodlands, meadows, fields, rivers and lakes. The park also includes the first triple arch bridge built in the U.S., as well as Rockwood Hall, once the 220-room home of William Rockefeller.

In Purchase, 10 minutes west of White Plains, is the Donald M. Kendall Sculpture Gardens. Located on 140 acres of the PepsiCo Inc. corporate headquarters, the monumental sculpture garden — which is free and open to the public — features more than 45 monumental works by major sculptors, such as Claes Oldenberg, Louise Nevelson, Alexander Calder, Auguste Rodin, Henri Laurens, Henry Moore, Alberto Giacometti and Arnaldo Pomodoro.

Not far from White Plains, the Monteverde at Oldstone Manor is a beautifully restored mansion with sweeping lawns — a great place to relax and enjoy a great view. The manor’s restaurant — known for its menu — also features expansive views of the Hudson River and Bear Mountain foliage.

If you go

White Plains, N.Y.

WHERE TO STAY
Ritz-Carlton, Westchester
Three Renaissance Square, White Plains, N.Y.
(914) 946-5500
www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/Westchester

During the fall, the hotel has a two-night Fall Reconnect Package starting at $249 per night (stay includes a $100 credit). The concierge can prepare a list of Hudson Valley hot spots for apple-picking, checking out fall foliage, attending farmers markets and street festivals, and pumpkin-pie tasting.

Nearby attractions

Ward Pound Ridge Reservation
Cross River, N.Y.
Info: www.westchestergov.com/parks/parkslocations02/wardpoundridge.htm

Kingsland Point Park
Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.
Info: www.co.westchester.ny.us/Parks/Directions/Individual/Kingsland.htm

Rockefeller State Park Preserve
Tarrytown, N.Y.
Info: www.friendsrock.org

Donald M. Kendall Sculpture Gardens
700 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase, N.Y.
Open daily 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. April through October, and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. November through March. Admission and parking are free.

Monteverde at Oldstone Manor
28 Bear Mountain Bridge Road, Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.
Info: www.monteverderestaurant.com
 

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