On a recent weekend, Josh had one day off of work, and since one day isn't long enough to do anything too crazy, we thought we would go out somewhere and go for a hike. As the day approached though, the forecast said it was going to be in the mid 90s on that day. Maybe I'm a wuss but thats just too hot to hike in my opinion. So we revamped our plans and decided to go to Bear Mountain.
Bear Mountain State Park is on the Hudson River, a surprisingly short distance from Manhattan and Jersey City. It took us about 45 minutes to get there.There is hiking, fishing, paddle boating, swimming and even a museum and zoo. On the outskirts of the park are Fort Montgomery and Iona Bird Sanctuary. This is the view of the Hudson and Sanctuary and Fort (bottom photo) on the way up to the Park. Breathtaking.
When we arrived, we were shocked at the amount of vehicles. We actually had to walk about 20 minutes to even get to the main part of the park because we had to park so far away. We noticed a lot of busses and a large population of Latinos. I assumed it was because it was Puerto Rico Day but apparently inner city people are bussed out to get out of the city every Saturday. It looked like a great time, with big picnics and pot lucks, music and even a church service in Spanish. We headed in to the Bear Mountain Inn, a massive and beautiful building with guest rooms and I think the largest restaurant area I have ever seen. We decided to grab brunch and had no idea what we were in for.
The brunch buffet was one huge room just full of pretty much every food haha. It even had ice sculptures. There was normal brunch food; bacon, sausage, potatoes, scrambled eggs, donuts, pastries, fruit as well as a waffle bar and omelette bar. Then there was a whole seafood section with Oysters and shrimp. there was a station with prime rib and a ham and some more buffet bar with a variety of chicken, fish, beef and potato dishes and then of course a dessert station with Canollis, carrot cake, cheese cake, and cream puffs to name a few. Not only was this buffet massive, everything was delicious and hot and cooked perfectly. I think I had 4 plates!
After we stuffed ourselves to the gills, we thought it would be a good idea to go back out in the heat and take a walk. The path around the lake is actually paved and very nice. We didn't have to go very far and we ran out of people and it was lovely and quiet. The lake is absolutely gorgeous. With a treed mountain, lots of rocks and calm water.
There is a huge field as well that has a carousel and was filled with kids playing al sorts of different sports, this is such a great place for families to spend the afternoon.
And the drive home isn't bad either! Bear Mountain is a great place and quite a little gem right outside the city. I would say though that if you can go on a week day or a bit early or late in the season it might not be so crazy.