Assemblymember Didi Barrett Encourages New Yorkers to Experience Fall in the Hudson Valley

Here in New York State, fall is our season to glow. With landscapes that come to life in vibrant colors and a broad range of outdoor activities to enjoy before winter settles in, this is prime time to get out and explore the Hudson Valley.

Most apples are harvested in the autumn, which makes apple picking a perfect fall family outing. Firstly, you can grab a basket and pick your own from a diverse range of varieties and take them home to enjoy in an equally diverse variety of ways -- munching raw, baked, pies, applesauce, even craft projects. In addition, many apple orchards offer other fun activities that include corn mazes, farmers markets, hayrides and more.

While many apple farms happily become tourist destinations this time of year, it’s important to realize that the apple industry is also a critical piece of our local and state economy. Producing an average of 29.5 million bushels per year and bringing in $185 million annually, New York is the second largest apple producer in the country, with more than 650 apple farms. Most of these are family owned farms, as is the case in Columbia and Dutchess -- both top apple-producing counties -- and the money spent at these local farms is largely reinvested right here in our own communities.

This year’s state budget significantly supported the local apple industry in providing a critical $1 million to the New York State Apple Growers Association, which will help market and promote our locally-grown apples. Also awaiting the governor’s approval is legislation that will create a license for apple farm cideries, thereby supporting the production and distribution of New York State cider (a.8047).

The New York Apple Association (NYAA) reports that 2013’s apple crop is one of the best ones in years both is taste and quantity due to a summer of sun, rain, and heat that produced near-perfect growing conditions. This year’s apple crop is expected to exceed 30 million bushels this fall. Which is even more reason to get out in the next few weeks to enjoy time with your friends and family while supporting essential, hard-working, local businesses. To find apple growers and orchards near you, or for more information on apple varieties, recipes, a history of New York State apples and more, visit

Fall in the Hudson Valley also notably brings the gorgeous changing leaves. Unlike the rest of the country, the northeast has a great variety of broad-leaved trees, which help give the region’s foliage a spectacular color range. New York State is home to as many acres of trees as the rest of the northeast combined. Beautiful vistas with fall colors are on display on just about every country road and Hudson River shoreline in Dutchess and Columbia counties, but some notable spots are:

  • DeLaVergne Hill in Amenia on Route 44 East;
  • Clermont State Historic Site in Germantown off Route 9G;
  • Olana State Historic Site in Hudson on Route 9G; and
  • Innisfree Garden in Millbrook, but act fast, the garden closes October 20. For information on hours and the garden visit

Additionally, Hudson Valley state and local parks are a wonderful place to catch the last bits of gorgeous weather, while taking in the beautiful scenery. Parks, including Lake Taghkanic State Park, Harrier Hill Park, Catamount Adventure Park, Clarence Fahnestock State Park, Innisfree Garden, James Baird State Park and Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park offer hiking, camping, fishing, picnicking and bike riding. For more information, visit

A great time can be had at one of the many fall festivals that offer something to appeal to a range of interests. Just a few include:

  • 19th annual ArtsWalk in Hudson and surrounding areas, held Sept. 21 - Oct. 14, featuring literary and music events (;
  • Legends of Candlelight Spook Tours in Germantown, held Oct. 18-19 and 25-26, featuring candlelight tours of the museum and grounds and ghosts and spooks of the museum’s history (;
  • New York State Sheep and Wool Family Festival at Dutchess County Fairgrounds, held Oct. 19-20, featuring wool and fiber artists, sheep and shearing demonstrations, dog herding, food and wine tasting and a farmers market (
  • FilmColumbia Festival October 22 – 27 at the Crandell Theater and the Morris Memorial Community Center in Chatham. More information can be found by visiting

This fall, get out and explore our beautiful Hudson Valley. Pick apples, visit our parks or take your family out to one of the area’s fall festivals. As always, if you have questions about these fall events or any community issue, don’t hesitate to email or call my office in Poughkeepsie at 845-454-1703 or in Hudson at 518-828-1961.