Red Hook, Dutchess County (120 acres)—Created in the 1840s and once part of neighboring estates, Poets' Walk is a superb example of Romantic landscape design. It features a series of outdoor "rooms," each intended to elicit a distinct emotional reaction — elation, foreboding, etc. Among the writers who enjoyed traversing these rolling meadows and forests (and hence gave name to today's park) was Washington Irving. It's said he came up with the idea for "Rip Van Winkle" here while gazing at the distant but very prominent Catskill Mountains, site of his protagonist's decades-long sleep.
Whether admired from the rustic Overlook Pavilion or along the windswept meadow trail, the views remain breathtaking, with the wall of blue-green peaks serving as a backdrop for the majestic Hudson River. Another trail follows an old farm road through the woods, skirting a dramatic ravine and crossing a stone bridge. Wherever you roam, bring binoculars — the woods and fields are full of wildlife. And to attract even more creatures, Scenic Hudson has implemented a rotational mowing regime to increase the diversity of grass species favorable for birds, butterflies, bees and beetles.
Directions to Poets' Walk Park
From the South:
From the North:
From the West: