Lately, social media has been buzzing with Autumn travel posts leaving me wistfully longing for my favorite season ever. Since the Philippines is perpetually warm/humid in varying degrees, the concept of Autumn has been confined to the anticipation over the nearing holidays, Starbucks Christmas drinks, and longer evenings. I do not have any international travel plans soon. But I do have some fall photos to share from last year’s Autumn in New York. It would be a shame to not share these images. Perhaps the most anticipated part of my trip to the US then was to witness and experience fall foliage. Visiting these two places in New York, West Point and Bear State Mountain, was a delightful fall treat. Please do not use the photos without my permission.
West Point, New York
West Point is achingly beautiful. It is the oldest continuously occupied military post in the United States and houses the United States Military Academy. Yes, it’s also a beautiful college campus. To get there, we drove up from Manhattan to witness fantastic foliage on our way. Deep inside, I was beyond thrilled that I finally get to see the sea of reds, golds, and greens on both sides of the road.
Arriving at West Point itself was like scenes from Hallmark movies. There were sprawling hills and fields exuding such warmth in color despite the very cold weather. You can also book one of the many tours ahead to learn more about the place. We took the one-hour and fifteen-minute tour which introduces us to this stunning historical place.
The tour is lovely and highly recommended. You are able to go around the academy aboard a bus, stop at certain points, and have a wonderful guide to explain the beginning of West Point in 1778 during the Revolutionary War to the current United States Military Academy. There were lots of interesting facts, including those about the campus itself. There is a wealth of knowledge that you can acquire just from the basic tour itself. Make sure to bring your passport with visa if you’re a foreign tourist. For obvious reasons, they are also quite strict with security.
The Tour makes stops at the Cadet Chapel (the largest of the five chapels in the area), Trophy Point, Battle Monument and the Plain. The buildings are gorgeous and hold so much historical significance. We were able to learn more about the kind of campus it is and even witnessed parachute training by the cadets in the beautiful fields. Since the number of tours and people are limited, the area does not feel touristy at all. It feels so calm and serene that there feels like an air of reverence within the area.
West Point has the most stunning views of the Hudson River. The unique S-curve (you can somehow see in the second photo below) in the Hudson River made it a fortified site during the Revolutionary War and had a vital role in America’s defenses. Washington even called it “The Key to the Continent.” Our guide shared stories which contributed to what West Point is now to the US involving the notable Jefferson, Eisenhower, Thayer, McArthur, etc.
The grounds are beautifully kept and adorned with remnants of the Revolutionary war such as the captured cannons, the great West Point chain, monuments, barracks, and statues. It was such a great day to go around and enjoy the scenery. We ended the tour by visiting the West Point Museum, which is also very well-maintained and stores other relics, weaponry, and photos from the Revolutionary War to the Civil War. It was honestly a perfect fall experience.
Bear State Mountain, New York
On another perfect fall weekend (a lot warmer this time around), we headed to Bear State Mountain Park, which is a little more than an hour away from Manhattan. This was during the latter part of our trip and the sight of golden trees in the rugged mountains still enthralled me. The Park is huge and features several fields for sports and recreation, picnic groves, a beautiful lake where you can even fish, Museums, hiking/biking trails, an outdoor rink, and even a Merry-Go-Round featuring their native animals. It’s also a great spot to have a picnic and see some foliage.
As we didn’t have time to stay longer and actually take on a hike (shame, really), we did take a few lovely photos by the lakeside. I have always wanted to have a photo by the lake with beautiful mountains on the other side. (Hence, those beautiful Canadian lakes are always on my bucket list!) This was the kind of park I wish the Philippines had. The abundance of beautiful public places abroad is always something I envied. There is so much to do and so much to see in this area. I wish we could have gone around more or spent more time here. But for now, I am treasuring these photos that encapsulate those perfect fall experiences.
Image Credits: Pearl Margaret C. Ganzon