Heading to Ardsley by train, then onward via the bicycle
16.5 miles total
13.5 miles on EST
I parked my car at Croton on the Hudson train station and used the train to get to Ardsley. Note: Metro-North bike pass required on the train. I later returned to the train riding off-trail 3 miles to the Scarborough train station on Rt.9 (I would not recommend this approach, hazardous off-trail riding).
Day two of my Hudson River Ride started at the Croton on Hudson train station, arriving in time to purchase a ticket to Ardsley and Metro-North bike permit. I was thrilled that the drive from East Hampton had gone smoothly. For this leg of the trip, it seemed appropriate to travel to the starting point by rail and ride north back to my truck. So I caught the 8:59 local which had me in Ardsley on Hudson at 9:15. Metro North’s Hudson line features fantastic views of the Hudson River, with clear blue skies this morning views of New York’s impressive new Mario Cuomo bridge were spectacular.
There’s a hill that rises from Ardsley’s parking lot abruptly, it got my heart pumping right out of the gate, followed by a 10-minute ride through side streets that settled me in for a comfortable day of riding.
Once on the trail, I was pleased to see that most of the snow in the area I’d completed the week before, had melted. Again I was taken by the well-maintained surfaces and the natural setting that makes riding in this trail a pleasure.
After about half an hour, I rode under a bridge and the trail took an abrupt left, it looked like the trail was closed so I took a right and peddled hard uphill to a road that parallels the trail, looking down on it I realized the trail didn’t end it was just covered by a snowdrift that covered it for about 250 yards. So, mandatory dismount. I walked the bike until the snow cleared. From that point in, over the next 6 miles I hit several snowy patches, by maintaining speed and constant peddling I didn’t find it necessary to dismount again.
The trail transitions to a road as it enters Elmsford where after passing a cluster of buildings it opens up onto a busy street. I turned right onto the sidewalk, crossed the traffic at the light following well-marked County Trail North signs, and promptly missed the next turn. It would have helped to check my map at this point. About a mile up the road, a quick left onto Warehouse lane took me back to the trail without consequence.
Another 4 miles north, a few more snowy patches, and I came to a tunnel that rt.117 crossed over. This is where the Empire State trail ended for me today, I took the left uphill to a parking area, continued on for another half mile to rt. 448 and took a left at the light and rode on for another mile to Stone Barns in the Roosevelt State Park.
Just like a few spots that I discovered on day one, the Stone barns facility is seasonal, it’s a farm and an award-winning agricultural center with several top-of-the-line foodservice offerings which open in April, too bad. Regardless, a hike around the facility in March is better than riding by. I enjoyed watching a group of young interns working in a field near the entrance, watching a team of dogs herd a flock of sheep on a pasture behind the barns, and of course, the Hudson River view from the top of the property is spectacular, worth the extra ride on its own.
Riding back to the truck called for a left turn onto rt.117. I rode with relatively fast-moving traffic on a wide shoulder. Upon arriving at the Ossining exit, I rode down off the main road and headed north on rt.9. This was a much narrower road with a hard curbed edge and the cars and trucks were traveling at about 40 miles per hour, not optimal for the mile-long stretch but worth the shortcut. After passing the impressive Sleepy Hollow Country Club I started to see signs for the Scarborough train station, a riverside depot that my morning train had stopped at 6 hours earlier.
My downhill ride toward the Hudson River was short and steep, at the end it opened up to a large riverfront parking lot. I arrived in time to buy a $3 train ticket then sit for 40 minutes on the deserted train platform in the afternoon sun made bright as it reflected off the river, napping at the edge of the Manhattan-bound platform.
Hungry after my 17-mile ride I returned to Elmsford for dinner at a spot that Scott had suggested at L’inizio the week before. I retraced my steps to the intersection where I first entered the village and, just around the corner sits Casaletto Restaurant. I found the service on point and my Cesar salad and linguini with white clam sauce to be delicious.