Piermont, NY is not just a biking destination
Looking for a new walking route? Want to break out of a rut? Tired of seeing the same old sights? Then keep on reading because walking in Piermont, NY will definitely get you out of your walking routine with some great places to walk, sightsee, discover some American history, and generally enjoy a day outdoors!
As an avid walker, I like to explore different locations especially close to my home in North Jersey. I like the convenience of a route close to home and that I'm familiar with. Once I find a new route, I enjoy walking it often.
This year, my plan is to find locations further away from home, walk them and share the experience with you, so... here goes my first foray into my new website section: Walking Destinations.
Walking in Piermont, NY
After a cool wet spring, I had the pleasure of walking in Piermont, NY along the Hudson River on the warmest day of the season! I was absolutely thrilled and lucky that the day turned out like it did, sunny and warm (86° but not humid).
Piermont, NY is a quaint little town in southern New York nestled between the Palisades and the Hudson River. It's a town more noted for the number of bicycle riders that travel up from New York City than for walkers but, because of the low volume of car traffic, walking in Piermont, NY is a great way to spend several hours!
I traveled the 35 minutes to Piermont on an early Sunday morning with a general idea of what to expect as far as parking and where to walk. Google Maps is a great resource in finding walking routes in your area. The Street View feature lets you see the route in high definition images so that you can check out if there are sidewalks along the roadway, whether the road is narrow, if cars park along the road, and a host of other concerns you may have about where you plan to walk.
I absolutely love how the town of Piermont set up the parking situation! Located on Gair St. at the southern part of town just off of Piemont Rd, is lot D. this large parking lot has approximately 180 parking spaces all for FREE! What a great deal. The location is perfect because you don't have to drive along the narrow Piermont Rd. which at times becomes jammed with bicycles riders.
The Pier at Piermont
I Walked to the eastern end of the parking lot and to the intersection of Paradise and Ferry roads. This seemed like a good omen! I then headed east along Ferry Rd. for 1 mile to the end of a thin peninsula which extends out into the Hudson River.
The walk is on a nicely paved flat road surface that is closed to cars and other motorized vehicles. It's tree-lined and cuts through marshland, and swamp reed. It was a pleasure listening to the birds chirping away through the one-mile trek to the pier. At 9 am the road to the pier is extremely active with walkers, runners, bicycles, and young families with strollers. Because this road is wide, it never felt crowded.
I've always loved walking near the water. There is a certain sense of balance as you walk this route to the pier. Water on both sides, and you in the middle, on a roadway that's jutting out nearly a mile into the river. Quiet, calm waters, sun and sky overhead, people around you yet everyone in their own space taking in the surroundings.
From the pier looking south, I was able to see the Winston Towers in Fort Lee/Cliffside Park which really surprised me at this is a distance of 14 miles. Looking to the north is a view of the newly built Governor Mario Cuomo bridge along with a sailboat and a few kayaks.
My walk return took me back to Ferry St. and along a clearly marked footpath called the North Shore Walkway which runs alongside some beautiful luxury condominiums as I head towards Piedmont Road.
You'll walk through the parking lot of Parelli Park in The village of Piermont. The park has a boat launch for kayaks and storage for shells. Parelli Park is also home to the community garden design which was established in 1995 and designed to nourish the spirit.
Walking on Piermont Road
Exit the parking lot facing Empire Hose Company Number One and turn right onto Piermont Road. Piermont Road is a very narrow road that runs along the Hudson River. It was time to get the audiobook fired up (Dr. Wayne Dyer's Being in Balance) and begin the walk along the river.
There is a sidewalk on the west side of the road and this was a pleasure to walk. It was well maintained throughout the whole of my walk of Piermont, and I wish every community had sidewalks in this great of condition.
Car traffic was minimal as bicycles outnumbered cars by at least 10-1 with cars traveling well below the 25 MPH speed limit. As a walker, this is a welcomed feature of this walk.
Walking along Piermont road is generally flat and an easy walk. If you’d like to break that up, then walk up the 49 steps at Half Moon Park. They climb the cliff, get your heart rate up, and lead you to the parking lot for the Piermont community center located on Hudson Terrace.
I did the steps, took a picture of the Hudson, walked back down and once again headed north. I like that the sidewalk is on the left side which is the proper side facing traffic so I really like how this walk is progressing so far.
While there are many houses along the river, they tend to be set apart enough to get good views of the river and many opportunities to take pictures. The houses are a mix of old, modern, expensive, and somewhat reasonably priced. Being on the river side of the street limits the amount of land each house has.
History Lesson: The Onderdonk House
On May 4, 1788, General George Washington and Governor George Clinton landed near here on their way to Tappan and a meeting with the Commander-in-Chief of the British army in North America.
While boarding, and then again while leaving the ship, Perseverance, Washington and our country, was honored with a 17-gun naval salute. This was the first acknowledgment of the American nation by the British.
The Church of Saint John the Baptist
When you get to the church of St. John the Baptist, you've reached the town line, but you've also reached the highlight of this walk! The Church of St. John's is located on the Hudson River and the beautifully maintained grounds of the church are set down and off the street making for a perfect place to take pictures of the river, sit in one of the gazebos, pray, meditate, and just soak in the peaceful setting.
I took a nice long break just staring out at the water and looking north to the newly build Mario Cuomo Bridge way off in the distance.
The Road (way) Less Traveled
Once you've reached St. John's, you have walked a total of 2.75 miles. If you turn back now, it's just a mile back to the commercial center of town with restaurants, shops, and coffee!
If you choose to continue heading north, you will cross the town line. Here, Piermont Rd. changes names to River Rd. as you enter into Grandview-on-Hudson. A nice sounding name and the views, houses, and roadway, are similar to Piermont... BUT there is one main difference.
The condition of the sidewalk is spotty at best so a word of caution is necessary. The sidewalk is now on the east side of the street, and Grandview seems to have sidewalks that are left to each individual property owner to maintain. Some do a good job, others choose no sidewalk, and there are some plots of land with no maintenance, just an overgrown grassy cut next to the road. At several points, I nearly turned around not wanting the hassle or risk of a turned ankle, but on a gorgeous day, and with very little vehicle traffic, the risk seemed worth it.
In hindsight, if I had turned around I would not have missed a thing. While it was inconvenient to deal with the sidewalk issue, the walk moved a little further away from the water at times and as I neared the New York State Thruway entrance to the bridge, the road noise become a huge distraction.
The River Rd. section of this walk is 1.5 miles and as I got within a half-mile of the Thruway, all sense of peace and quiet was gone! The motor vehicle noise was so loud, you couldn't give me one of those expensive houses on the water.
I finally turned around after touching the underpass to the highway. It seemed like a fitting gesture to mark the turnaround, then back south I headed to my rendezvous with a nice cup of coffee.
The return trip to Piermont's commercial center was pleasant and informative. Walking has a way of bringing people together, and was able to engage in conversation with a fellow walker as we neared the Piermont town line. She informed me of a walking trail on the cliffs above the river that I had not read about in my preparation for this walk.
Walking in Piermont, the Commercial District
On my return to the commercial district of Piermont, I had several choices for food and beverage. I chose to get a nice cup of coffee at Bunbury's Coffee Shop. Bunbury's had indoor seating for about a dozen or so people and has a relaxed and social atmosphere. The coffee was excellent, and all the baked goods and smelled looked amazing!
The Erie Path Rail-Trail
I thought when I'd finish my coffee my walk would be done, but I couldn't resist checking out the trails I had just learned about.
I headed 1/2 block south and turned right up Tate Ave. and as I rounded the bend at the top of the short hill I found the steps that led me to the Joeseph B. Clarke rail-trail and the Erie Path. This scenic rail trail with views of the Hudson is a great spot for walking and bicycling. You can access the trail on Ash Street, next to the Historic Train Station and follow it South into Sparkill or North into Nyack.
It turns out that the Old Erie Path was established as part of the Rail-Trail system that communities are utilizing as many unused train routes are being opened up as hiking and biking trails.
According to the website, "This path reveals spectacular views of the Hudson River Valley as the rail-trail rolls along cliffs that border the river’s western shore. Although fairly short, it joins two other rail-trails—Joseph B. Clarke Rail Trail and Raymond G. Esposito Memorial Trail—that combine for more than 8 miles of off-road travel in historic Rockland County."
I only walked about a 1/2 mile on the trail just to get a feel for it and I will be returning sometime this summer to walk the complete 8-mile route.
Back to the Car, One More Stop
I planned to return to the car and head home but first I checked out other places to eat and drink. While I didn't eat at these places, The DVine Pie, The Rivertown Taphouse, and the Sidewalk Bistro all get good ratings on Google.
The best part of walking in Piermont on a Sunday is the Farmers Market set up in the M & T Bank parking lot off of Gair St. not far from where I parked my car. Fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers, pickles, meats, coffee, ice cream, and my favorite, French Fries with special toppings ended this walk in style (I only ate the french fries)!
Walking in Piermont, The Pros:
Ample Parking, even on the best day of the season.
The Walk out to the pier has no vehicle traffic, is treelined and peaceful.
Flat terrain along the river and a well-maintained sidewalk make this an easy walk.
St. John the Baptist Church is a slice of heaven on earth.
The coffee at Bunbury's is excellent!
Walking in Piermont, The Cons
Piermont road is narrow so you do have to pay attention even while walking on the sidewalk.
If you want to continue into Grandview-on-Hudson, the sidewalk situation is a mess. Forgo this, turn around and get on the rail trail above the town.
To Sum it up: What makes walking in Piermont unique for walkers?
My initial thoughts are that it’s flat! On my walk out to the pier there is no car traffic only some pedestrians and bicyclist but not many.
Because it's such a wide road it’s not overcrowded at all and it's enjoyable to say good morning to so many different people.
Piermont Road is very flat and considering the location, there is really not a lot of car traffic. Bicycles seemed to outnumber cars by a 10-1 ratio. I think many cars avoid this stretch because of the number of bicyclists on the road really slows down the flow of vehicle traffic and sharing the road with two-wheelers is a test of your patience behind the wheel.
Final thoughts on walking in Piermont
I highly recommend this walk to anyone at any level of walking fitness. The flat terrain, river views, ample parking, and availability of a variety of food and drink make walking in Piermont a destination to add to your future plans!