Ahh, spring! How I love this particular season – longer, warmer days, and various signs of life, after the months of winter. This past winter was actually fairly mild, particularly compared to the one last year. Apparently, the jet stream has been our friend. But still, it is nice to be having a season in which you can enjoy being outside and wearing a tee-shirt. Yesterday was that kind of a day. Fortunately, Jolie and I both had a free Friday, so we knew we wanted to do something fun. After initially considering a museum visit to Albany, we decided, ultimately, to stay a bit closer to home and to go somewhere in which we could be outdoors so as to enjoy the beautiful, 70 degree weather we were expected to have. We also wanted to go check out a place to which we had never been. Our plan for the day: lunch at the CIA (Apple Pie Bakery) and then a walk around Poet’s Walk in Red Hook, up in the NW part of Dutchess County, which is where we live.

Our lunch at the Apple Pie Bakery (which is more than just a bakery, but rather, a gourmet breakfast and lunch cafe on the famed CIA campus) was too fantastic not to mention here. Here are some photos from this part of the day.

This was Jolie’s order – a truffled grilled cheese sandwich on a nice sourdough bread served with kale chips (which were amazing) and a lemon aoli.

This was mine – an amazingly delicious smoked trout and grilled vegetable tartine (open faced sandwich) that had a blend of fennel, peppers, onions, horseradish cream and grain mustard. It was so, so good.

We also split a order of truffle fries seasoned with black truffle salt and parmesan cheese.

And, just because the CIA has some mastery over dessert making, we also ordered, to complete our meals, a hazelnut praline tart

and a carrot cake and cream cheese frosting éclair, which was quite pretty to look at.

So, with a few extra calories to be burned off, we made our way north up Route 9, through the town of Rhinebeck, and toward the town of Red Hook and finally Poet’s Walk Park.

Poet’s Walk Park is on a 120 acre body of land, surrounded by an additional 800 acres, and was created fairly recently, in 1996. But the land itself is historical; writers such as Washington Irving walked in in their day. The park’s trail goes for approximately 2.25 miles. We wound up spending a little over two hours there. During our time walking around, we encountered several other, mostly very friendly, groups of walkers (some two legged and some four legged, including a super friendly chocolate lab puppy that was very happy to greet us).

Down the trail we walked, for about two-thirds of a mile toward the pavilion up ahead, and through open fields and down through wooded paths. So, the walk started out this way. We also came upon a nice, hand crafted, rustic wooden bench.

Eventually, we came upon another rustic object – the Overlook Pavilion which was visible from a distance.

From this spot, we could see the Hudson River in the distance.

From this sport, the road forked in two different directions. We took the trail through the woods and down toward the river. As we walked through the woods, we could hear a variety of different bird calls and could hear the percussive sounds of some nearby woodpeckers. I was hoping to spot them, but we never did. We also saw various wildflowers, ground plants, and a small brook.

We spotted a lot of these blue violets along the ground.

Also, lots of trout lilies.

After briefly stopping at a spot called the Summerhouse, where the view of the Hudson River was much closer and fuller, we continued on, up and down some hills and across a series of small bridges.

Eventually, we could again see the river, which was just behind some railroad tracks.

We eventually came to a spot called Flagpole Lot, which is a large, open space overlook stop with some amazing views of the Hudson River, the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge and the Catskills.

Just to show how vast and rather magnificent this spot was, there is this particular image.

So, after all of this walking and the enjoyment of all of this beauty and tranquility, we had reached the far end of the trail, and it was time to start making our way back, back toward the Overlook Pavilion again and then back to the parking area.

Finally, just before we got to our car, a small chipmunk scurried across the path; look closely and you can probably see it here.

All in all, a fun and very enjoyable walk through a really beautiful spot. We recommend that you visit it if you are in the neighborhood.