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Monday, September 14, 2015

Mills Norrie State Park(Staatsburgh State Historic Site)

After struggling with a stubborn head cold the last several days, I finally was feeling better today so decided to get out for a nice hike in Dutchess County along the east banks of the Hudson River at Norrie Point.  I drove to the Staatsburgh State Historic Site just south of Rhineback off of Old Post Road, where signage clearly indicates the site's entrance.  Parking is in a shaded lot next to a road sign for Gardener's House Lane.
After parking the car, I began walking on paved Gardener's House Lane towards the Hudson.  From here, the beautiful Mills Mansion comes into view to your left, high atop the large lawn.
Trail markers are found on some of the trees along the road here, guiding the way along the Hudson.
The view upriver towards the Esopus Meadows Lighthouse.
A closer look at the lighthouse.
A beautiful view of the Hudson River towards Ulster County.
The white marked trail follows the Hudson's shoreline southward for quite a distance.
One of the unique characteristics of this park is the direct river access that the white trail provides.
Stone walls mark former land boundaries at these wealthy estates.
A typical section of trail along the river, which drops off steeply in spots.
A large open field is found at the site of the original state park.
Old stone foundation ramparts still standing as reminders of the past.
A barge heading upriver.
A campground offers cabins to rent just north of Norrie Point.  The trail actually comes quite close to several of these cabins, basically only feet away from the fire pits.
Through the trees, you can catch a glimpse of the stone bridge over the Indian Kill, where it empties into the Hudson.
 A small, but sturdy footbridge crosses a small stream just before arriving back at the park road.
 The Norrie Point Marina is located in a large cove and crowded with many boats.
 The view south from near Norrie Point.
 Arriving at the Norrie Point Environmental Center, a research center which consists of an aquarium, a museum, and a field station belonging to Dutchess County Community College.
A large area of green algae is forming in the cove next to Norrie Point.
Picnic tables offer a wide, panoramic view south over the Hudson River towards Esopus Island.
 A view west towards the town of Esopus from the point.
 Early hints of fall along the river's edge.
 A last view back downriver as I left the point.
 Once leaving the point, I retraced my steps back up the park road north for a bit, where I was treated to pleasant views of the Indian Kill.
 Once leaving the park road, the trail reenters a hardwood forest.
Although surrounded by park roads, this section of trail seems far removed from people and offers nice glimpses of nature.  I saw several deer just yards off the trail.
More deer.
Continuing north on a wide carriage road, marked with blue blazes.  This was the road to Geraldine Mills and Lydig Hoyt's estate from the mid 19th century.
 The Hoyt House is presently fenced in and has been vacant for over 50 years now.
 Continuing back to the northern section of the park, where a small, sandy beach offers a great spot to relax.
 Arriving back at the Staatsburgh State Historic Site, the elegant country home of Ogden Mills and his wife Ruth Livingston Mills.
 Tours are offered through the year with a nominal fee.
 Originally built in 1832 and expanded in the 1890's this mansion is very symbolic of the luxurious estates of the Guilded Age.
 The west facing side of the mansion, which provides splendid views towards the Hudson River and Catskills.
Headed back to the car, completing 5 miles RT on breezy, but pleasant September afternoon.

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