Hyde Park, N.Y. has spent the last 25 plus years developing a trail system and encouraging its residents and visitors to get out and walk. The trail system has more than 11 trails and 30 miles. They offer a “Walkabout” patch for anyone who completes at least five of the listed trails within one year. This emphasis on getting out and being active is one of the things that led us to spend as much time here as we did.
Today was our day to get out and walk around. Some of the trails connect the National Park sites that we visited a few days ago; others are just walks through various “woodsy” parts of the city. We decided to spend our outdoor time in the Mills-Norrie State Park. Technically, it is two parks that are adjacent, but we couldn’t tell where one ended and the other began.
The first portion of our trail (the White trail) followed the east side of the Hudson River north. We had many splendid views as passed a few picnic tables and cabins and were able to get down to the water. There were several uphill and downhill moments, but nothing too strenuous. We stopped for a picnic lunch on a bench overlooking the river. It was very peaceful, even with the occasional jet ski or boat.
Following lunch, we continued north and eventually took the Blue trail south, back to the truck. It was not nearly as scenic, mainly because it was not along the waterfront, but it was still great to be outdoors, getting fresh air and getting some steps in. Along the trail, we found the ruins of old homes in need of restoration. They were cool to see, even if they were fenced off.
After the hike (about 4 miles), we found a brewery in Poughkeepsie, which is the next town south of Hyde Park. It actually was only about 5-10 minutes, so not a bad drive at all. The Mill House Brewing Company had some great brews and bites. Grant, of course, had the flight of 5 beers. The most interesting one was a Cucumber Cream Ale, which was very aromatic and unique. Many of the beers were quite nice, even for a non-beer lover like me. While I sampled a few of Grant’s beers, I was busying enjoying a glass of an Italian Pinot Grigio. We both fell in love with Italian wine when we visited Italy a few years ago. While I generally prefer red wine, in the middle of the afternoon, if I want to stay awake, I have to stick to white!
The menu at the brewery was very interesting. Since we had just had lunch not long before, we just got the appetizer of pretzel bites. It was a very good choice for something not too heavy, yet tasty and filling. It was basically a doughy pretzel bread served with a beer cheese dip and whole seed mustard. While both dips were yummy, it was the beer cheese dip that I really just wanted to eat with a spoon! Many other items on the menu looked fabulous and unique. If we are ever in this part of the world again, I would eat here in a heartbeat.
To end our afternoon, we took a hard look at our budget and our spending. We have decided that despite our best efforts, we set our budget too low. Our campground the past few nights has been almost double what many of the others are. When we also need gas, which is most every day, we literally have no money left for food or anything else. We did not take into account how many sites would have charges for tours, and somehow forgot how quickly $4-5 for a magnet adds up when you are visiting several sites a day. We also really trying to eat at the local restaurants. So, while we have actually tried to stay within budget, we haven’t done a very good job thus far. We made a conscious effort today when buying dinner to not go overboard and plan on using the the chips, crackers, etc. from our pantry. So for the second time out of nine days we actually stayed under-budget. It may have only been a few cents, but it still counts!
Overall, when it comes to budgeting, we have to learn what the average campsite cost will be for an RV. We expected it to be higher than for a tent, but it is much higher than we anticipated. Another aspect that we thought of but didn’t really factor in, is that when tent camping we generally spend about one night a week in a hotel that we often use points to pay for. With the RV, no more “free” hotel nights.
We are learning and adjusting as we go. The number of trips to Wal-Mart for supplies has dropped significantly. Our campground costs for the next few nights will be cheaper, so hopefully we can rebound and get closer to being within budget before too long.