Explore a historic icehouse in Stuyvesant

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The site of the old R&W Scott Ice Company at Stuyvesant has largely earned its Nutten Hook State Single Area designation. The riverside spot might just be the coolest park in the Hudson Valley that hardly anyone has ever heard of, let alone visited.

The humble little park is emblematic of a theme that runs through northwest Columbia County, which could be described as the dormant region of the Hudson Valley: it’s not a clump of things to do, to eat or see, but what it offers is extremely peaceful and down-to-earth stretches along the 9J route and a few stops that make for a delightful, low-impact adventure with a historic twist.

The Hikes: Bald Eagles, Tidal Estuaries and Icehouse Ruins

The Nutten Hook Loop Trail is just under half a mile and getting there requires a quick drive ice house road on Amtrak tracks and some access wetlands – lending to the park’s solitary vibe. There is another access point to the south nearby ferry route, which provides access to a loop trail to the cooler and a boat launch. There are imposing red brick ruins of the ice harvesting facility and historical markers that tell the story of commercial ice harvesting – at one time there were over a hundred such operations on along the Hudson River, and it was the most important.

The ruins of R&W Scott Ice Company. At one time, there were over a hundred ice harvesting operations in this region.

Tom Gogola

The loop trail also offers plenty of picnic tables and barbecue grills, plenty of shade for summer visitors, a rocky outcrop to toss a fishing line from, and a curved stretch of secluded, sandy beach perfect for sunbathing, throwing a canoe or kayak, or imagine for a moment that you’re Tom Hanks on the set of “Cast Away.”

Nutten Hook is part of the larger Stockport Apartments area, described by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as a “five-mile narrow patchwork of landforms”. It includes a rocky outcrop and a few small islands accessible only by boat, among many other features that can be explored in a day or on separate trips. Once you’ve discovered this gem of a region, a return trip, if not a full night camping adventure, is pretty much in order.

Nutten Hook frames the northern boundary while Small Nutten Hook is at the southern end. The Little Nutten trailhead is easily accessible just off 9J and provides a handy map of the trails through the former industrial site. The area is a state-designated estuarine habitat area home to many rare or protected species, including bald eagles. Instagram alert!

Once you’ve visited the tidal reserve and hiked its trails, take a quick trip east to stop at the popular and roaring Stuyvesant Falls on Kinderhook Creek. Like Nutten Hook Park, the falls here are wheelchair accessible. The 6.7 miles Albany-Hudson Electric Trail is nearby and offers another possibility for an easy hike. The trail opened in 2020 and runs north to south from Rensselaer to the town of Hudson.

Presidential History in the Hudson Valley

Day trippers to these areas are within striking distance of Kinderhook, the most populous city in Columbia County and the birthplace of Martin Van Buren, the eighth President of the United States. Van Buren was no Franklin Delano Roosevelt, his presidential counterpart to the south in Hyde Park, but Van Buren’s tenure from 1837 to 1841 had its share of highs and lows, including the Great Panic of 1937 and many wars with Native Americans. . He also established diplomatic relations with the then Republic of Texas; the Martin Van Buren National Historic Site (1013 Old Post Road, Kinderhook) offers tours that explain Van Buren’s place in history and the region.

Once you’ve had your fill of presidential history, done a bit of hiking, and taken in the scenery of the Stuyvesant area (expect to see some cows), it’s time to head to the heart of the town of Stuyvesant, which may well earn a state designation as “Historical Quaint” if such a thing existed. This is a very nice and cute little place that features the Stuyvesant Landing Depot (81 Riverview Street), a historic train station that now hosts a farmer’s market. Take a walk to the pee Margaret & William See Riverside Park (48 Riverview Street) which has a welcoming rest bench on the river side of the slopes.

After another moment of reflection on the mighty Hudson and its industrial history, head to pico de gallo (48 Riverview Street) to stock up on Mexican fare that can be enjoyed on that park bench, in a restaurant, or on a sidewalk table outside. Menu offerings span prices from a $7 plate of plantains to a trio of tacos for $16 and a hanger steak for $20 (there’s also a kids’ menu). End your adventure in northwest Columbia County with some of these fine dishes paired with a delicious $12 margarita.

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