Monday, July 20, 2009

Walking the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail

On Saturday we drove down to Irvington, NY, to check out the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, a footpath that runs above the Old Croton Aqueduct, a masonry tunnel that brought New York City its first supply of clean water in 1842. While the aqueduct was in use until 1955, its capacity was quickly exceeded by the demands of a skyrocketing population growth to which it actually contributed, and in 1890 the New Croton Aqueduct went into service. It currently supplies about ten percent of New York City's water. (More on its history here.)

The trail runs for 26 miles, but we explored a very small portion of it, starting in Irvington, named for writer Washington Irving. Here is a statue of his character Rip Van Winkle on Main Street.

Ventilator number 16, at the beginning of the trail in Irvington.

There is all kinds of great graffiti on the ventilator, some dating from 1978.

A tree growing through a wrought iron gate.

Raspberries growing along the trail.

The Hudson River waterfront in Dobbs Ferry, where we ended our journey. You can actually see the Manhattan skyline in the distance (though it's a little hazy).

I'm definitely interested in checking out more of the trail, which starts in Ossining and winds its way down to Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. I love the diverse scenery it has to offer. Even in the brief 2 miles we walked we were treated to views of greenery and nature, rich people's backyards (almost everyone seems to have a pool), a college campus, a village center, and the Octagon House (which I couldn't really get a good glimpse of, since it is shrouded by dense trees, undoubtedly on purpose). You can hike the trail and make stops along the way to have lunch, or check out interesting historic landmarks (such as the Lyndhurst castle in Tarrytown). Many of the Metro North stations are very short distances from the trail, so you can start at one station and then take a train back after you're done, thus preventing you from having to retrace your steps, and allowing you to travel more of the trail. So, lots more to see.

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