Trip Reports on
(Amenia to Millerton to Sharon CT to Wassaic)
KenR, August 2010:
Bridge closed for construction at Amenia Union, mile 21.5 on the cue
sheet, intersection of Connecticut rt 41 with Dutchess county rt 2.
(this bridge also used on the route Harlem Valley Rail to Trail to Falls -- could check for further reports for that)
KenR, June 2004:
November 2003, Ken:
Sharon and I met Tom and Ron and Mark in Amenia on a cloudy cold Sunday morning in Amenia. Mark and I were on inline skates, and the others on single bikes. The farms and roads were as beautiful as ever, and I had brought so much clothing that I had to take some off and put it into my pack.
We all made it to Millerton, first bought some muffins at Pasta at Large (you wouldn't guess from the name that it had nice bakery stuff), then went up the Main St hill and just around the curve east discovered the Irving Farm Coffee House (www.irvingfarm.com) and sat down inside warm for a pleasant snack.
We started back south, and Tom had been having derailleur problems with his bike, so he and Ron decided to take a more direct route back to Amenia with the Rail Trail. Then after a few more miles over into Connecticut, Mark needed to get back early, so he took Variation F as his quick way home. That's one of the nice things about this route -- some easy ways cut it short.
Sharon and I finished the whole route. The rolling hills made a nice workout for us, but there's the one tough hill climb coming into Sharon CT which is not rolling, and I was glad I stopped in the middle of it to rest. Sharon and I both thought we'll do this route more often on bike and skates.
Skating perspective: I was glad to use my Third Eye mirror when skating on CT Rt 361 so I could see the cars coming up behind me -- and more over a little and wave to them. Lots of smooth pavement. The last section from Wassaic back to Amenia had lots of "tar snakes" on the pavement -- which can take a skater down on a sunny summer day -- but I found those easy to deal with in cool temperatures. The biggest downhill is north-bound on Mill Rd -- down into a Stop sign. But we avoided most of it this time by taking the Variation at mile 10.1 onto the Rail Trail, then stepping over a ditch and some grass to last bit of the downhill.
My wife and I did a variant of this route on a very hot, steamy 6th of July 2003.
We did a combination of the 19 mile Amenia-Millerton and the 30 mile Wassaic-CT routes. We basically started at Wassaic, took the trail direct to Millerton, then returned via the Indian Lake variant, picking up the trail again near Sharon and returning via Old Rt 22 and the dirt road.
We're big fans of rail-trails, and let me say that the Harlem Valley Rail Trail is some of the sweetest tire candy we've rolled over in a long time. The trail is lovingly maintained, and while the route is pretty plain (flat, with many long straightaways), the scenery is ever-changing, from meadows, to marsh, along streams and thru some nice rock-cuts that offer nice valley overlooks. There are more grade-level road crossings than I expected, but only once (Rte 343) did we actually have to stop. There were quiet a few people on the trail for such a hot day, but that's good news because hopefully that will encourage the powers that be to complete the next segment and link up the Amenia/Millertown segment with the Copake Falls section.
Although the segment on Rt. 22 is short, it was dangerous. The shoulder is in fair condition, with crumbling pavement, open cracks, and lots of broken glass. We were passed by about 50 cars in just a half-mile, all blowing by at 55mph. One solution is to start at the trailhead in Amenia, but the segment along old Rt. 22 is very scenic and worth doing. The alternative is to take a short dirt road (marked "private/no trespassing")about 300 yards long which connects the SE corner of the Wassaic train station parking lot (straight ahead to the back of the lot as you enter the lot from Rt. 22) with old Rt. 22. Judging from all the tire tracks on this dirt road, we're not the first to do this.
July 2001, Ken Roberts: Tony, Sharon, and I went out on a beautiful summer weekend day. Tony with his bike took the first train up from Manhattan, and Sharon and I put the tandem on the car drove to Wassaic. We rode almost all the roads of this route as part of the larger Harlem Valley Rail to Trail to Falls route. The roads were in good condition, and it was a great day.