Tis the Season for Leaf Peeping!

As foliage peaks throughout New England, fall is one of the nicest times to hike during the year. The bright colors of fall leaves offset and highlight many of New England’s bird variety’s plumage, and it makes them easier to spot. Plus they make lovely photographs, the vibrant color of gold finches backset by deep crimson maple leaves is truly both a birdwatchers, and a photographers perfect setting for example. Fall also offers cooler weather for hikes with many of the insect pests that torment hikers during the spring and summer dying off or going into hibernation.

If you are staying at the inn and looking to explore some new areas for some fall hikes, whether to leaf peep or simply to get out and enjoy the outdoors, check out some of these local spots.

Sharon Audubon Center (About 10 minutes from the Inn)
325 Cornwall Bridge Road, Sharon, CT 06069
860-364-0520
http://sharon.audubon.org/
https://www.facebook.com/AudubonSharon

The Sharon Audubon Center covers 1,147 acres of primarily forest. It includes 11 miles of trails and two ponds. Visitors are welcome to walk the Pond Loop Trail at the Audubon Sharon Miles Wildlife Sanctuary which is open daily from sunrise to sunset. Hikers can observe a wide variety of birds and wildlife including many migratory birds. The two ponds also offer an additional habitat in which beavers and river otters can be found.

The main Visitor Center houses a small natural history museum, a nature store, and the Children’s Adventure Center. The surrounding grounds include Raptor Aviaries, an Herb Garden, the Eleanor Loft Bird & Butterfly Garden, and a working sugarhouse which was formerly an ice house.

Buttercup Farm Audubon Sanctuary
6862 NY-82, Stanfordville, NY 12581 (About 18 minutes from the inn)
http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/62785.html

This 641 acres sanctuary offers a diverse habit including old farm fields, open grasslands, wooded lots with mature and second growth tree stands and marshy woodlands. Old rail beds on the west side follow Wappinger Creek where hikers can view raptors, song birds and many wetlands birds like Wood Ducks and Great Blue Herons.

A scenic overlook offers hikers a breathtaking view of Stissing Mountain and the lands below in the valley. There are six miles of trails and interpretive trail signs and brochures are available along the hike for more information about the sanctuary.

Macricostas Preserve (About ½ an hour from the Inn)
121 Christian St, New Preston, CT 06777
http://www.steeprockassoc.org/explore/macricostas-preserve/

This 238-acre parcel is also commonly known as “Meeker Swamp.” The land, a mix of meadow, wooded space, farmland and wetlands. This area of unspoiled land sits adjacent to four other parcels of land, and includes a pinnacle overlook above Lake Waramaug. With the adjacent land which was donated previously to the preserve, the total hiking area available covers over 368 acres. The 98 acres of wetlands, includes the start of Bee Brook, which is a major tributary of the Shepaug River.

In 2006 the Washington Garden Club completed an interpretive trail along a portion of the trail. Signposts mark spots of unique ecosystems along the trail, each of which is described in a printed trail guide, a viewing platform was also built at the edge of the open water of Meeker Swamp, down a short trail off the northeast corner of preserve.

Rheinstrom Hill Audubon Sanctuary & Center (About ½ an hour from the Inn)
225 Cambridge Rd Hillsdale, NY 12529
518-325-5203
http://ny.audubon.org/about-us/centers-sanctuaries-chapters/rheinstrom-hill
https://www.facebook.com/RheinstromHillAudubonSanctuary/

Rheinstrom Hill is a 1,037 acre sanctuary located in the southeastern corner of Columbia County. There are approximately 4 miles of trails for birders and other nature enthusiasts to enjoy daily from dawn to dusk. The Sanctuary is a wonderful place to go birding, it provides a habitat for many climate-threatened bird species like the Scarlet Tanager and Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and others whose natural habitats are at risk. You may also encounter white tailed deer and the sanctuary shelters coyotes, bobcats and black bears, but those species are shy of hikers and are rarely encountered.

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De-Stress the Omega Way!

If you need a vacation, or just time to de-stress or decompress, pair a holiday or vacation away at the Hilltop House B&B and pair it with some classes at the Omega Institute for the perfect solution to reaching the perfect OM!

Founded in 1977, Omega Institute for Holistic Studies has served as a destination for creative individuals who want to explore the arts, as well as enhance and learn leadership skills and explore personal growth.

Located on 200 acres in the heart of the Hudson Valley, the institute offers retreats, workshops and classes in it’s Rhinebeck location, as well as to others in it’s other locations around the world.

A non-profit, Omega has hosted over 23,000 people at their events, and has been at the head of innovations for natural healing and programs that explore and connect people with science to spirituality. Omega attendees come from all over the world to learn more about health, growth, personal change and development. In addition to classes, there are additional event offerings at Omega, including purification lodges, community dances, talent shows, arts and crafts fairs.

The name “Omega” came from the teachings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a renowned 20th-century philosopher, who used the term “Omega Point” to describe the peak of unity and integration toward which all life is evolving.

Staff and Community Members consist of about 75 people who expand to several hundred during the main season between April and October. They help and provide assistance to the thousands of people who attend the workshops, trainings and retreats that Omega hosts.

Check out just a few of the upcoming workshops at Omega!

Body Mind and Spirit Workshops
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction In Mind-Body Medicine
An Introduction To Yin Yoga
Celebrating Your Second Journey
Introduction To Solarplate Etching
And many more…

Health and Healing Workshops
Become Your Healthiest Self
Stretch Your Lungs With Breatheology
Transformational Cleansing™
Yoga & Mindfulness For Emotional Well-Being
The Happiness Program
And many more…

Creative Expression Workshops:
The Art Of Monoprinting
Warm Water Yoga Teacher Training
Scripting Your Soul’s Purpose
Conquer The Enemy Within
And many more…

Relationships and Family Workshops: 
Mothers & Daughters (Preteens)
Kiss Your Fights Goodbye
Prodigal Fathers, Wayward Sons
Getting The Love You Want
And many more…

Leadership and Work Workshops:
Financial Literacy & Beyond
Tools For Social Change
Centering Leadership In Presence
Micro-Resilience For Women Leaders
And many more…

Sustainable Living Workshops: 
Gifts From The Forest
Ecological Literacy Immersion Program (ELIP)
Grow Food Everywhere
Food Forestry For Your Backyard
And many more…

The Omega Institute (1/2 an hour from Hilltop House B&B)
150 Lake Drive, Rhinebeck, New York
877-944-2002
https://www.eomega.org
https://www.facebook.com/eOmega.org
https://twitter.com/omega_institute
https://www.youtube.com/user/TheOmegaInstitute
https://plus.google.com/u/0/+omegainstitute
https://www.instagram.com/omegainstitute/
https://www.pinterest.com/OmegaInstitute/

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Geocaching in the Hudson Valley

Looking for Geocaches
What is Geocaching? Geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS (Global Positioning System). Geocachers find a specific set of GPS coordinates on their smart phones or other GPS enabled devices, and then attempt to find the geocache (a container holding an item, or a number of other items) hidden at that location.

Geocaches can be found all over the world. Geocachers tend to hide caches in locations that are important to them. These locations can be quite unique. They may be at your local state park, at the end of a trail, in a mountain stream or on the mantel of door on a busy city street. Some of the containers are tiny, and are attached behind street signs using a magnet; others are large and usually (but not always) found in wooded areas. A cache always contains a logbook or log sheet for participants to log their finds. The larger caches may contain any number of additional items. These items turn the adventure into a more extended treasure hunt as they lead you to new places and new coordinates.

There are lots of different types of Caches, some of the Traditional Caches include Mystery or Puzzle Caches, Multi-Caches (Offset Cache), Earth Caches, or Letterbox Caches, but there are also many more, check out some of the additional at https://www.geocaching.com/about/cache_types.aspx.

For the outdoors men and women who like to hike and explore, Geocaching is a fun pastime that can be done around the world at any time of year. A good place to start is at the Geocaching.com website. Sign up for a free account, get the app and start your explorations!

There are official events you can attend to network, seminars, environmental cleanups and other outdoors activities that you can get involved with. There are Facebook groups groups all over the world, including a very good one here in the Hudson Valley at https://www.facebook.com/groups/401127463248952/.

The best part of geocaching is exploring the places the GPS and the caches you find takes you to. You will visit areas you never would have thought to explore otherwise, and find incredible scenic places of beauty and hidden wonders that the general public hasn’t found.

Combine packing a picnic lunch and heading off for the day after a good night’s sleep and a hearty delicious breakfast at the inn, and going treasure hunting in the Valley is a weekend getaway everyone should experience!

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