Route 9W runs parallel to the Hudson River. The span from Bear Mountain to Marlboro is approximately 30 miles. Even if you don’t venture onto Route 218, you can take in spectacular river views from overlooks off the northbound lane in the section between West Point and Cornwall as well from many of the tourist sites on this route.
Continuing north, find the entrance to the Fort Montgomery State Historic Site just 3 minutes from the Bear Mountain Circle. Hike the grounds to view the ruins of buildings and groundworks at this Revolutionary War battle site. Walking trails wind past cannon mounts overlooking the Hudson and over the Popolopen Creek footbridge. Stop at the Visitors Center to view exhibits and learn more about the site.
Next in line, about 5 miles from the Bear Mountain Circle, is the United States Military Academy at West Point. Guided tours on the West Point Tour Bus depart from the Visitors Center in Highland Falls daily. Also, visit the museum’s extensive collection of weapons, military memorabilia and military art. Army football at Michie Stadium is another fun option during the fall season. There are lots of casual eateries in Highland Falls or enjoy fine dining at the Thayer Hotel on the academy grounds.
The next exit on 9W north leads to Route 218, also known as Old Storm King Highway. Winding high above the Hudson along the edge of Storm King Mountain, it’s a great motorcycle experience. There are some pull-offs where you can stop for breathtaking panoramic views. Be warned that this 3-mile section of road is sometimes closed during inclement weather due to rockslides or for special events. Exit Route 218 in Cornwall-on-Hudson, the home of Painter’s Tavern. This combination inn, restaurant and art gallery offers an impressive beer collection in addition to an eclectic menu including pub fare and vegetarian options. At this point, you’re just minutes away from Storm King Art Center, the world-renowned 500-acre outdoor sculpture park. Turn left off Route 218 onto Main Street. At the circle, take the 2nd exit to Quaker Avenue. At the intersection with Route 32, turn right. Just across the bridge, turn left on Orrs Mills Road. Take the first left on Old Pleasant Hill Road. The art center entrance is on the left. Allow at least 2-hours to wander the grounds.
Back on 9W, a little north of Cornwall, Kowawese Unique Area at Plum Point, is a small, sandy beach on the bank of the Hudson River perfect for a picnic. The entrance road is on the right between the bowling alley and Newburgh Toyota just past the sports complex. This quiet, scenic park offers picnic tables and grills.
Next up, the exciting Newburgh Waterfront has many restaurants ranging from barbecue to fine dining, river cruise boats and numerous special events. Dine on the patio while you take in the spectacular views of the Hudson Highlands. To get here, take the Plum Point exit just after passing Anthony’s Pier 9 and the Windsor Motel. Turn right on River Road and continue approximately 3 miles. Turn right on 4th Street. History buffs may want to visit Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site just up the hill from the waterfront at the intersection of Washington and Liberty Streets.
Also on 9W, 5 miles north of the Newburgh Waterfront, right on the northern border of Orange County is Gomez Mill House, the oldest manor house in Orange County and the earliest extant Jewish residence in America. Through the years, it was home to five notable owners from patriots to artisans. Shortly after passing the Mill Creek Golf Course, be on the lookout for Mill House Road on the right.
Heading back south from Newburgh, you have the option of picking up the New York State Thruway at exit 17. Turn right leaving the Newburgh Waterfront, then right on 9W and left on Route 32 north. Take the entrance for I-84 west. The Thruway entrance is at exit 7A. For a more scenic ride, travel along Route 32 south from New Windsor to old Route 17 south. Turn left out of the Newburgh Waterfront on to River Road and straight ahead on Blooming Grove Turnpike. At the stop sign, go left on Route 94. At the 5- Corners intersection, make a sharp left on Route 32. About 6 miles ahead, you’ll pass Palaia Vineyards on the right. This location has a great tasting room in their 200-year old barn. A few miles south, just past Woodbury Common Premium Outlets, you can get on the Thruway at exit 16 – Harriman, pick up Route 6 east to get back to the Palisades Parkway, or continue straight on Route 17 south.