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10 Things to Know About Warwick and Orange County 

click to enlarge Tim McInery at Storm King Art Center in New Windsor. - THOMAS SMITH
  • Thomas Smith
  • Tim McInery at Storm King Art Center in New Windsor.

10 Things to Know About

Warwick and Orange County

Warwick played a key role during the American Revolution. Stirling Iron Works, an early steel and iron producer in Warwick, forged the Hudson River Chain in 1778. This great chain was stretched across the river at West Point to prevent British warships from taking control of the strategic location. The chain was 600 yards long and weighed 186 tons. Part of the chain is on display at Trophy Point at West Point.

click to enlarge THOMAS SMITH
  • Thomas Smith

Warwick Applefest is a one-day event that attracts approximately 30,000 people each year. With over 200 craft vendors, dozens of food vendors, live music, a children's carnival, and an apple pie contest (with slices for sale), this is a perfect day for the family. Applefest is October 5th from 10am to 5pm.

Schunemunk Mountain is the highest point in Orange County (1,664 feet), with outstanding hiking and magnificent views. There are many scenic vistas along its trails, perfect for a leaf -peeping fall picnic.

Bear Mountain State Park celebrated its 101st birthday this year. The scenic park rests just above the Hudson River. Depending on the season, you can ice skate, picnic, paddleboat, ride a carousel, jump into the public pool, or visit the many animals at the trailside zoo where local injured animals are rehabilitated. You can meet eagles, owls, bears, deer, fox, and more. Perkins Drive is also a favorite of visitors to the park—a narrow road that snakes up to Bear Mountain's summit from which you can see the rolling landscape, and on a clear day, even the Manhattan skyline.

The Hudson Valley has strong literary and musical ties. Jack Kerouac mentions "that wonderful Hudson Valley" as he travels up Route 6 to Bear Mountain in On the Road. There is a statue of poet Walt Whitman that greets visitors to the Bear Mountain Zoo. Bob Dylan references the park in his song "Talkin' Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre Blues." Billy Joel's "Summer, Highland Falls" references the Orange County town of the same name.

The Moodna Viaduct has one of the most iconic Hudson Valley views—big fields beneath the mountains with train tracks raised high above the ground. It can be experienced by walking beneath or taking a Metro-North train over the viaduct itself. The Trestle Bar and Restaurant awaits hungry visitors below. A pivotal scene from the film Michael Clayton, starring George Clooney, was filmed at the viaduct. Tony Gilroy, the writer and director of the film, went to Washingtonville High School.

The Great Pumpkin Festival takes place in the heart of the Black Dirt region, Pine Island. Aside from collecting pumpkins, there will be pumpkin decorating contests, carving contests, and of course pumpkin pie contests. Plus, if you happen to dress your children up like pirates, there is a playground with a pirate ship near the fest. Pumpkinfest is held annually on Columbus Day at Pine Island State Park from 11am-3pm.

click to enlarge THOMAS SMITH
  • Thomas Smith

The Storm King Art Center is a modern sculpture park that spans 500 acres alongside the Thruway in New Windsor. The colossal sculptures blend in and out of its vast grounds, creating a sensuous and surreal amalgam of art and nature. It is open through November.

Warwick's art scene is busting out all over. Whether it's live music, literature, or art, Warwick has done its best to showcase local artists. The Strazza Art Gallery on Main Street features original paintings and photography. If you're looking for live music, the Tuscan Café is always filled with the energy of exciting bands.

Derek Jeter is one of the more recent notable residents of Warwick. Past residents of Orange County include Cyndi Lauper, Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman, musician Saul Williams, and Denzel Washington.

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