Author Archives: cocederna

Wait…the Hudson flows North and South?!

The seasonal turning of the leaves in deciduous forests around the world completely changes the living experience and vibe of the morphing landscapes. A beautiful, but stagnant green canvas, transforms itself into a plethora of vibrant colors, the living painting evolves. The turning process has just recently begun in the Hudson Valley so the true magnificence of fall is not quite here. To take full advantage of the beauty of fall in the Hudson River Valley I decided to take a day trip to the newly famous – Walkway Over the Hudson.


Parallel to the Mid-Hudson Bridge (cars/trucks), the Walkway is a reconstructed train bridge and was built in 2009. It is the longest, elevated pedestrian bridge in the world (wow) and is 1.28 miles long. Conveniently located next to the train station, Marist, and the CIA (the secret food agency), it is a hot spot for Dutchess County tourism. After a brief drive from Vassar to the Walkway I found myself stepping into a typical tourist trap. The sun was shining, the leaves were turning, and it was parents’ weekend at Marist. This concoction of humanity was prime for the tourist industry. They sell merchandise as a reminder of a beautiful place, a token of a special memory. It was as if New York City had somehow transplanted itself north, and all of Manhattan was walking the bridge that day.


There were so many people walking the bridge it was almost unbelievable, almost Disney-world-esque. Many walkers were proud parents sporting their newly purchased Marist t-shirts, joining the gang. Others were elderly New Yorkers who walked the bridge with a paid tour guide, educating them on the history of the bridge, the river, and the environment. The bridge and parking is free of charge, however the start of the bridge is a gathering of vendors that range from kettle corn (which I bought) 🙂 to Walkway Over the Hudson merchandise. The tourist trap was unescapable, and I was reeled in by the wonderful smell of popcorn.


From there my friend and I began to walk out over the slow moving waters of the Hudson River. First traversing our way over the highway, the train tracks, and a home who had purchased giant tarps to retain the privacy of their living spaces. From there the famous scenic views began to glow before my eyes. The shining sun, the crisp clouds, the living river, all combined to create a space that would bring a smile to the Grinch’s face. Off in the distance, to our north, a ridge of rolling mountains smiled at us across the meandering Hudson. As we made our way over the river we gradually obtained a better view of the city of Poughkeepsie. Off to the north the CIA’s main building looked almost like the famous Grand Hotel on the horse-and-buggy island society of Mackinac Island in Northern Michigan. Even closer, the Marist campus dotted the shoreline with it’s many academic buildings. Right below the walkway on the eastern shore, abandoned industry had left the area scarred, burned, and visibly useless. A sad sight to see, but a memory and potentially a lesson on how industry effects the natural environment.


As we reached the middle of the bridge, the land and river sprawled before us north and south, our vision limited by the mountains (hills to a person from Colorado). It was a gorgeous day for outdoor activities, and residents and tourists alike were taking full advantage of the beautiful weather. The bridge is tied to the local economy in so many different ways. It is an attraction for the local colleges. For Vassar, Marist, and CIA visitors (prospective students) are able to view the beauty that is the Hudson River Valley. Even the locals are given a new perspective of their homeland, possibly gaining a new appreciation for the natural aspect of their living space. The bridge is a great draw into the Poughkeepsie area, increasing time (and thus money) spent in the Poughkeepsie area. It is definitely used for leisure and recreation, providing a nice outlet and escape from the urban spaces that surround many lives in New York. It is a magnet to the Dutchess County, especially from New York City and it’s suburbs.


The Walkway Over the Hudson is an amazing thing in so many different ways. It provides a healthy activity for locals and visitors alike. It provides a scenic view of the land and hopefully changes some attitudes and views concerning the natural environment. Making people understand that without the land and what it holds, we would be dead. They may finally be able to grasp the full power of nature, before returning to the concrete jungle. The Walkway Over the Hudson should be visited by all who come to the Hudson Valley, I highly recommend it.


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P.S. due to tidal changes in the Atlantic Ocean the Hudson sometimes flows north, and other times, flows south ~ trippy ~




Dazed n’ Dairy’d

I whip across the Vassar Bubble as swiftly as my longboard will take me as the time hits 1:15 (our departure time) and I am still about 500 yards from the runway. Flyin’ past cars, humans, and squirrels alike; I was just praying that the van hadn’t taken off yet. Thankfully, I made it on time and our posse piled into the van and off we went on another Hudson Valley Adventure.

Driving north along the Hudson River we passed the neighboring school of Bard. A small liberal arts college very similar to Vassar, with a campus almost just as breathtaking. We continued on our way, allowing the swift breeze to carry us all the way to Columbia County and into the peaceful retreat known as Grazin’ Angus Acres.

Stumbling out the van I saw a small, rustic farm, it immediately reminded me of home. From the top of a small hill to our right a young woman walked down to meet us. She was a highly educated youngster from Texas who moved to the Hudson Valley in hopes of one day owning her own dairy farm. She was extremely knowledgeable of farming, food, the environment, and the politics surrounding her lifestyle. She then took us up onto the hill she had recently descended to meet the cows she worked with every single day. There were about 20 or so dairy cows roaming the hillside. Eating, eating, and more eating. Grass didn’t stand a chance against the ferocious herbivores. What surprised me more than anything was how friendly the cows were. It was a beautiful thing to connect with a being that wasn’t human. Overall, it was an extremely enlightening experience – and here is my homie Carol…


A Humungus Fungus is Amungus

My name is Colin Cederna and I am a Sophomore at Vassar College. I am from Saline, Michigan, a small farming town south of Ann Arbor (home of the University of Michigan). I am an environmental studies major with a political science correlate. I am interested in environmental lobbying, forest ecology, and energy. I strive to reshape the current self-destructing behaviors and decisions of our constantly growing society. A lofty task, but I am willing to take it on full throttle.

Cruising through a lush valley in the some-what rural New York county of Dutchess, our Vassar van screeched to a halt. A voice in the back questions, “Is this it?” saying exactly what everyone else was thinking, but were too afraid to ask. The farmer’s market of Amenia, New York was extremely small, so small that our class size of 10 almost outnumbered all of the vendors at the market. Despite it’s shocking size, the quality of the vendors was topnotch. I met a women who grew an assortment of mushrooms in a patch of woodland behind her home. In the past, I had heard of mushrooms being grown in climate controlled cases as well as on cow dung (how they grow naturally), but I had never heard of farming mushrooms on logs in the forest.

I then continued on my journey to the end of the block where a flash of blue caught my eye. Looking to my left a vibrant blue house stood proudly at the edge of the street. Remnants of a time when builders built unique homes, distinct from one another. It was a glimpse into the past, when things weren’t so complicated and a family could be happy living out their life in a beautiful blue home. A time when they would be content with not going to Vail or San Diego for Christmas, but rather sticking out the long winter of the Hudson Valley. The home was visually stunning and helped contribute to the overall great vibe of the town.

Turning back towards the vendors I spotted one of my favorite things, baked goods. Instinctually I plodded towards the fresh aroma of muffins and scones. The perfection of the desserts held my gaze until finally the baker questioned, “Do you need any help?”. Snapping out of my day dream I quickly apologized because truthfully, I didn’t even have a dollar. Sadly, I left the beautiful food for another hungry wanderer and went on my merry way.

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