Sometimes a detour from your standard running route is just the thing to deliver a newfound training boost. New York City has plenty of tried-and-true running routes. But, if you need a break from the concrete, head just outside the city for small towns with big waterfront views that will make you forget just how cold (or hot, depending upon the season) it is and how many miles you have to go. Here are three small town running escapes near the city that feature no crowds and new scenery, guaranteed.
Piermont is south of the Tappan Zee Bridge, on the east side of the river, about 20 miles outside Manhattan. It’s a tiny, picturesque village (population 2,571). In case town looks familiar, you're right—it was the setting for Woody Allen’s movie The Purple Rose of Cairo .
The highlight of the village is the Piermont Pier—which juts out into the middle of the Hudson River. Look north and you’ll see the Tappan Zee Bridge. For runners and hikers, Piermont’s proximity right next to Tallman State Park makes is a perfect spot for a winding 10k or 12k. It's also where you should park, since spots near the pier are by permit only.
Start off from Tallman's parking area and make your way through the park's easily navigated dirt and gravel paths, which are frequently used by cyclists as well. As you head toward the northern end of the park, hop on the paved roadway that runs through the park and down a steep decline leading you right into Piermont. Follow Ferry Road all the way to the pier and along the way you’ll be skirting along 1,017 acres of marsh. The in-town part of your run is fairly flat.
If you need a place to fuel up after your run, drive five miles to the town of Nyack and head to the Art Café. The menu features organic coffee and fresh goodies, including warm Greek yogurt drizzled with honey, fresh salads, and yummy borekas, all perfect for a late breakfast or lunch.
Switching over to the eastern side of the Hudson River, at the northern end of Westchester County, is Peekskill, which looks out at the towering peaks of Bear Mountain State Park .
If you take the train from New York City, you’ll exit right at Peekskill Landing Park, which is adjacent to Riverfront Green Park, a popular kayaking launch in the warmer season. If you drive, you can park there too. The park boasts a paved waterfront path that skirts Peekskill Bay.
From the pathway, runners and bikers looking for a real endurance test can do a 16-mile loop from Peekskill to Bear Mountain and back, crossing over the historic Bear Mountain Bridge. You’ll spend the bulk of the miles on a winding, two-lane highway until you hit Seven Lakes Drive at Bear Mountain. The views—at the beginning, the middle and end--are well worth the narrow terrain. Once you make it to Bear Mountain, you'll have your pick of trails for even more miles.
New Rochelle, NY
If you loop through Glen Island Park’s paved pathways and then head out (and back) across the drawbridge, you’ll have a perfect 5k with beautiful, serene views of the Long Island Sound. The park’s 105 acres is a popular spot for runners, walkers, and bikers. It's also a popular put-in spot for kayaks and canoes.
Glen Island is also a perfect spot if your schedule has you needing to chalk up a long run. After a tour through the park, head out across the drawbridge and south to Pelham Bay Park, which is right down the road literally (Pelham Road turns into Shore Road). There is a paved path for most of the way. You'll go past the golf course, to Orchard Beach, and back for a 10-mile round trip tour.