Growing up I was not the popular kid at all, actually quite the opposite, I left school because I was so harshly bullied. I was never invited out with people after class and spent my weekends watching ESPN with my dad. This lead to me growing up and never finding the cool “local” hangs.
I should probably rewind here and let you know that I grew in a pretty awesome area, in the lower Hudson Valley. I’m right outside of New York City so we could go out to dinner and a show in the city and still be back in time for bed time and then spend our Saturday hiking the Bear Mountain. Not going to lie, I would love to live here (not my town because the whole bullying thing) when I have my own family.
My mom brought me on awesome hikes growing up and my dad took me to the FDR Park to go on runs but they couldn’t give me that local state of mind, those areas that are overrun with teenagers escaping their parents grasp and drinking shitty beer. I never did that.
Then when I was in college I dated a guy from a few towns over but had hung out with the kids from my town also. He was one of those guys that had friends throughout the entire region and knew people working at least one deli in each town – and if you know New York you know deli’s are our life and we live off Italian wedges.
He didn’t have much money so before he started taking advantage of me and my parents credit card (had to rope me in somehow) he took me to all of these places that aren’t on AllTrails or TrailLink, the places that no one knows about, the places where you hid your car so the cops wouldn’t call your parents (yes, it’s a small town) to say you’re out right now. When we first started dating it was thrilling, I never had these moments in high school where I would escape for the day, climb up a mountain with no one around that over looks the Hudson Valley and the *disgusting* Hudson River – for people visiting New York, NEVER jump in the Hudson River.
He would lead me around the valley, telling me to take random turns down wooded roads, and say ‘park here behind that rock.’ I started learning these ‘local’ places and would come back and tell my mom. She would get nostalgic and tell me about the days she knew all of the local spots and would take my dad there whenever he visited – my mom moved to my town when she was nine years old and moved back here the year before I was born. And my grandma is still living in the house my mom grew up in and hasn’t updated a single appliance, paint job, or floor since they moved in in the 70’s!
Now my mom is old and has too many concussions to remember the places she brought my dad and she may have even been too wild for me since I heard some crazy Bear Mountain rock scaling stories that make me shiver thinking about that fall. I am no longer with that boyfriend and in the years I have even forgotten how to get to the places he brought me to.
Now is also the time I wish I could be going to those spots and be all alone with my thoughts and probably a notebook.
Is there an adult way to find these cool local spots, not to hang out with teenagers but to find the best views of the valley that hasn’t been overrun with tourists? Anyone in the tristate want to clue me in here?
Hopefully one day I’ll get to re-explore these places and maybe one day I’ll even happen upon some on my own.
Do other areas have certain local spots that tourist can’t find unless you know someone? Tell me about your favorite places, tristate or not!