Best way to digest that gigantic Thanksgiving meal — and all the leftovers the following day? Walk it off. A post-Thanksgiving Day hike is a tradition for many during this time of overindulgence.
The following are accessible (meaning parking is readily available) and are ideal for a stroll or brisk walk that won't take up the whole day. That way, you can be home in time to claim that last piece of pumpkin pie.
McAndrews Estate, Oscawana Park, Croton
This easy 3 mile hike loops through the ruins the turn-of-the-19th-century McAndrews estate, which once featured a huge Victorian mansion, a full sized race track complete with an elaborate two story judges' stand, fountains, the Cruger mansion, several other homes, and all the livestock, machinery, and staff needed to run a large working farm. The ruins of this once grand estate are scattered about the property. Find trailhead parking at Oscawana Park, Cortlandt St., Croton-on-Hudson. -- Contributed by Carlos Gonzalez
Scenic Tarrytown Riverwalk-Sleepy Hollow Riverwalk
A newly opened stretch of this waterfront park hugs the shoreline around the former General Motors Assembly plant property. This is a flat, accessible paved path which offers beautiful views of the Hudson River, Gov. Mario Cuomo Bridge, the Palisades and even the distant Manhattan skyline to the south. Highlights include a closeup view of the Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse (which is undergoing renovations), access to Kingsland Point Park, and options to eat at two restaurants, Hudson Farmer & The Fish, and Rivermarket Bar & Kitchen. There a plenty of benches along the river walk and park. Parking is available at Pierson Park in Tarrytown (it may require a fee so read the signs carefully) or Edge-on-Hudson in Sleepy Hollow. For more info: scenichudson.org/explore-the-valley
Hook Mountain/Nyack Beach Bikeway
The 7.5-mile Hook Mountain/Nyack Beach Bikeway runs from Nyack to Haverstraw Beach State Park. It’s easy, follows the edge of the Hudson and accommodates bikes, walkers and hikers. An upward hill along the way will take you to the Long Path hiking route — a 7-mile route between Hook Mountain Rockland Lake. Three connecting paths to the Long Path — one each at the north, south and middle points of the Hook’s façade — allow for circular hikes of varying lengths. Parking is available at Nyack Beach State Park, 698 N. Broadway, Nyack. parks.ny.gov.
Bear Mountain State Park
If those trails leading up Bear Mountain seem daunting, go to plan B: As easy stroll around the park's Hessian Lake (it's right next to the Bear Mountain Inn) on a 1.5-mile level, paved trail. Options abound from there. Turn right at the zoo and there's an additional mile-long trail down to the Hudson River and Bear Mountain's dock. There are more challenging trails that connect to the Appalachian Trail and the Long Path; others snake their way to the top of Bear Mountain. Find a trail map at parks.ny.gov/parks. Leashed dogs are allowed on the trails and the park has a lodge with food options and bathrooms. In the winter months, there's an outdoor ice rink which offers skate rentals. Park is open daily, year-round, 8 a.m. to sunset. $10 parking per vehicle weekends.
Franny Reese State Park, Highland
Trails, which cover 2.5 miles in this park, follow a historic carriage road that passes ruins of a 19th-century estate, while an overlook affords superb views of the Mid-Hudson Bridge and Walkway Over the Hudson. A link connects the park to the Walkway Loop Trail. Free and open year-round, sunrise to sunset. Johnson-Iorio Park, Haviland Road, Highland. For more info: parks.ny.gov/parks/frannyreese/maps.aspx
Norrie Point, Staatsburg
This 2.5 mile shoreline hike along the Hudson River is a great family outing. Parking is available at the Staatsburgh State Historic Site (Mills Mansion). The hike passes a stone boat house, the gardeners house, and a view to the Esopus Meadows Lighthouse. When you're finished with the hike, you can explore the grounds of the Mills Mansion which offers tours and special events through the holidays. 9 Old Post Road, Staatsburg. For more information go to parks.ny.gov/parks/millsnorrie/details.aspx
Barnes Mine and Lake Welch Loop, Harriman State Park
A five mile loop hike travels via woods roads and footpaths that pass an old abandoned iron mine and through the site of a hamlet that was flooded to create Lake Welch, ending at a historic 1880 stone church. Barnes Mine is located on the southern slope of Pole Brook Mountain in Harriman State Park. The mine is on a 17-acre parcel bought in 1846 by Isaac Barnes. Barnes Mine ceased operating about 1880. Lake Welch was started in 1928 on what was then known as Beaver Pond. Sandyfield was a settlement of about 30 houses that was submerged when swampy Beaver Pond was dammed to create the 216-acre lake by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission. Hikers parking at St. Johns Road in Stony Point, Harriman State Park, parks.ny.gov/parks/145. -- contributed by Carlos Gonzalez
Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, Irvington
The OCA runs for 26 miles, from the Croton Reservoir to Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. This segment begins at Main Street in Irvington (look for the trail near the old elementary school) then heads north to Lyndhurst National Historic Site before you double back to Irvington. There's parking available on the street and in several lots. The well-packed dirt path is a quiet oasis, skirting estate properties, everyday houses, and woodlands with peeks of the Hudson River between the trees. You will be sharing it with walkers, joggers and folks on bikes. At Lyndhurst, walkers will see the estate's Gothic Revival mansion and it massive greenhouse, a 19th century bowling pavilion, and some centuries old beech and weeping willow trees. If you want to add a few steps, continue north on the OCA and you'll come to an ideal viewing spot for the Gov. Mario Cuomo Bridge before heading back to Irvington. There are tours available of the mansion and grounds. Go to lyndhurst.org. For more information on the Aqueduct, go to parks.ny.gov/parks/oldcrotonaqueduct/details
Alfred B. DelBello Muscoot Farm, Somers
If you have the kiddos in tow, this is an excellent option for both a good walk with nice scenery and the opportunity to visit some of the farm's resident animals which include cows, pigs and chickens. Muscoot is an early-1900s interpretive farm that is open year-round, but it also offers more than seven miles of hiking trails through fields, woodlands and wetlands. Trail maps are available in the reception center. There's a large, unpaved parking lot. Park is open daily, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. year round. Route 100, Somers. For more info, go to parks.westchestergov.com/muscootfarm
Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Sleepy Hollow
We know, this sounds weird, but every year, after Thanksgiving, this is where my family would walk off dinner! There are miles of paved roads and others made with crushed stone leading into the more historic areas of the cemetery which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Those who are into history, will find themselves scrolling on cellphones to learn more about those interned in some impressive final resting places, from Andrew Carnegie to IBM's Thomas Watson; see if you can find the modest final resting place of Paul Warburg, once among the world's wealthiest men and the reported model for the Daddy Warbucks character in the "Little Orphan Annie" cartoon strip. The Pocantico River runs through the property which is also a certified arboretum with 28 species of trees including Black locust, White spruce, Eastern hemlock, Austrian pine, Black birch, and Black cherry. 540 N. Broadway, Sleepy Hollow. Open daily, with all gates closed at 4:30 p.m. For more info, go to http://sleepyhollowcemetery.org