The property sits atop the first highest point east of Hudson on Route 23 affording panoramic views of the Catskills to the west and unobstructed views all the way to Albany, the Adirondacks beyond, and the Green Mountains of Vermont. Views to the south are also possible but there’s a very special cedar forest on the south-facing slope I have not had the heart to cut down.
The glory of the mesmerizing views is that they are never the same and are always changing with the weather, time of day, and time of year.
The wide-open views are one thing, but the clear 6-acre spring fed lake provides recreation in the form of swimming, fishing, ice skating, and observing nature. It’s deep so there are no weeds. It’s where deer go to drink and the birds go to find good eatings. Fish and turtles are plentiful. There’s a small rowboat for exploring every shore and aspect of the lake. A swimming float makes things even more fun and serves as a platform for camping while floating under the stars. Speaking of fish, on many days you can watch them jump out of the water to catch dragonflies and water bugs. No matter what the day, there’s something happening at the lake. In July, the fireflies put on an amazing light show, filling the trees on the south shore with their flickering light.
Before I moved to Claverack I lived a stone’s throw from the Rockefeller estate in Pocantico Hills, NY, which is crisscrossed with beautiful riding and buggy trails that are open to the public. I wanted the same on this property and built a number of trails, including rustic bridges across streams and wet spots, and made them wide enough so that two people and a child could walk comfortably abreast, maybe even holding hands. The result is a network of pathways suited for walking, hiking, horseback riding, 4-wheeling, and mountain biking.
Previous owners had plans for the property at different times — an RV campground, a housing subdivision, multi-family housing. Interior roads were built using tons of shale. The result is that much of the property can be accessed by car and all of it can be easily accessed by Jeep or other capable 4-wheeler. There’s one of those available for you to see it all for yourself.
The property is a nature preserve. Deer, hawks, turtles, bobcats — animals and insects including butterflies, dragonflies, and bees live here harmoniously. The property is located in a migrating bird flyway. Every year, we are treated to a fantastic, seemingly choreographed aerial display by flocks of blackbirds. It is a birders paradise with songbirds, owls, ducks, geese, and herons present in season.
More than a mile of stone walls provide evidence that this land, like almost all the land in Columbia County, was cleared and farmed in the 1800’s. The walls provide housing for fox, bobcats, chipmunks and probably not a few snakes. Don’t worry, there are no poisonous snakes native to Columbia County.
Stone Crafted Culverts
A least expected feature is stone crafted culverts created by a former owner, an engineer, who envisioned an RV park. There are eleven of these on the property, part of interior roads intended to serve RV campsites. The campground business never happened but the infrastructure meant to support it provides easy automobile access to the eastern half of the property.
On the south side of the hill going down to Route 23, there exists a magnificent stand of cedar trees. In the words of a forester I asked to evaluate the stand, “cedar doesn’t get any better than this.” A walk in this part of the property is magical as it is always dark, cool, still, and especially quiet. The canopy is so dense that snow often just sits atop the trees and never makes it to the ground.
I’ve never seen a fairy by my daughter says she has on a quiet hillside where rock outcroppings provide excellent shelter for fairies and other fanciful creatures. Growing up here influenced her tremendously and she’s now a crew leader with the National Forest Service in Colorado.
Babbling Brooks, and Vernal Pools
There is a stream that runs year-round and a number of vernal pools that give life to water-loving creatures in the spring including tiny frogs called “peepers,” that noisily signal spring’s arrival.
The entire western boundary of the property abuts the Won Dharma retreat center whose 500+ acre property is almost entirely conserved land so there is no chance it will be developed. The eastern boundary borders the Ambrose farm that’s been in the family for decades.
Peace and quiet abound everywhere on the property. Perfect for meditation and contemplating nature.
It is said there is underground water everywhere in Columbia County and this property is no exception. In fact, there are three wells, drilled by a previous owner who wanted to make sure there was enough water for the housing complex they had in mind.
The property abounds with deer that need annual harvesting to keep the undergrowth from being demolished and unsuitable for other game such as pheasant and grouse. I am not a hunter but friends from downstate NY hunt every year and always make their quota.
Route 23 Access
Access to a major thoroughfare like Route 23 is an advantage, especially in the winter. This is the entrance from Rt 23.
Proximity to the City of Hudson
One can’t say enough about the way Hudson has come along in recent years. Art venues, music, events, restaurants, cafes, antiques, and people have made it a “hip” destination.
Cable TV and Internet
If you are thinking of living on the property, there is one feature it’s hard to live without — a good and reliable internet connection. Fortunately, Mid-Hudson Cable provides both cable TV and internet service. In fact, the property is the last one serviced along Rte 23 east of Hudson.
Taconic Parkway, Amtrak, and Albany International Airport
The Taconic Parkway is 4 miles to the east and Amtrak is 6 miles to the west. Hudson is just two hours from New York City, and Albany International Airport is less than an hour north.