Sculptures & Fall Foliage At Storm King Art Center

Ah, fall. That time of year where I start compulsively scouring the foliage report and playing that fun game called, just how many layers do I need today and can I get away with wearing flip flops? I can make peace with the latter when the former tells me that colorful leaves are ablaze – as it did this past weekend! Mid-October is too early to see much color in NYC, but a quick drive north into the Hudson River Valley at this time will transport you to a world of orange and yellow: where drivers are courteous, shop keepers are genuinely friendly, and seasonal goodies like cider and pumpkins can be procured straight from the source (i.e. not at a corner bodega in Brooklyn).

The Hudson River Valley is brimming with day trip opportunities and weekend getaways from NYC year-round, but for maximum charm it’s best enjoyed in the fall. Last year my friends and I took the train up to check out The Great Jack-O-Lantern Blaze. This year, we embarked on a mini-roadtrip up to Storm King Art Center, stopping along the way to sample some cider doughnuts (as in, doughnuts made with apple cider – BRILLIANT) and do some leaf peeping (i.e. I would shout out ‘OMG can we please pull over?’, then run out with my camera and 70-200mm lens and shoot the bejesus out of the foliage before us).

T’was an excellent day. Here’s a peek at our amble around the fall foliage at Storm King Art Center!

Fall foliage at Storm King Art Center

Fall foliage at Storm King Art Center 

Storm King Art Center

There are two main reasons to pay a visit to Storm King Art Center:

  1. To admire (puzzle over) the modern outdoor sculptures scattered about the 500 acre property
  2. To enjoy the beautiful grounds and perhaps have a picnic on them

I can tell you right now that I fell squarely into Camp #2. The sculptures were fine, but mostly befuddling to me (I had one too many ‘Is this art?!’ moments). Most of them were swarming with people who felt compelled to pose on, in, or beneath them for photos, making it damn near impossible to get a decent shot of any sculpture unless I waited for them to disperse. But why wait when I could be frolicking in fall leaves instead? You see my point.

Fall foliage at Storm King Art Center

Fall foliage at Storm King Art Center 

We’d stopped at a supermarket on the drive up to grab some fresh grub for a picnic. Despite being accosted by no less than 3 different sample station folk and having bags of cookies literally shoved at us (“You will eat these tonight!”), we walked out of the store with just bread, cheese, and prosciutto. See what I mean about people outside the city being so friendly?

We picnicked just by the Storm King Wall, an utterly impressive stone wall curving like a ribbon downhill to the lake. We could have picked one of the numerous other picnic-friendly spots on the grounds, but this one had the pretty wall and an empty bench. Midway through nomming, the wind picked up and blew the remaining bread and fillings ONTO MY LAP. {insert bellowing laughter here}

Fall foliage at Storm King Art Center

Fall foliage at Storm King Art Center

Fall foliage at Storm King Art Center 

I’d been most looking forward to frolicking in the Wavefield, at the southern-most point of the park – but to my dismay, it didn’t quite look as photogenic as I’d envisioned. I glumly traipsed through the sculpted wave-like hills (there are 7 in total) while everyone and their grandpa (seriously) jumped, cartwheeled, tumbled, and/or did absurd things for the sake of a photo. Then I turned around, saw an empty wave backed by colorful trees and glorious sunlight, and immediately flipped my switch on. ‘YOU GUYS, STAND OVER THERE!’. Mini-photo shoot ensued. I’m just like all those photo-taking fools, aren’t I?

Fall foliage at Storm King Art Center

Fall foliage at Storm King Art Center 

I thoroughly enjoyed exploring Storm King Art Center and wandering through the fall foliage all over the park. Though the sculptures didn’t wow me, I did appreciate the juxtaposition of random art looking rather tiny on the massive grounds. I definitely recommend Storm King as a day trip from NYC – especially in the fall!

Fall foliage at Storm King Art Center

Fall foliage at Storm King Art Center

Fall foliage at Storm King Art Center 

Frugal Facts

As of October 2014 —
Storm King Art Center is open Wednesday-Sunday from April through November. Admission is $15/person. There is a free tram that runs on a loop around the park about every half hour, which you can hop on or off at any time.

Storm King is most easily accessed by car via an hour-long drive from NYC, but you can also book a bus trip with Coach USA or take a NJ Transit or MetroNorth train to the Salisbury Mills station and then cover the remaining 3 miles by cab. (See directions)

Lindsay Buckley is the photographer and travel blogger behind Frugal Frolicker. She's a New Yorker currently based in Sydney, Australia, documenting outdoor travel experiences Down Under and beyond. Follow along with Lindsay's travel photography on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to sign up for the monthly Frugal Frolicker newsletter!

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  • Wonderful photos (as usual) and I agree, the best way to enjoy the fall foliage is to leave NYC and head upstate. I have never heard of this place, but it looks lovely!

    • lindsaypunk

      Thanks, Chanel! I hadn’t either until I started doing research for this year’s fall excursion, but apparently it’s quite well known? Would definitely recommend!