There’s nothing better than a cold beer and a plate of warm food at the end of an autumn hike.
The food isn’t great. And I recommend steering clear of the bean and rice burger.
But don’t you love it when a long trail hike ends where a little restaurant or pub stands, especially in the gathering cold and dusk of a fall evening?
Warm lights beckon from the inside big, wooden Bear Mountain Inn — the perfect place to grab a beer or an Irish coffee, and a post-hike light meal or sandwich at the Blue Roof Tapas Bar.
Today I parked on 9W south, past the entrance to Bear Mountain State Park in the off-road pull-out (GPS: 41.183.0, -73 598.7 ), walked fifty yards south to Iona Island Road, and then walked across the lonely causeway, through the phragmite forest on both sides, to the island proper.
A man was playing recordings of bird calls, in order to draw migrating birds closer, and his wife waited in the car. Another pair of men — strangers to each other, they said — stood at the edge of the railroad track that cuts through the island. They were waiting to photograph the next passing freight train as it came thundering through. Trainspotters. They use their smartphones to communicate with a network of other trainspotters up and down the west Hudson train lines, always on the lookout for unusual locomotives.
After spending some time on the island, and with the sun and temperature sinking, I retraced my steps, hiked back to Bear Mountain Inn and went upstairs to the little bar for a sandwich and an Irish coffee.
I won’t complain about the strange, starchy bean-and-rice twosome, because the fries were excellent and the service was friendly and speedy, and because a bar at the end of the trail is a welcome thing indeed.
The Blue Roof Tapas bar serves lunch (11-3) and dinner (5-9), with a “lighter fare” menu from 3-5. They only serve from the “lighter fare” menu on Monday and Tuesday from 3-9 pm. There is a full bar.