Mohawk Valley Hilltops + ADD NEW ROUTE
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Begin the route at the Stewarts Shop on NYS Route 5 in Glenville, NY, across Route 5 from the NYS Route 103 bridge over the Mohawk River. Turn right out of the parking lot and head west on Route 5.
After several miles, turn right onto Cranes Hollow Road (you will see Valentino's Restaurant on a hill to your right shortly before reaching the intersection). Turn left on to McQuade Road, and follow it to its end at Truax Road. Turn right on Truax Road, and follow it across NYS Rt. 67 (where it becomes Church Street).
Continue north on Church Street into the village of Hagaman. In Hagaman, take a left on to Main Street, a right onto S. Pawling Street, and a left onto Mill Street. Follow Mill Street out of Hagaman. After crossing NYS Route 30, take a left on McKay, and then your first right onto McDonald Road. Turn right on NYS Rt. 67, and take the first left on to Sacandaga Road.
Follow Sacandaga road into the hamlet of Tribes Hill where it meets Rt. 5. Turn right (west) on to Rt. 5. Turn right onto NYS Rt. 334 in Fonda. In Sammonsville, bear left onto County Rt. 116, take your first left onto County Rt. 116A, and then turn right onto Indian Road. Bear right onto Stone Arabia Road (County Rt. 34) and follow this to its end at Route 5. Turn right onto Rt. 5 and stop at the Parkside Drive in an St. Johnsville for a bite to eat.
This route runs up, down, and sometimes across, the rolling hills along the north side of the Mohawk River. Riders will encounter a variety of scenery as a result. The eastern part of the route winds through thickly wooded hollows cut into the hillsides by clear-running mountain streams. Farther west, the route is flanked by farmland with wide cornfields and quaint farmhouses spreading as far as the eye can see. The hilltops and ridges in the Stone Arabia area west of Fonda provide expansive views of the gorgeous Mohawk Valley. These features combined make this a great ride at any time of year, but the scenery is at its peak in fall when the valley is shrouded in hues of red, orange, and yellow. Riders beginning this route early on a fall morning between mid-September and mid-October will also be treated to views of the Mohawk Valley wrapped in a blanket of fog.
The roads along this route are generally kept in good condition. The types of roads encountered vary greatly. NYS Route 5 ranges from a 4-lane in the eastern end of the route to a well maintained 2-lane road in the route's western end. Route 5's surface is generally smooth and free of potholes, complete with many sweeping curves. The many narrow back roads on this route are also of generally good quality and not well traveled, save for the occasional farm tractor or Amish horse-drawn buggy. The twisties are found mostly in the eastern end of this route, the best examples being Cranes Hollow Road just east of Amsterdam, and NYS Route 334 between Fonda and Sammonsville. There is truly something pleasing for folks of each and every riding style along this route.
My favorite thing about this route, other than the great roads and outstanding scenery, are the little Mom and Pop shops and Greasy Spoons that line it. Traveling east to west, you will first pass the Wolf Hollow Brewing Company's headquarters on NYS Route 5 in Glenville. Wolf Hollow is a microbrewery which only recently opened a brewpub along the route. Stop in to WHBC's taproom on a Thursday or Friday night, or a Saturday afternoon, to enjoy a pint of their delicious local brews. Or, fill your growler from one of their taps and take some of that deliciousness home with you!
Farther west in Sammonsville lies Wemple and Edicks, a true country store that dates back over 100 years. Feel the world around you slow down a bit as you enjoy a cider donut, ice cream or other dessert, or homemade apple cider on the store's front porch overlooking Rt. 334. Stop by Wemple and Edicks during the third weekend in September for their Fall Festival.
St. Johnsville, situated on Rt. 5 at the western end of the route, is chock full of great roadside eats. Stop at the Parkside Drive-In on the east side of town for great burgers, sandwiches, and ice cream. Further west down Main Street, right in the center of town, is Grandma's Kitchen, home of hearty breakfast dishes available on the cheap (I dare you to find a place that serves 2 eggs with home fries, toast, and coffee for less than $2.49). Further west, on the outskirts of St. Johnsville, lies Beardslee Castle, a great dinner spot. Built in 1860 as a replica of an Irish castle, Beardslee Castle offers fine cuisine in a unique setting. I strongly recommend grabbing dinner in the Dungeon Bar and Grill in the castle's basement. Beardslee Castle also offers Murder Mysteries on several weekends in October.
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