Rt. 443 and Thatcher Park + ADD NEW ROUTE
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Rt. 443 begins in Albany as Delaware Ave at the corner of Lark St. & Madison Ave (US 20). You can follow it west out of town or avoid Albany entirely by taking the Thruway to Exit 23 and taking US 9W to Rt. 32 south (Delmar Bypass, a divided hyway). Then take a right on Elm Ave in Bethlehem and left at Delaware Ave to get back on Rt. 443 west. To get to Thatcher Park, turn right on Rt. 85 east and bear left on to Rt. 157 (look for signs pointing to Thatcher Park). To get back to Rt. 443, stay on Rt. 157 and go straight onto Rt. 157A. Rt. 157A merges with Co. Rd. 252 by Warners Lake, follow 252 to Rt. 443 and make a right to continue west to Rt. 30. To bypass the construction near Schoharie by way of Co Rd. 1B, go left on Factory St. in Gallupville which becomes Pickett Hill Rd. and make a right on to Co Rd. 1B/ Rickard Hill Rd. To get to Co.Rd. 1B from a little further west, turn left on Debritko Rd. and right on Co Rd 1B.
Rt. 443 takes you from the urban congestion of Albany west across the beautiful Heldeberg Mountains to the placid Schoharie Valley. Along the route are rolling hills, gorgeous farm fields, and several calm small lakes. No trip through this area would be complete without a stop at John B. Thatcher State Park. From the park's overlook perched atop a 1,000 foot-tall cliff, vistors are treated to the most expansive views of the Capital District anywhere. 50 mile views are possible on a clear day placing the Green Mtns, the Berkshires, and the foothills of the Adirondacks in firmly in your field of view.
Rt. 443 alternates between 50 mph sweepers and twisties for most of its route. The majority of the twisties are on the western end of the road (East Berne to Schoharie). However, Rt. 443 is really slow going in Delmar, Bethlehem, and the South End of Albany because of the number of lights so avoid that end of the road by taking the Delmar Bypass (Rt 32) out of Albany. As of 9/2010, the intersection with Rt. 30 north of Schoharie is under heavy construction which you can avoid by taking Co. Rd. 1b into Schoharie, accessable by taking a left in Gallupville or on Debritko Rd. just to the west. Otherwise, Rt. 443 is an outstanding road. Rts. 85, 157, and 157A are also first-class roads both in terms of riding excitement and surface quality.
There truly is something for everyone along this route. Lots of gas stations and little eateries in the small towns line route and can be found in the surrounding area. In Albany, 443 begins at the end of Lark St., Albany's city within a city. Lark St. is chock full of great restaurants, bars, other amenities and can't be passed up. On the western end, check out the George Mann Tory Tavern just east of the intersection with Rt. 30 for a dining experience in a historic mansion from the colonial period. Thatcher Park is great for picnics and hiking. Be sure to walk the Indian Ladder Trail, a skinny path along the base of the cliffs which passes under a waterfall. Also, the lakes around Thatcher Park (Thompson, Heldeberg, and Warner) are great for fishing, swimming, and canoing.
Special note: The speed limit is 55 when you get on Rt. 157 from Rt. 85 but it quickly changes to 30 when you enter Thatcher Park. Keep your eyes open for the change, its easy to ride Rt . 157 at 55 and above and miss the 30 mph signs and there are State Park Police cars hiding all over the place. Take it from me, its REALLY easy to get a ticket in that area!
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