Looking for a unique spot to propose? Look no further than Ulster County, where, with the right bit of planning, you'll find beautiful outdoor settings guaranteed to leave your love starry-eyed.
Few things are more romantic than a covered bridge. Ulster County has five of them, and all but one are open to the public.
Romeos seeking these quixotic locations need not travel too far: There's one 10 minutes outside of New Paltz in the town of Esopus. Perrine’s Bridge, a 154-foot single span Burr Arch bridge built in 1844 and fully restored in 1992, is perched over the Wallkill River on Route 213 as it heads toward Kingston. Closed to vehicular traffic, its convenient parking lot and lovely little park make this the perfect spot to ask for someone’s hand on a moonlit night.
Directions: From NYS Thruway Exit turn left onto Route 299 West/Main Street. Remain on Main Street. At fourth light turn right onto Route 32 NY/North Chestnut Street and continue for 4.9 miles. Turn right onto Route 213 East. Parking is on the right, and the park is on the left.
Located on the grounds of the Ashokan Center in Olivebridge is another easy-to-find historic covered bridge. The center is a green, sustainable learning community dedicated to allowing visitors to experience nature, history and the arts. It also happens to host weddings. The bridge, a town Lattice, 62-foot long, single-span structure crossing the old channel of the Esopus Creek, was built in 1889 and moved to its current location in 1930.
Directions: From NYS Thruway Exit 19 at the traffic circle take the third exit to NY-28 West for 11.5 miles to the hamlet of Shokan. Turn left at Winchell’s Pizza onto Reservoir Road. Follow road across Ashokan Reservoir Bridge and turn left at the ‘T’ onto Monument Road. Stay on Monument Road/Route 28A to second left (past DEP Police Station) onto Beaverkill Road. Continue for 1 mile to Ashokan Center.
Located in the tiny hamlet of North Seager, Tappan Bridge can be found southeast of Arkville off Dry Brook Road, crossing Dry Brook. Built in 1870 by Jerome Moot this King Truss, 43-foot long, single-span bridge is open to vehicular traffic with a few pull-offs nearby for parking.
Directions: From NYS Thruway Exit 19 Kingston at the traffic circle, take the third exit onto NY-28 W to Arkville to Dry Brook Road. Remain on Dry Brook Road/County Route 49 for 8.5 miles. Bridge will be on left.
Grants Mill Bridge
The Grants Mills Bridge, on Mill Brook Road just across the Delaware-Ulster County line, is also in Hardenburgh. Built in 1902 and completely rehabilitated in 1992, this 66-foot historic covered bridge is closed to vehicular traffic. Parking spaces near the bridge make this an easy place to access.
Directions: From NYS Thruway Exit 19 Kingston at the traffic circle, take the third exit onto NY-28 West for 35.0 miles. Turn left onto County Road 49A/Gelli Curci Road (see signs for Belleayre Mountain). Remain on road for 1.5 miles to a slight left onto High Mount-Mapledale Road. Take that 0.2 miles and continue on onto County Road 49A/Gelli Curci Road for 1.6 miles. Take slight left onto Todd Mountain Road and follow for 2.2 miles to a left onto County Road 49/Dry Brook Road Remain on Dry Brook Road for 1.4 miles. Turn right onto Mill Brook Road for 3.3 mile. Bridge will be on right.
In addition to historic covered bridges, Ulster County has two romantic shelters, which look like but are not actually, authentic covered bridges. The easier of these to access, The Friendship Manor Covered Bridge, serves as the entrance to the Belleayre Mountain Day Use Area at the base of Belleayre Mountain in the hamlet of Pine Hill. The 72-foot-long, single-span carries Lake Street over Birch Creek.
The other, Meyers Bridge, is a mile from the Tappan Bridge. Directions: From NYS Thruway Exit 19 Kingston at the traffic circle, take the third exit onto NY-28 West for 33.0 miles. Turn left onto Friendship Manor Road, then right onto Lake Street.
More Romantic Spots
Awosting Falls at Minnewaska State Park
New Paltz, NY 12561
With three crystalline sky lakes, 35 miles of carriage trails and 50 miles of footpaths, pretty much any place here is a great place to propose, but by far the most breathtaking is Awosting Falls. Just a short walk from the main entrance is a 60-foot waterfall dropping off into a rock shrouded pool surrounded by the forest.
Ice Rink at Mohonk Mountain House
1000 Mountain Rest Road
New Paltz, NY 12561
800-772-6646 or 845-255-1000
This 9,375-square-foot refrigerated ice rink is one of the largest in the Hudson Valley and is located under a beautiful wooden pavilion. The 39-foot-tall stone fireplace at one end is a perfect place to cuddle up before asking the question.
5340 Route 28
Mt. Tremper, NY 12457
Why not take your sweetie to the world’s largest kaleidoscope located at the Emerson Country Store at The Emerson in Mount Tremper? Catch one of their stunning Kaleidoshows that run Thursday, Friday, Sunday, and Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Visitors recline on the floor in the dark and enjoy the mesmerizing sites created by this incredible kaleidoscope. When the lights come on, have the ring out: The love of your life is sure to be stunned by more than just the show.
Another Unique Idea
181 Galli Curci Road
Highmount, NY 12441
800-942-6904 or 845-254-5600
Whether in front of a crackling fire or on top of a snowy peak, there is no shortage of opportunities to propose at this classic resort. Take a romantic ride on the Catskills' only gondola or enjoy an off-season activity before leading up to the big moment.
Photo of Perrine’s Bridge courtesy of John Fischer.