props to the palisades parkway

palisades sign

It wasn’t until living in Nyack that I had the pleasure of driving on the Palisades Parkway. This 38 mile stretch leads north from the George Washington Bridge in NYC, through part of New Jersey, and back into New York through Rockland and Orange Counties, up to the Bear Mountain Bridge in Fort Montgomery, NY.

It’s not often that I develop a fondness for… a road. But this one is a little different, mostly because of the contrast it provides from the chaos of the city. It’s scenic. It’s relatively smooth. It’s conspicuously traffic-free.

driving on the palisades

It is the route Rob and I usually take in and out of NYC and it makes the commute seem both quick and fairly painless. Even when there’s traffic on the GWB, (and there almost always is) this drive always takes under an hour and we have even clocked it at less than 40 minutes on several blessed occasions.  We both love the city, so it was a bit frightening to move away from it to seek more living space, but this road makes it feel as if we are still close. In fact, we affectionately call it The Driveway. True, it’s an extra long driveway and has a rather hefty toll on one end of it, but at least we’re not in charge of shoveling this one.

As you drive onto the Palisades Parkway from the GWB, you almost feel as if you are entering another dimension.

GWB Palisades

The change in scenery is almost laughably abrupt. As in, “Where am I? Wasn’t I in the concrete jungle just 45 seconds ago?” In the summer, the trees are verdant and lush. The birds are singing. In the fall, the trees provide breathtaking curtains of vibrant color on either side of you. Even in the middle of winter, it’s a pretty drive:

Palisades Parkway view

The parkway was built in stages in the 1940’s and 50’s. Some of the land was donated by John D. Rockefeller.

Rockefeller Lookout

Along the way, there are several scenic overlooks with vistas of the Hudson River, Westchester County across the river, and of New York City to the South. The National Park Service has designated it as a national landmark and the state of New Jersey had designated it as a scenic byway. Indeed, these views are spectacular, even on a darkish day.

view from Palisades

This is all to say that the Palisades Parkway is as much a destination as it is a handy local thoroughfare. So you can imagine my delight when we were out in Columbus, Ohio to visit my in-laws last month and stumbled upon this vintage souvenir pennant pillow at a store called Peacock Lane Home in Worthington:

bloomsbury loft pennant pillow

Of course I couldn’t resist purchasing it for our guest room. This was made by Judith Mercado of Bloomsbury Loft. She describes her colorful vintage creations as, “A little bit of gypsy and a little bit bohemian.” You can check out more of her pillows, wreaths, and even reclaimed cuckoo clocks (!) at her Bloomsbury Loft Etsy Site.

Do you have a favorite road/street/highway/driveway?

7 replies

  1. Love this post and I pictured myself driving The Driveway too. Oh, and I visited that etsy shop & fell in looooooove with those cuckoo clocks! Even pinned one to my pinterest. haha

  2. Ahhh, the driveway….it really makes driving into the city such a pleasure – and if you get off on exit 4 while heading north – turn left and stop by the Palisades Market for a treat!!! That place reminds me of some old stomping grounds in CA.

  3. Totally agree, J. I used to take the Palisades a lot, but now the GWB is $12 – I just can’t bring myself to pay it. But I do bring myself home that way. I’ve noticed that cell phone reception often disappears and re-appears while driving it. Adds to the feeling of remoteness. Oh, I love the scenic lookouts at night too. Very jealous of your pillow.

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