Piermont is a cool little town. It sits on the southwestern edge of the Tappan Zee, the wide spot on the Hudson River that forms a sort of a quasi-lake near the NY/NJ border.
It has cool restaurants and shops, a bunch of expensive new condos and marinas full of fancy boats. But it also has neighborhoods filled with charming little houses and people who have lived there since long before the hipsters arrived.
The pier that gives the town its name is now a park where people can walk out and enjoy the views up and down the Hudson. It’s location and ambiance makes it a destination for road bikers from the city on summer weekends. People love Piermont; pretty much all people.
I love Piermont too but not for its restaurants or it’s charm. For me it’s just the closest spot to my home to get my kayak into the Hudson. It’s not a bad spot to paddle either. Piermont Marsh and Sparkill Creek offer a measure of protection from the waves and winds. The paddling there is gentle enough that the guy who rents kayaks also offers row boats and canoes. From the marsh you can turn south and make your way down to the New Jersey shore or paddle out past the pier to turn north towards the bridge.
Over the years I’ve probably explored every inch of this part of the river but until now, always did so solo. Somehow, I’d never brought Junior to paddle around Piermont. Piermont was the spot where I could put in, get a workout and be back to whatever I was supposed to be doing.
This weekend, I finally got around to showing Junior the waters around Piermont. There are a few different places where you can launch. We used a secret locals’ spot that put us into the marsh and made our way out to the river. Paddling along the southern side of the pier was easy going. Lots of people were out walking and biking. It was a typical weekend afternoon.
We pushed out into the Hudson. The narrowing of the river by the pier always make the water right there a little choppy and Junior wasn’t happy that I led him into. We made it around the end of the pier and paddled back toward town on the north side. This side of the pier is more exposed then the south side.
It was a bit wavy but not too bad, just some gentle rollers being pushed southward across the Tappan Zee by light winds. We explored the marinas and checked out the dockside restaurants. After poking around I suggested heading back. The return trip was smooth. We were back in the quiet of the marsh in no time at all.
I would have shown Junior the upper bits of Sparkill Creek but high tide prevented us from making our way under a bridge. When the water is lower you can paddle pretty far upstream. The high tide also complicates landing at the locals’ spot but I managed to get out of my boat without capsizing. I pulled Junior’s bow up onto shore so he could get out more easily. In no time I’d retrieved my truck, we loaded the kayaks onto the roof and we were on our way home.
We were on the water over two hours and the whole thing, door-to-door, took us less then half a day. For adventure in your backyard, paddling the Hudson never fails to satisfy. It’s nice having such a valuable resource so close to home.