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    North of NYC North of NYC By Houlihan Lawrence By Houlihan Lawrence by

    Fall is upon us and pending Mother Nature stops hurling buckets of rain at us we'll soon be able to enjoy the reds, yellows, oranges and browns this season is so famous for. According to's Fall Foliage Report, Dutchess, Putnam and Westchester counties are midway through the changing of leaves and will experience their peak in mid to late October.

    "In Dutchess County, foliage spotters expect 30-35 percent leaf change with bright and gold leaves. Westchester County in White Plains predict 35 percent change with lots of bright golds and reds."

    Some people drive through the countryside to watch the change unfold before their eyes, while others hike, run a 5K or participate in numerous festivals and events to celebrate. Here are some of our top picks to help you get into a "fall" frame of mind.

    Drive: If you prefer sightseeing by automobile, take a drive down Peekskill Hollow Road in Putnam County. Untouched by commercial development, Peekskill Hollow Road stretches from Kent through Putnam Valley to Peekskill. The drive will take you through winding roads, rolling hills and groves of trees providing a perfect setting for leaf peeping. If you're willing to cruise a little longer drive through the Rivertowns via routes 9D and 9. Sleepy Hollow and Irvington have a rich Halloween history so stop by at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Phillipsburg Manor or Sunnyside on your way.

    Hike/Walk: Westchester County Parks will host their annual Fall Foliage Walk at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation on October 20 beginning at 10 a.m. Westchester's largest park, Ward Pound Ridge Reservation offers 4,315-acres of natural beauty and miles upon miles of wooded trails. Runners can participate in the second Fall Foliage Half Marathon and 5K Race in Rhinebeck on October 14. The run begins at Starr Library and a portion of the proceeds will benefit The Michael J. Fox Foundation and The Northern Dutchess Hospital Foundation. Also, visit Walkway Over the Hudson to see the river cut through a beautifully-transformed landscape from above.

    Festivals: Each Saturday and Sunday for the rest of October, Thunder Ridge Ski Area will open its door for its Fall Festival Weekends--get a bird's-eye-view of fall foliage from Thunder Ridge's chairlift. On October 13, Muscoot Farm will host its Autumn Celebration, with "music, games, hayrides, and crafts along with blacksmithing demonstrations,  famous farmer's market and a 'Bounty of Baskets' in the Main House." Head south this Saturday for "Aquefest" at the Old Croton Aqueduct with The Riverstown Roll and The Aqueduct Run.

    Visit Eventful Magazine, and Dutchess County Tourism for more events and information.