- Ana Barreto
- Poets' Walk Park in Red Hook
Between work, family, money, and the mounting political turmoil, stress is a daily reality for many people. Hudson Valley local Ana Barreto—author of the book Women, Rice and Beans: Ten Wisdoms of a Brazilian Mother for Daily Easy Flow and Conscious Living—wants to help you unwind so you can be your best, calmest self at any time of the year.
Barreto is a proponent of walking meditation for stress release and a much-needed time-out from our go-go modern lifestyle. A form of meditation that connects you with nature and offers the added health benefits of movement, walking meditation involves walking mindfully and paying attention to every leaf, branch, bird, or flower that you meet along the way.
"When you spend 15 minutes in nature, you will get your gas gauge out of the reserve. Spend 30 minutes in nature and it will fuel your Self to full capacity. Add another 15 minutes and you just created an additional reserve to help you ride the days of high stress,” says Barreto.
Here are Barreto's top five spots for walking meditation in the Hudson Valley, along with her personal tips for how to enjoy them to the fullest:
Lyndhurst Castle, Tarrytown
Tucked away in Tarrytown, this 67-acre estate on the Hudson River—once the country home of railroad mogul Jay Gould—is usually discovered by brides planning a wedding or visitors attending one of the few annual events. The mansion has its charms, but the grounds are a great example of 19th-century landscape design and the perfect location to connect with nature on a walking meditation on well-established trails. The estate is open year-round and closes at 4 p.m. daily.
Innisfree Garden, Millbrook
Another hidden gem, Innisfree Garden was the brainchild of landscape architect Lester Collins. Be prepared to be amazed by the one of the world’s best gardens. There are 42 garden elements to walk to and meditate on, chairs and benches to give you more time to contemplate, and water, rocks, trees, and birds—all elements to heal, recharge, and refuel your body, mind, and spirit.
- Mariana Xavier
- Vanderbilt Mansion grounds in Hyde Park
Vanderbilt Mansion, Hyde Park
The country home of Frederic and Louise Vanderbilt is one of the best walking meditation parks to visit. With 200 acres leading to the Hudson River, there are multiple trails that can satisfy all levels of fitness and build a meditation practice. Every tree, bush, and flower was metrically planned by Frederic. The results are an immense amount of greens, gardens, and views of the Hudson and the Catskills that transport you in time and drive you to plan your next visit.
Mill’s Mansion, Staatsburg
Also known as the Staatsburg State Historic Site, the mansion was the country home of Ogden Mills and Ruth Livingston, and the grounds are a popular destination on snow days for sledding the hills facing the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains. Hiking the hard-packed trails is best from spring through fall (avoid wet days unless you plan to get a bit muddy). The trails parallel to the river require some caution, but they offer the best views and access to the water.
Poets' Walk, Red Hook
With 120 acres and two miles of easy-to-walk trails, this park delivers on its name as the perfect place for inspiration. Stroll through meadows and woods, and pause to sit on benches offering optimal views of sunsets, trees, the Hudson River, and the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge. The park is not busy and opens daily at 8:30 a.m. year-round.
Learn more about Ana Barreto and her inspirational self-help book Women, Rice and Beans: Ten Wisdoms of a Brazilian Mother for Daily Easy Flow and Conscious Living at ana-barreto.com.