Warwick, NY: Where a Drive-In meets a Cidery
I entered into New York a couple times on the trail (meaning the trail snaked back and forth between NJ and NY a bit before finally deciding to announce to us that we were “officially” crossing over), and then immediately I had the chance to do something I had been looking forward to since I was first told about weeks before… the Warwick Drive-In
The Warwick Drive-In
I was excited for New York off the bat because for a while on the trail, I had heard of the Warwick Drive-In, a drive in movie theater that lets hikers camp on a hill behind the parking lots, and will even give the hikers radios to listen into the movies. Down in San Diego, we have one last drive-in and it is one of my favorite places to go. Drive-in movie theaters hold a special place in my heart, not only because 1)they are just flat out cool–an objective fact, and 2) I went there often growing up, so I have fond memories, but because I love the fact that for half the cost of a movie theater you get to see double the number of movies! I love saving money!
Sadly, Warwick is not on the trail, which means hikers either need to hitch or call a shuttle. I have always wanted to hitch hike, but before this, in my life I never felt I could. So I told myself when I started on the AT that this trail was my chance to hitchhike. I want to be safe about it, and I had good conversations with other female hikers on the trail and we thought out ways we would politely decline if a car pulled over and we got bad vibes about the driver (one idea we had that I think is clever, is to know a destination in either direction on the road. One is the destination you are actually trying to get to, the other can be anything, as long as it is in the opposite direction. If a car pulls over and, upon taking a closer look, I feel uncomfortable with the idea of hitching with that driver, I will ask if they are going towards the destination that is actually in the opposite direction. Ideally, this will lead them to say they are headed in the opposite direction and then you can opt to not hitch with them. No harm no foul. But at the end of the day, I feel obligated to add that all hikers, female or not, should feel that we can turn down the offer of a hitch, and we do not need to explain ourselves. It may be weird and uncomfortable, but it is important we prioritize our safety).
Any who. Long story short=I hitched into Warwick 🙂 sorry Mom+Shauna, but I am telling you now! I felt exhilarated as the second car I gave my thumbs up to pulled over. The door opened and I saw a relatively clean car and a man in his mid 50’s. I had a good vibe, my phone’s location sharing with a couple of friends, and my hand near my Garmin GPS’s SOS button for extra measure, as I climbed in the car.
A quick seven-minute hitch and a nice conversation later and I was dropped off at the drive in where I set up my tent before wandering down to the grocery store for a resupply and some fresh food.
On top of all that, Warwick has a local apple orchard/cidery, Pennings Farm Cidery! and for those of you who know me, I LOVE CIDER. So Warwick was a dream come true for me (not only did the orchard have this attached cidery, but they had a mini market where they sold homemade things like apple butter and homemade apple pies and really if one let themselves and one was, let’s say starving because for the last few weeks all they did every day was hike… then one could really end up spending quite a lot of money there… theoretically speaking of course)
On top of how amazing Warwick was for us hikers, was that this location turned out to be a place where a lot of my new hiker friends ended up. For one, I have been on-and-off hiking with two other hikers who started around Harpers Ferry: Paddington and Milkman. Then, a few days back, on one sad and rainy evening, I dragged myself up a mountain and to a shelter where I discovered a tramily of ~8 people. All had friendly smiles and I quickly felt like I could sit and talk with them all night. The tramily had formed quickly down south and stayed relatively consistent all the way up to New York! One of them was carrying along a mandolin, one was from Israel, and one had also studied Geology in undergrad! After that shelter, I expected them to blast on past me (they seemed to be hiking many more miles than me daily), and so I was pleasantly surprised when I wandered into the cidery to find them sitting around a table. In their midst was a section hiker, Gyatso, who had bought me a sandwich in New Jersey (remember from this post) and whom I bonded with over Avatar The Last Airbender (comment if you love the show too).
It is hard to explain just how good it feels to do something normal (or in the case of the Drive-In + Cidery combo, something special that I do not even normally do in regular life) after being out hiking day after day. You feel grubby, tired, gross, and exhausted, and then for half a day you get to do this special thing, often with fellow hikers whom you have been running into on the trail. It turns these fellow hikers into friends, and an activity that could be average or mundane, into a special memory.
That night, sitting back as we ate fresh food we bought from the grocery store and check each other’s heads for ticks, watching the new Spider-Verse movie, is definitely going to be one of those special memories for me. Please watch this video to see what the vibe was as the sun started to set and all us hikers began to settle in for the movie.
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