Fresh apple cider flowed through a long pipe that ran the length of the walk-up counter. It had a dozen spigots. Each one required a simple twist to fill your cup.

Pushing through the creaky screen door to enter, mingled aromas of fresh fruit and raw wood perfumed the air inside the rough hewn farm stand. You found yourself surrounded by a profusion of color and abundance.

A great maple tree towered out front to shade you from the midday summer sun and in the fall its translucent lollipop orange leaves offered a glorious umbrella under which you could savor delicious apple cider donuts.

As a kid in New Jersey in the 1960s, Tice’s Farm in Montvale, NJ represented an irresistible destination for a backroad ride in the country. Even when stationed in the back seat of the family sedan, it promised a wonderful journey to a special somewhere else.

Today a similar drive to the Tice’s location finds a sprawling parking lot covered in asphalt, bricks and mortar, occupied by Athleta sportswear, Panera’s, Victoria’s Secret and many more familiar stores. A Hilton Hotel and an office park now occupy land once home to Tice’s orchard. But open road enthusiasts despair not. Within an easy morning’s journey new and similar memories can be born for the kid in all of us on…

The road to Sugarloaf.

Route 17 A – A sweet drive to Sugarloaf

Rocco Dairy Farm, Rt. 13 Warwick, NY

First, a shout out to Averell Harriman and the Harriman family who in 1910 donated the first 10,000 acres plus 1 million dollars to start what is now the 47,527 acre Harriman State Park in New York. Their effort made this ride worth your effort.

Heading west at the Route 17A entrance off Route 17 in Tuxedo, NY brings you into the western tip of Harriman State Park. Passing through the site of the “Renaissance Festival places you at the foot of a wonderful mountain populated with “Tail-of the-Dragon” quality switchbacks on both the ascent and steep descent through the forest. Early morning can find a bear or a deer sharing the road. It’s not Yellowstone but be aware.


Conclusion of your first descent puts you in the town of Greenwood Lake. Watch you speed.

Navigating though a brief patch of civilization will put you back in the woods and ascending Mt. Peter. While less circuitous than the first mountain road, 17A, here, crosses the Appalachian Trail with access parking available and offers stunning views of the Warwick Valley. One of the best locations to feast your eyes and treat your taste buds is the Bellvale Creamery. Here you can enjoy great ice cream while sitting on a grassy hill overlooking a spectacular vista. But wait there’s more, a special two for one bonus. From the same Creamery parking lot you can climb to the famous Mount Peter Hawk Watch observation station. Bring your binoculars, say hello to an eagle.

Bellvale Creamery


Descending Mt. Peter will bring you to a “T” intersection with NY Route 94. While Sugarloaf requires turning right, mention must be made of Pennings Farm Market located a few miles down the road if you turn left. A 100-acre farm with food, an excellent nursery, music, a bar and a great attitude, Pennings provides a worthy rest stop or destination. Across the street from Pennings can be found the Warwick Drive-in Theater.

For the trip to Sugarloaf, Turn right at the Route 94 intersection. This brings you into the very pleasant town of Warwick with its excellent shops and many fine restaurants.

Proceeding through town to Warwick Corners, an Exxon station sits at the fork. Route 94 continues to the left. Take the right leg of the fork, Route 13. Route 13 (Kings Highway) travels through mostly rural countryside as it meanders the six miles to Sugarloaf.

Sugarloaf offers a quirky assemblage of craft shops and galleries. A very comfortable environment for wandering about. For food, both the Sugarloaf Tap House with authentic rustic American fare and the Cancun Inn Restaurant offering Mexican American cuisine receive good reviews.

Sugarloaf, NY


For your journey home a very enjoyable two-lane through rural environs awaits  Shortly after leaving Sugarloaf and heading back to Warwick on Rt. 13 (Kings Highway) look for Bellvale Rd. on your left. Once you pass Bellvale Rd. look to your right for Ridge Rd. Blink and you can miss it. Make the right onto Ridge Rd. Follow this meandering blue highway till it “T”s at Rt. 94. Make the left onto Rt. 94. This will take you back to the center of Warwick where you can retrace your original route.


For the kids in your car or for the kid inside you, the “end of the ride, we are all a little tired, but we gotta stop here” farm stand experience, It’s Auntie El’s Farm Market and Country Bakery on Route 17 South in Sloatsburg.

Just as good as Tice’s apple cider donuts ever were, Auntie El’s apple cider donuts bring old memories to life with every bite. Auntie El’s delivers the goods and the goodies from which memories take shape and  traditions take root.

Auntie El’s, Rt. 17S Sloatsburg, NY