During a recent trip to the Hudson Valley, I decided to go for a bike ride along the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail from New Paltz, NY to Kingston, NY. That leg of the trail — which is about 13 miles in total — crosses gushing rivers and weaves through lush forests. But around the halfway point — seemingly out of nowhere — I came across a pizza place. It’s called Rail Trail Cafe. It’s part of Larsen Family’s Stone Mountain Farm. And yes, it’s accessible by car. But it’s more fun to arrive on two wheels for a perfect mid-point snack or meal.
What’s Unique: Pretty much everything is unique about this place, starting with its location along a bike trail. It felt like it popped up out of nowhere in the middle of the woods. Orders are taken in a trailer and then hand delivered to the kitchen, which features an oven that looks like it belongs in a Tim Burton film. The seating area contains mismatched furniture strewn across a shaded area in the woods. You couldn’t ask for a cooler setting to enjoy a pie on a nice spring day.
What To Eat: The menu changes regularly based on what’s in season and the produce comes from local gardens and farms. When I was there in the spring, pies ranged from “The Simple” (tomato, mozzarella and basil) to the more creative — like the “Red & Green” containing pesto, romano cheese, caramelized onions, marinated red cabbage, and dill sour cream. Another funkier sounding pie was the “Curry” featuring sweet potato curry sauce. I opted for the “Shitake” pie featuring pesto, caramelized onions, fresh greens, shitake mushrooms, mozzarella, and romano cheese. It was far from the best pizza I’ve had — and suffered from a flatbread-like crust. I appreciated the fresh ingredients although a heavy hand of cheese overshadowed the onions, which were barely noticeable.
What To Know Before You Go: Rail Trail Cafe is only open seasonally, on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. If you do drive, you can actually rent a bike on site through Happy Trails Bike Rental. For a short, leisurely ride, head north 1.5 miles to the Giant’s Ledges Trailhead, lock your bike to a tree, and take a 0.75 mile hike up to a stunning vista overlooking the Shawangunk Mountains. By that point, hopefully you’ve worked up an appetite. It’s time to head back to Rail Trail Cafe and enjoy a pizza or two.