Beacon Free Loop
Dutchess County, despite for the most part being quite rural, has a pretty substantial bus system. There are sixteen routes in total; six fixed routes radiating out from Poughkeepsie, one fixed route from Beacon to Hopewell Junction, six shuttles running exclusivley in the City of Poughkeepsie, two "RailLink" shuttles to train stations, and lastly this, the Beacon Free Loop bus. Aimed mainly at tourists, this route is a free figure-8 loop around the City of Beacon, starting at the Metro-North station, and serving Dia Beacon, Main Street, Mount Beacon, Forrestal Heights, and then looping back to the station. The route runs six days a week, with buses running roughly every half hour the whole day, except for breaks between 9:40 and 10:25 AM and between 2:35 and 3:35 PM. So, this route has great potential! But, is it any good in practice? Let's find out now!
I boarded the bus at Beacon Station, and we pulled out of the station, turning right on Beekman St and heading uphill. We passed the entrance road to Dia Beacon, then turned left onto Wolcott Av. We continued down Wolcott Av to Main St, starting the figure-8 loop.
The bus at the station
Turning onto Wolcott Av
We turned right on Main St, and passed some really cool-looking stores, cafés, and restaurants. (Check out the Nearby and Noteworthy section below for some reccomendations!) We passed the post office, continued for a little longer on Main St, then turned right on Tioranda Av.
A café on Main St
Turning onto Tioranda Av
We entered a residential neighborhood on Tioranda Av, but soon turned left on Wolcott Av, crossing the Beacon Line and Fishkill Creek, and passing some single-family homes. We soon turned right onto Howland Av, passing the parking lot and trailhead for Mount Beacon, and beginning the other side of the figure-8 loop.
Crossing over the Fishkill Creek
The parking lot for Mount Beacon
We continued up Howland Av, in the more suburban part of Beacon, but soon turned left on East Main St. We passed a few businesses, and crossed the Fishkill Creek again, this time overlooking the Fishkill Falls. We then crossed the Beacon Line (again), and turned left back onto Main St.
Help, suburbia has invaded
A waterfall in the middle of a town!
Main St soon turned right, and we passed the former Matteawan station, now a bunch of shops. We passed more of classically-Beacon trendy shops, cafés, and restaurants, before turning left onto Teller Av. This is kind of a deviation, but since the bus does already serve the other side of Main St, it isn't the end of the world.
A shop on Main St
Turning onto Teller Av
Anyway, we headed down Teller Av, passing endless single-family homes, then veered right onto Wolcott Av. We passed by Forrestal Heights, which is (I think) the point of this quasi-deviation, then passed a really crappy-looking strip mall, and turned north, back towards Main St.
Hey look, it's a bog-standard single-family home! So interesting! (/s)
Why, just why, is there a strip mall HERE?
We started retracing our steps at Beekman St, but we continued north of Main St, and turned left on Beekman St to access the train station. We turned right on West Main St, and headed down the hill to the station, ending the route.
Turning left on Beekman St
B ACON STA I N
The bus back at the station