Have You Ever Visited Dover Plains’ Hidden Treasure — The Stone Church?
I had heard, for a while now, just how cool the Stone Church in Dover Plains was, but I had never been there. This past weekend, it was time to check it out.
I can't tell you how many times I have talked to members of the Mr. Morning & Suzy Country Nation who live in the Dover Plains area, and every one of them has mentioned the "Stone Church." So this weekend, my wife Mary and I decided to go check out this hidden treasure for ourselves. Now, talk about a hidden treasure. If you've never been there before, it's actually not the easiest place to find. There are currently no signs or markers on Route 22 to let you know you're there, or even close. I did GPS it, but that led us to a stone structure right on Route 22, but it was definitely not the Stone Church we were looking for.
After asking two different local people, we were given directions to walk down a nearby path between two houses and follow that into the back, where there would be a small sign for the Stone Church.
Finally, the sign was there, and so was our walk, which let us down a path lined with maple trees on each side. Then we made our way through a dirt trail, over a bridge, and onto a rock path. That's the point where you see this spectacular natural wonder that was formed some 10,000 to 20,000 years ago:
For those who don't know the history, according to townofdoverny.us, the Stone Church is an ancient cavern on the Stone Church Brook in Dover Plains that was formed when a giant ice sheet began to retreat from Long Island back to Canada and through time, erosion created a formation similar to a church’s cathedral stained glass window.
According to local legend, the site was a refuge for Pequot Sachem Sassacus and his warriors as they fled from the English Army in the 1600s. Then, in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Stone Church was made popular by newspaper and magazine articles, becoming a local attraction for New York City elite.
Here's a great video of the famous opening:
Beside the trail to the Stone Church itself, there are three other hiking trails that lead you around this 170 acre preserve. My wife and I both enjoy hiking through trails like this and we're both looking forward to going back for some more exploring.
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