Now I don't really consider this a hike so much as a nice stroll through the woods followed by short ramble up a stone path next a stream, the most daunting section of the trail was the walk back up the stairs that leads you down to the path. So with that said, it was a nice little refreshing treat after scrambling up Anthony's Nose last weekend. The Dover Stone Church has an almost ethereal quality to it, it feels almost as if you stumbled into some fantasy realm where hobbits and elves are a foot to bring the one ring back to Mordor. I might be taking the analogy too far, but you get my drift, there are very few places like this in the Hudson Valley and Catskills, which just makes it stand out all the more for its unique beauty. It's definitely a place I intend to go back to.
The cave also has historic importance as the historical area marker points out that Pequot Sachem (aka chief) Sassacus fled from the English and their native allies, the Mohegan and Narragansett Amerindians, during the Pequot Wars of 1637. While fleeing from his enemies after the Great Swamp Fight in present day Connecticut, Sasasscus fled to present day New York to seek help from the Mohawk (during part of that time, the Sachem and a small band of men found a safe haven by hiding in the cave), who instead of helping, killed Sassacus and sent his scalp to the English. It truly is an interesting read, as the Pequot Wars started out of a trading disagreement and just kept escalating with some truly horrifying consequences as settlements where burned to the ground and battles waged.
Eventually the Stone Church became a tourist attraction around the mid 19th century as painters, sketch artists and those looking to wed at a unique destination flocked to the site. The cave is now owned by the town of Dover Plains and is opened for the public during normal park hours and is a great place to go on a sunny afternoon, enjoy a picnic lunch and see a unique Dutchess County landmark.
To learn more about the Dover Stone Church, click HERE.
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