Visit the Hudson River Valley
[ NEW YORK, NY - NYC - 10/30/2009 - www.Littleviews.com ]
>> When vacationing, its "location location location" that matters. And when you vacation in New York, you definitely will have a wide-range of locations to enjoy.
The purpose of this article is to acquaint you with the scenic wonderland that follows the shores of the Hudson River, starting on highway 9 West, which begins just north of Fort Lee, New Jersey.
You might want to "discover" the Hudson River Valley by simply driving up one side, then down the other, stopping where your interests lead you. You'll find that many of the towns you pass are quaint, state and local parks are inviting, small museums are entertaining and informative, and truly homemade food is quite tasty! (The reason you can find tasty, homemade food in this area is that franchise restaurants are generally limited to larger cities, such as Kingston.)
As you drive north along 9 West, you'll see mountains in all directions, reinforcing the fact that you are truly in a valley. Small bridges abound along this route, as well as vistas of massive bridges that span the Hudson River itself.
Cruises - by the week or day
The best way to acquaint yourself with the river, of course, is by boat. If you own a boat, even a small, trailable boat, access to the Hudson River is easy. If you don't, you can choose from among numerous, public boating options.
If you adore long river cruises where you experience the interplay of light on the water throughout the day and the surprises each turn of the Hudson River reveals, spend a week on one of American Cruise Line's vessels (www.americancruiselines.com). Their fall, peak color adventures combine cruising on ships like the American Spirit, above, with guided shore tours and dining. This particular vessel was docked for the afternoon at Kingston before heading out for its next port of call.
Note: Littleviews represents the American Cruise Lines.
If you want to spend just a few hours on the river, many river towns (including New York City) offer day cruises, some complete with dinner. Pictured above is The River Rose, one of two ships owned by The Pride of the Hudson Boat Cruises & Charters (www.prideofthehudson.com) that operate out of Newburgh.
The Commander, a famous 1917 steam boat pictured above, is another example of a day cruise boat, most of which operate between May and October. For a complete list of day cruise companies, visit the Historic Hudson River Tours site at www.hudsonriver.com/cruises.htm. For more information about the historic Commander, visit Hudson Highlands Cruises at www.commanderboat.com.
Places to Visit
The pictures for this article were taken over two and a half, non-consecutive, bright, sunny days during a peak color period between October 12th and 24th.
The Bear Mountain State Park, one of the most popular in the nation, is amazing and surprising year round. When we visited on Saturday, October 24, for example, we were passed on a trail by hundreds of people happily chugging beer from huge steins in celebration of Octoberfest. This was a "tasting" event as tastings are meant to be!
The City of Newburgh is just north of West Point and south of the Catskill mountains. Its beautiful riverbank features ferry crossings, river tours, the vista of the Newburgh Bridge (I-84), numerous riverfront restaurants, a clean public rest room, and a large park with scenic views. The best time to visit is during the summer season and on fall weekends when travelers enliven the area.
Kingston was the first capital of New York in 1777. Today, it features several historic areas, including the port on Rondout Creek that is now home to the Hudson River Maritime Museum (www.hrmm.org) and The Mathilda (pictured above), one of the ships on exhibition.
Vistas of the Catskill mountains and valley area abound, attracting artists and photographers alike throughout Kingston and nearby Esopus. If you perfer humorous shots, however, have your friends pose behind one of four characters that stand next to the Hudson River Maritime Museum.
Kingston's port, which is particularly busy in the summer and on fall weekends, is located in an attractive historic district where you'll find good restaurants and interesting shops. Through the end of October, you can also collect stacks of Hudson River tour information from a large, well-stocked visitor's center, as well as ask the center's volunteers questions.
Catskill's docking area at the Historic Catskill Point is located just south of the Rip Van Winkle Bridge (I 23) and across the river from a lush, hardwood forest.
This October, the Greene County Council of Arts transformed a barn at the Catskill dock into The Wall of History, giving the building the look of an 1800s art gallery. Paintings, rendered in a number of different styles, are displayed on all exterior walls. All depict great moments in Greene Country's history, with Don Boutin's "Rip Van Winkle" over the main door in honor of the famous snoozer who enjoyed napping in the Catskill Mountains (then called the "Kaatskills"). The gallery is open during the season and during special events.
Peebles Island State Park:
Just north of Troy is the Pebbles Island State Park, which sits at the junction of the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers and marks the official beginning of the Erie and the Champlain canals. The development of these canals brought tremendous wealth via shipping to Albany, Troy, and their surrounding communities, making the area, at one time, the wealthiest in the nation.
Running out of time to take pictures, we zipped through Albany, the capital of New York State, in order to reach Peebles Island State Park and Troy before sunset. When you visit this area, however, I recommend that you slow down to explore historic Albany.
New York State supports 169 parks, 35 historic sites, and thousands of campsites, beaches, and golf courses. If New York enjoyed year round warm weather, it would be a destination that could compete with tropical islands in terms of natural scenery and the abundance of water in the form of rivers, lakes, gorges, waterfalls, and ocean coastlines in the Long Island area.
Questions? Ask Karen at Karen@littleviews.com
Article by Karen Little. Photos by Karen and Philip Little. First published on 10/30/2009. All rights reserved by www.Littleviews.com.