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The Hudson River Valley and Dutchess County

The Hudson Valley extends 150 miles above the tip of Manhattan. Designated as a National Heritage Area, the valley is steeped in history, natural beauty, culture, food and farmers’ markets.

Colonial Era the first Dutch settlement was established at Fort Nassau, a trading post south of modern- day Albany, in the early 17th century, with the purpose of exchanging European goods for beaver pelts.

During the French and Indian War in the 1750s, the northern end of the valley became the bulwark of the British defense against French invasion from Canada via Lake Champlain.The valley also became one of the major regions of conflict during the American Revolution.

19th Century following the building of the Erie Canal, the area became an important industrial center as the canal opened the Hudson Valley and New York to commerce with the Midwest and the Great Lakes.

The region is associated with the Hudson River School, a group of American Romantic painters who worked from about 1830 to 1870. The natural beauty of the Hudson Valley has earned the Hudson River the nickname “America’s Rhineland” a comparison to the famous 40-mile (65 km) stretch of Germany’s Rhine River valley between the cities of Bingen and Koblenz.

Tourism became a major industry as early as 1810, as elite visitors frequented the mineral waters at Ballston Spa and Saratoga Springs with convenient steamboat connections from New York City, and numerous attractive hotels in romantic settings.

The Hudson River is navigable for a great distance above mile 0 off Battery Park. The original Erie Canal connected the Hudson with Lake Erie enabling shipping between cities on the Great Lakes and Europe via the Atlantic Ocean. The Hudson Valley also proved attractive for railroads, once technology progressed to the point where it was feasible to construct the required bridges over tributaries. When the Poughkeepsie Bridge opened in 1889, it became the longest single-span bridge in the world. On October 3, 2009, it re-opened as a pedestrian walkway over the Hudson, connecting over 25 miles of existing pedestrian trails.

Winemaking the Hudson Valley is the oldest wine making and grape-growing region in the United States, with roots established as early as 1677. The Hudson Valley is home to many wineries offering wine-tasting and other tours.

Dutchess County is 800 square miles of natural scenic beauty, historic and cultural landmarks, and outdoor recreation. Stroll the Walkway Over the Hudson. Tour and taste along the Dutchess Wine Trail. Explore the homes of FDR and Vanderbilt. Taste new creations at The Culinary Institute of America. Fill the pantry at farm markets. Cruise the Hudson River.

Historic Estates Museums Presidential Libraries and Hiking Trails

Explore FDR’s Home, Presidential Library and Museum, with two floors of new interactive exhibits. Tour Dia: Beacon and a city-wide celebration of the arts. Vassar’s Loeb Art Center invites you to stroll its galleries free of charge. Shop for treasures in village antique shops or specialty shops. The Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum. Observe native birds and wildlife while hiking, including 30 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Ramble or cycle three Rail Trails, including the Walkway over the Hudson State Historic Park, the world’s longest pedestrian bridge!

Hudson River Valley Scenic and Historic Walking Tours

Biking, Walking Driving Itineraries and outdoor adventures in Dutchess County and the Hudson River Valley. Outdoor recreation includes biking, hiking, horseback riding, golf, kayaking, parasailing, archery and skeet shooting.

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Mid-Atlantic Rivers Canals and Trails

in the Hudson Delaware and Susquehanna Valleys

The Hudson Valley extends 150 miles above the tip of Manhattan. Designated as a National Heritage Area, the valley is steeped in history, natural beauty, culture, food and farmers’ markets. The first Dutch settlement was established at Fort Nassau, a trading post south of present-day Albany, in the early 17th century, with the purpose of exchanging European goods for beaver pelts. During the French and Indian War in the 1750s, the northern end of the valley became the bulwark of the British defense against French invasion from Canada via Lake Champlain.The valley also became one of the major regions of conflict during the American Revolution.

Dutchess County is 800 square miles of natural scenic beauty, historic and cultural landmarks, and outdoor recreation. Stroll the Walkway Over the Hudson. Tour and taste along the Dutchess Wine Trail. Explore the homes of FDR and Vanderbilt. Taste new creations at The Culinary Institute of America. Fill the pantry at farm markets. Cruise the Hudson River. 

Rockland County is located just 30 miles north of New York City and is known for its quaint villages, spectacular river views and outdoor recreation with 32,000 acres of parklands dotted with sparkling lakes and streams rushing down to the Hudson. Miles marked trails lead right to the foothills of the Ramapo Mountains. 

Coal Iron Steel and Canals of the Delaware and Lehigh Valleys

The Delaware and Lehigh five county region of Northeastern Pennsylvania developed in the late 18thCentury as a result of the anthracite mines, the iron and steel industries, and the canals that were built to reach Philadelphia and other markets. 

165 miles of nature history preservation recreation and education

From its origins as a means to transport anthracite coal from the mines of Luzerne and Carbon County to the markets in the Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia, the D&L Trail is now a multi-use trail originating from the mountains of northeast Pennsylvania through the rivers and communities of the Lehigh Valley and Bucks County. 

Philadelphia the Brandywine Valley and Wilmington Delaware

In Philadelphia, the waterfront is now a walking and biking destination which covers 6 miles. Trail features include streetscape improvements along the entire waterfront trail, a bi-directional bikeway, pedestrian walkway and rain gardens that will collect the first inch of storm water, relieving the city sewer system during major weather events, as well as benches and bike racks, decorative street pavers, and innovative solar trail lighting.

The Christina Riverfront is one of many reasons for exploring the Delaware culture trail; cruise in a water taxi or stroll the landscaped Riverwalk. Wilmington was the last stop to freedom on the Underground Railroad; the Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park is named for Underground Railroad Conductor Harriett Tubman and Stationmaster Thomas Garrett.

Brandywine Creek is a tributary of the Christina River in southeastern Pennsylvania and northern Delaware. The 20.4-mile Lower Brandywine is a designated Pennsylvania Scenic River with several tributary streams.

Harrisburg and the Susquehanna River Valley

The Susquehanna River is 464 miles (747 km) long and is the longest river on the US East Coast. With its watershed, it is the 16th-largest river in the United States, and the longest river in the continental United States without commercial boat traffic today. In the Canal Era, navigation improvements were made to enhance the river for barge shipping of bulk goods by water on the Pennsylvania Canal.

Harrisburg, the Capital of Pennsylvania, was inhabited by Native Americans as early as 3000 BC. Known as Peixtin, the area was an important trading post for Native American traders, as trails leading from the Delaware to the Ohio Rivers, and from the Potomac to the Upper Susquehanna intersected there.

An Architectural and Heritage Itinerary

Downtown Lancaster offers a unique experience with historic buildings of different architectural styles and periods and three centuries of civic, commercial, religious, social and architectural history. A leisurely walk can be accomplished in less than an hour. 

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Washington County Maryland

Arts Entertainment and a Civil War Legacy

Hagerstown located in Western Maryland it features a distinct topography, formed by stone ridges running from northeast to southwest through the center of town defining its neighborhoods. These ridges consist of upper Stonehenge limestone; the older buildings were built from this stone which is easily quarried and dressed onsite. Several of Hagerstown’s churches are constructed of Stonehenge limestone; brick and concrete eventually displaced this native stone.

Hub City German immigrant Jonathan Hager built the first house here in 1739 and began laying out the town in 1762. Hager House still stands as a carefully preserved museum, giving visitors a window to the 18th century. The National Road brought growth and the railroads intersecting here gave it its nickname, “Hub City.” The largest Civil War cavalry battle fought in an urban setting happened here.

City Park offers 50 acres of beautiful outdoor space and Hagerstown City Farmers Market sells crafts and baked goods as well as homegrown produce from area farmers.

The Arts & Entertainment District is home to the Maryland Theatre’s year-round performances and events, including Maryland Symphony Orchestra concerts. Hagerstown is also home to the Western Maryland Blues Fest. The Washington County Museum of Fine Arts is in scenic City Park.

The Hagerstown Cultural Trail links the Arts District with City Park and Fine Arts Museum

A Transit Center, Hagerstown is the chief commercial and industrial hub for a Tri-State Area that includes much of Western Maryland as well as portions of South-Central Pennsylvania and Eastern West Virginia.

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Washington County is home to many quaint towns, including:

Boonsboro founded by relatives of Daniel Boone and situated along the main road to Hagerstown and Frederick. Historic markers explain the National Road, Civil War battles, and quaint shops line Main Street including author Nora Roberts’ bookstore and bed and breakfast.
Clear Spring is located 12 miles west of Hagerstown. The historic National Pike which once linked the port of Baltimore to the western frontier of Ohio, runs through the center of town. Area attractions include Knob Hall Winery, Whitetail Mountain Resort, the C&O Canal and Fort Frederick State Park.

Explore the C&O Canal Towpath and the Western Maryland Rail Trail

Civil War Legacy Sharpsburg was the place where two massive armies clashed, leaving 23,110 dead, wounded, or missing. Every building overflowed with the wounded and dying. After the Civil War, its population declined; today, it has fewer than 700 residents, many direct descendants of families here during the Civil War. The Antietam National Battlefield and the Antietam National Cemetery are part of Sharpsburg, and nearby museums such as the Pry House Field Hospital Museum attract international symposiums. Smithsburg played a role in the Civil War, when residents helped care for wounded soldiers after the battles of Gettysburg, Monterey, South Mountain, and Antietam.

Williamsport is located at the confluence of Conococheague Creek and the Potomac River. When the C&O Canal opened in 1834, it evolved into a thriving waterfront town. It was also once considered a potential site for the United States’ capital.

Williamsport is the Finish Line for the JFK 50 Mile the Oldest Ultra-Marathon in North America

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East to West Rails and Trails

The Great American Rail-Trail is the nation’s first cross-country multiuse trail, stretching more than 3,700 miles between Washington, D.C., and Washington State. This infrastructure connects thousands of miles of rail-trails and multiuse trails, serving those living along the route as well as visitors from around the country and the world.

A unique experience away from vehicle traffic, with gentle grades, for all types of trail users, from long-distance cyclists and runners to casual daily explorers developed in partnership with state agencies, nonprofits, volunteers and trail partners country wide to ensure a contiguous and direct route.

A nation connected by trails

The gateways to the Great American Rail-Trail:

D.C. and Maryland’s Capital Crescent Trail    D.C. and Maryland’s C&O Canal Towpath

West Virginia and Pennsylvania’s Panhandle Trail    Ohio’s Ohio to Erie Trail

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Indiana’s Cardinal Greenway    Illinois’ Hennepin Canal Parkway    Iowa’s Cedar Valley Nature Trail

Nebraska’s Cowboy Recreation and Nature Trail    Wyoming’s Casper Rail Trail

Montana’s Headwaters Trail System    Idaho’s Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes

Washington’s Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail

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The Great American Rail-Trail is a signature project of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, the nation’s largest trails organization—with a grassroots community more than 1 million strong—dedicated to connecting people and communities through a nationwide network of public trails, many from former rail lines. The “Great American” is the most ambitious project in its TrailNation™ portfolio—the organization’s initiative to encourage the rapid replication of regional trail networks across the country.

Rails and Trails USA

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Environmental and Historical Tourism

Food Wine and Craft Beer Trails in US North East Towns

The Northeast Region of the United States corresponds to the original northern colonies that founded the country. Besides its illustrious history and culture, the region is a trend setter on the technological and environmental fronts along with agricultural innovations and unique, local food, wine and craft beer traditions.

Vermont is agriculture and industry, heritage museums and historic sites, small towns and downtowns where visitors and residents find the distinctive local businesses, historic buildings, and rich cultural and social activities that form Vermont’s special sense of community. These authentic and attractive downtowns and villages are widely recognized as a key part of the state’s allure.

Rockland and Piermont are located just 30 miles north of New York City and are known for quaint villages, spectacular river views and outdoor recreation with 32,000 acres of park lands dotted with sparkling lakes and streams rushing down to the Hudson. Miles marked trails lead right to the foothills of the Ramapo Mountains. The Hudson Valley extends 150 miles above the tip of Manhattan; a National Heritage Area the valley is steeped in history natural beauty culture food and farmers’ markets.

Upstate New York is home to city and country settings, high-tech industries and natural wonders. Drive through the Catskill Mountains and reach the Corning Museum, the world’s largest glass museum featuring a contemporary art and design wing; experience live hot glass demonstrations of glass objects made by artists and hands-on exhibits highlighting science and technology.

The Finger Lakes and Watkins Glen State Park, site of 19 waterfalls and a gorge. Seneca Lake is a long slender lake with wineries along both sides. From Geneva, on the north shore of the lake, you can head east towards Syracuse and visit Destiny USA, sixth largest shopping destination in the United States.

Rochester is a world-renowned American city and home to George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film inside the home of Kodak’s founder.

Cruise or Walk though Historic Villages along the Erie Canal

North East Atlantic Travel Destination Services

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Environmental Tourism

Some communities have been in the forefront of land conservation, historic preservation and arts movements that celebrate the land, landscapes and water resources management initiatives. 

Local Culture in the Lehigh Valley draws from the Moravian settlements experience, a broad cultural environment in which music, art, education and religious tolerance flourished, as evidenced by the communal dwellings, churches and industrial structures.

The Brandywine Valley facing an industrial development that would impact a largely rural community, focused on Development & Conservancy Issues, including floodplain areas that threatened to devastate water supplies in parts of the Delaware River Valley. 

In Philadelphia the waterfront is now a 6-mile walking and biking destination. Trail features include streetscape improvements, a bi-directional bikeway, pedestrian walkway and rain gardens that collect the first inch of storm water, relieving the city sewer system during major weather events, along with benches, bike racks, decorative street pavers and innovative solar trail lighting.

Center City offers a thriving culture and entertainment scene as well as a contemporary arts museum with training programs and study tours for students, aspiring artists and traveling families.  

Historical Tourism

Bucks County is one of the three original counties created by William Penn in 1682. Pennsbury Manor stands on the point of land formed by the Delaware River between Morrisville and Bristol. Painstaking research went into restoring the prim-fronted, three-storied, brick manor-house, rebuilt on the original foundations.

Lehigh Valley Allentown was a rural village founded in 1762 by William Allen, Chief Justice of Colonial Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court. By 1829 Allentown expanded from a small Pennsylvania Dutch village of farmers and tradesmen to a center of commerce. With the opening of the Lehigh Canal, many canal workers made their homes here. 

The Lehigh Valley Gave Birth to America’s Industrial Revolution

Loudoun County Virginia is renowned for rolling hills of farms and vineyards, pastures filled with grazing horses, and the Blue Ridge Mountains; it is also just 25 miles from Washington DC.

Leesburg has seen significant history from 1758 and has a well-preserved downtown historic district with stunning 18th and 19th century architecture. It also a shopping and dining venue and features historic sites such as Gen. George C. Marshall’s home, Dodona Manor and Ball’s Bluff Civil War battlefield.

Middleburg, known as the capital of Virginia’s horse country, has been welcoming visitors since 1787. It is also a shopper’s delight, with home furnishing and antique stores, boutiques and more; a stroll through this historic hamlet is a unique experience. Middleburg has hosted iconic American personalities such as Jackie Kennedy and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

  history geology hydrology fishing and the environment

The Eastern Shore of Maryland is comprised of nine counties with a population of nearly 450 thousand. The term Eastern Shore distinguishes a territorial part of the State from the land west of Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake and Delaware Canal was a shallow canal with locks after its construction in 1829; it was deepened in the early 20th century to sea level. The north-south section of the Mason-Dixon Line forms the border between Maryland and Delaware.

Environmental and Historical Tourism in the US North East

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Milan Monza and Lake Como

Water History Food Fashion and Design

Unlike most European and world leading cities, Milan was not settled on a river or by the sea, but in the middle of the Po River Valley. Hence, Milan’s is a history about water and how water was brought to the city. The concentric layout of the city center has been influenced by the Navigli, an ancient system of navigable and interconnected canals, now mostly covered.

Water History and Leonardo Da Vinci

A Source of energy for transportation and as a defense system throughout the centuries.Leonardo Da Vinci spent his most productive years in Milan, and his activity as an engineer crossed with the water history of the city; marks of his activity are still visible after hundreds of years. Water, sustainability and Leonardo are the threads that unify the different epochs in the city’s history and this part of Italy.

Traditions and Innovations in Energy and Water

Classical Milan the old Roman city of Mediolanum, and the more hidden parts of Milan, will connect the visitor with old artisan shops, the new Museum of Cultures, Villa Necchi Campiglio and the Last Supper.

Shopping and Design Milan is a global capital in industrial design, fashion and architecture. It is also a mecca for food lovers.As the commercial capital of Italy and one of Europe’s most dynamic cities, it accounts for the lion’s share of the fashion trade, with some of the most renowned fashion houses headquartered here. Its upscale fashion district- il quadrilatero della moda – and La Galleria, the world’s first shopping mall, offer the best shopping opportunities anywhere. 

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The Royal Villa in Monza has its own history dating back to the middle ages with a Royal Villa and the surrounding Monza Park. Recently restored the villa rivals in size and quality Versailles and Caserta’s Royal Palace. Behind the Royal Villa, Monza Park is the largest walled park in Europe. You may be already familiar with it as the racetrack where the Monza Formula 1 Grand Prix takes place every September.

Lake Como Bellagio is a cozy old village where the two branches of the lake converge in a narrow Canyon and where the water is still feeding an old-fashioned power plant. Isola Comacina is an old settlement with ruins dating back from the middle ages, and a terrific view of the Lake. The road back to Milan is via the Strada Regina – Queen’s Road – along the lakeshore and an opportunity to look at some gorgeous villas, including George Clooney’s residence.

Traveling to Milan Monza and Lake Como

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A Journey into the Venetian Past

Venice Isles Food Wine and History

A Walking Itinerary of the most famous sights, including St Mark’s Square and Basilica, the Rialto Bridge, the Doge Palace and the Ponte dei Sospiri.

Venetian Cooking Class our expert cook will teach you how to prepare the local dishes and entertain you by analyzing the intriguing fragrances, the exotic origins of some ingredients, the cooking processes as well as answer your questions about the products being used. Classes are held in a Palazzo apartment in Venice or in a Liberty Villa at the Lido beach, a fascinating bathing resort with tall trees and gardens traversed by several canals. 

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Venice wine tasting in a typical bar or in an ancient Palazzo on the Grand Canal, held by a professional Sommelier presenting various wines, accompanied by intriguing stories about local history, as you experience the lifestyle of a Venetian aristocrat.

Escape crowded Venice for a day and unwind on a trip to the islands of Murano and Burano for a rare glimpse into what Venice used to be; a community of traditional artisans where skills have been passed down from one generation to the next for centuries.

Murano’s Ancient Art of Glassblowing

Burano is famous for its lace making and for the colorful houses crammed along its canals, so painted by fishermen who wanted to spot their homes from a distance. Visit a small building where women sit stitching lace the old-fashioned way, just as their mothers and grandmothers did. Also, take time to admire the delicate lace in the museum, shop or wind your way along the kaleidoscopic streets.

Wine Tasting enter the fascinating Venetian back country and discover the Regional Park of the Euganean Hills, a natural area dotted with small villages, vineyards and typical osterie. Visit a family-owned wine cellar and taste its sparkling wines and the local genuine products. Experience the amazing ancient village of the Poet Petrarca, unchanged since the 14th century.

Journey into the Venetian Past