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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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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

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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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New York City Transportation and Maritime Traditions

New York City is situated in the southeastern New York State at the mouth of the Hudson helping the city grow in significance as a trading port. The land has been altered substantially by human intervention, with considerable land reclamation along the waterfronts since Dutch colonial times.

Verazzano Narrows BridgeMass transit in New York City, most of which runs 24 hours a day, accounts for one in every three users of mass transit in the United States, and two-thirds of the nation’s rail riders live in the New York City Metropolitan Area. The iconic subway system is the largest in the world with 472 stations in operation and 1.76 billion passenger rides. Grand Central Terminal is the world’s largest rail station by number of platforms.

The Staten Island Ferry, largest in the world, carries over 23 million passengers on the 5.2-mile (8.4 km) route between Staten Island and Lower Manhattan, running 24 hours a day; other ferries shuttle commuters between Manhattan and other locations within the city and the metropolitan area.

Staten Island FerryThe Transport Infrastructure includes 12,000 Taxis and several Transportation Network Companies

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The Maritime Industry comprises deep-sea merchant ships, tugs and barges, port and terminal operations, pilotage, freight forwarding, chartering, intermodal services, admiralty law, passenger and excursion services, Great Lakes and inland waterways shipping, shipbuilding and repair, naval architecture and marine engineering, training, vessel classification societies, marine insurance and recreational boating. In New York State it is a $14 billion a year industry.

passenger ship transportation innovations  have been driven by the maritime industry

The Maritime Museum at Fort Schuyler is funded, staffed, operated and maintained though volunteer support and monetary contributions. Many Maritime College cadets volunteer time to serve as museum tour guides and provide exhibit construction and upkeep of ship models, historic artifacts, nautical photographs and prints of steamship companies.

tug and bargeThe Fort Schuyler Museum is housed on the campus of the State University of New York (SUNY) Maritime College at historic Fort Schuyler, The Bronx, New York. The center bastion is dedicated to the history of Fort Schuyler, completed in 1856, and the Port of New York-New Jersey, both of which have played major roles in the development of the region’s and the nation’s commerce.

The Evolution of Seafaring exhibit encompasses maritime history from the ancient Phoenicians to present day steamship companies and passenger ship lines, with information on Clippers, famous naval battles fought in the United States during the 1700s and 1800s and the technology in ship building tools and navigational equipment used throughout different maritime eras.

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Newburgh Port Jervis Kingston and the Hudson River Maritime Museum

Located in southeastern New York State, Orange County is directly north of the border with New Jersey, west of the Hudson River, east of the Delaware and northwest of New York City. Points of interest in Orange County include the US Military Academy at West Point, America’s oldest winery in Washingtonville, the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Goshen, the first cold press daily in the nation in Middletown.

Transportation the region is served by Stewart International, located west of Newburgh, and providing national and international flights. Ground transportation consists of bus service within Orange County and rail to New York City.

Liberty Street, Newburgh, NYNewburgh is situated on land that rises sharply to a bluff; many historic homes are located here with sweeping views of the Hudson river and highlands to the south. Newburgh’s preservation history can be traced to 1850 when Washington’s Headquarters was designated a state historic site, the first in the country. The city’s modern preservation efforts led to the development of a historic district the second largest in New York State.

Port Jervis is at the confluence of the Neversink and Delaware Rivers in the western part of the county and north of the Delaware Water Gap. Port Jervis industrial history includes a role in shipping coal to major markets to the southeast by canal and later by railroads as well as long-distance rail passenger service until 1970. Today, tourists pass through Port Jervis on their way to enjoying rafting, kayaking, canoeing and other activities in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

Port Jervis, NYThe Story of Mobility in America

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Kingston was New York’s first capital in 1777; in the 19th century, the city was a transport hub, with rail and canal connections. The city has three historic districts: Stockade, the Midtown Broadway Corridor, and Rondout West Strand downtown. Kingston Landing is a short navigable distance from the Hudson River and the point of reference for coal shipments and bluestone via the Delaware and Hudson Canal.

the roundout viewThe Hudson River Maritime Museum is located at 50 Rondout Landing at the foot of Broadway along the old waterfront. Its collections are devoted to the history of shipping and industry on the Hudson. In the early 1800s, four sloops plied the river from Kingston to New York. By 1829, steamers made the trip to Manhattan in a little over twelve hours, usually travelling by night.

Rondout ​Walking Tours highlight the industrial history of the region

Hudson River Maritime MuseumLectures include but are not limited to:

Keepers of the Light: Women Lighthouse Keepers of the Hudson River

19th Century Hudson River Industries

The Hudson River and Its Canals: Building the Empire State

Hudson River Steamboats and Tugboats

Lighthouses of the Hudson River

The Changing Mouth of Rondout Creek: Lighthouses, Barges, and Jetties

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The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal

The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal operated from 1831 until 1924 along the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., to Cumberland, Maryland. Construction on the 184.5-mile (296.9 km) course began in 1828 and ended in 1850 with the completion of a 50-mile stretch to Cumberland, rising and falling over an elevation change of 605 feet (184 meters) that required 74 locks. A planned section to Pittsburgh and the Ohio River was never built.

Boats in GeorgetownIn 1785, George Washington founded the Potowmack Company to improve the navigability of the Potomac River. His company built five skirting canals around the major falls. These canals allowed an easy downstream float; upstream journeys, propelled by pole, were harder.

Traders south of New York City began to seek their own transportation infrastructure to link the burgeoning areas west of the Appalachian Mountains to mid-Atlantic markets and ports. The canal principally transported coal, and sometimes West Virginia limestone, wood, lumber, sand, and flour.

Map of C and O CanalIn 1938, the abandoned canal was obtained from the B&O by the United States and is now the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal national historic park.

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Charles F Mercer C&O Canal Great Falls MDBoats on the Canal were supposed to be similar to those on the Erie Canal – 13½ feet wide with a draft of 3 feet, traveling at 2½ miles per hour. Later, the dimensions changed to 14½ feet wide, 90 feet long, with a 5-foot draft, to take advantage of the lock sizes and prism depth. That would permit boats with cargo up to 130 tons. Rafts were also used on the canal, as well as launches and canoes. Farmers would build watercraft which were to last only one trip, and then be sold in Georgetown for firewood.

Mules lasted 15 years and some boatmen would made them swim to the shore

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal BoatSteamboats in 1850, the N S Denny company operated some steam driven tugboats. Records indicate that in the 1879, a single steamboat could go 3¼ mph loaded downstream, 4½ unloaded going upstream, and took 5 to 7 minutes to lock through whether going upstream or downstream and used about a ton of coal per day for operation.

Boatmen and their families were an independent lot often intermarrying within their own group. They frequently fought amongst each other and with lockkeepers over company rules. During winter when the boats were tied up, they lived in their own communities away from others. One boat captain observed that on the canal, women and children were as good as the men.

Boat interiorLife on a freight boat cabins were 10 feet by 12 feet, and housed two bunks, each 36 inches wide, supposedly for one person, but often occupied by two. While most cabin floors were bare, 14 had linoleum covering. The cabins were divided between sleeping quarters and the stateroom by a diagonal wall. The feed box, 4 feet by 4 feet, in the center boat, often doubled as sleeping quarters with a blanket thrown over the feed. Occasionally the deck was used for sleeping.

Cooking was done on a stove, burning corncobs (from the mule feed) or sometimes coal. Washing clothes and children was typically done at night by moonlight, after tying up the boat, along the side of the canal. Food and provisions for the trip (e.g. flour, sugar, coffee, salt pork and smoked meat were bought in Cumberland. Boatmen carried chickens or pigs on the boats and fish caught in the canal also served as food, as well as turtles.

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Buffalo Western New York Maritime Heritage and Museums

The Buffalo area was inhabited before the 17th century by Native American Iroquois tribes and later by French settlers. The city grew significantly in the 19th and 20th centuries; immigration, the Erie Canal, rail transport and proximity to Lake Erie fueled trade with the midwestern part of the nation.

Buffalo is located at the head of the Niagara River 16 miles south of Niagara Falls

Niagara FallsBuffalo Metro Rail is a 6.4-miles (10.3 km) long, single line light rail system that extends from Erie Canal Harbor in downtown Buffalo to the University Heights district. Two train stations, operated by Amtrak, serve the city. Historically, it was a major stop on through routes between Chicago and New York City.

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The Buffalo Harbor Museum is in a building that was once the home of long-time Buffalo ship chandler Howard H Baker and Company. Ship chandlery business was central to the existence of dynamic ports and their waterfronts that supplied sails and ropes and other supplies for sailing ships. Displays and exhibits provide an overview of the evolution of the Buffalo Waterfront along with artifacts from the vessels that sailed the Great Lakes.

Buffalo SkylineThe Buffalo Maritime Center promotes traditional hand skills and a craftsman-like attitude while advancing knowledge of the Western New York maritime heritage. The high standards of craftsmanship intrinsic to the work of boat building form the basis of educational programs that encourage self-discipline, self-sufficiency, and the pride of performing meaningful work.

From the earliest canoes and flat-bottomed bateaux to canal packets and majestic yachts, regional watercraft of the Niagara Frontier have played a central role in prehistory and the history of the region. The vital water links of the Great Lakes, area rivers, and countless smaller lakes spawned unique boats, providing work for the best naval architects on the east coast.

Erie TravelerDurham boats flat-bottomed, double-ended craft were used throughout the inland waterways of North America to ferry supplies and people. They were used to transport George Washington and his troops across the Delaware River during the American Revolution and were especially common along the Niagara River to transport salt and lumber from Little Niagara (Fort Schlosser) to Black Rock. Durham boats eventually were replaced in the Niagara region by larger, more efficient canal boats after the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825.

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Kingston New York Maritime Traditions

Industry and Commerce along the Delaware Canal and Hudson River  

Located 91 miles (146 km) north of New York City, Kingston was New York’s first capital in 1777; in the 19th century, the city was a transport hub, with rail and canal connections. The city has three historic districts: Stockade, the Midtown Broadway Corridor, and Rondout West Strand downtown.

Kingston Landing is a short navigable distance from the Hudson River and the point of reference for coal shipments and bluestone via the Delaware and Hudson Canal.

the roundout viewKingston Albany and New York City were the three major Dutch Settlements on the Hudson River

In the early 1800s, four sloops plied the river from Kingston to New York. By 1829, steamers made the trip to Manhattan in a little over twelve hours, usually travelling by night.

The Hudson River Maritime Museum is located at 50 Rondout Landing at the foot of Broadway along the old waterfront. Its collections are devoted to the history of shipping and industry on the Hudson. In the early 1800s, four sloops plied the river from Kingston to New York. By 1829, steamers made the trip to Manhattan in a little over twelve hours, usually travelling by night.

Hudson River Maritime MuseumExperiential Tourism in Kingston New York

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Industry and Commerce the Delaware and Hudson Canal brought an influx of laborers to manage the coal terminal and the Newark Lime and Cement Company shipped cement throughout the United States. Also, large warehouses of ice sat beside the Hudson River from which the ice was cut during the winter and preserved all year to be used in early refrigeration. Large brick making factories were also located close to this shipping hub. Rondout’s central location as a shipping hub ended with the advent of railroads.

Bikeable Trails in KingstonThe Rondout neighborhood is known for its artists’ community and its numerous art galleries

Transit Kingston CitiBus provides service within the city and to Port Ewen and commuter service is available by bus to New York City. Amtrak Rail Terminals are located 11 miles (20 km) and 17 miles (30 km) away in Poughkeepsie. Stewart International Airport is 39 miles (62.8 km) south in Newburgh.

Weekend water taxi service between Kingston and Rhinecliff. The Catskill Mountain Railroad, a scenic railroad company, runs trains from Kingston. Ongoing projects connect Kingston’s three neighborhoods with a combination of rail trails, bike lanes and complete streets connections.

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