The Hudson River was pretty amazing. So much history! We were gifted a small book called “The Hudson from Troy to the Battery” which gave history and interesting tidbits about the places we were passing. For instance, did you know that Anna Warner, who wrote the song “Jesus loves me this I know” grew up adjacent to West Point and, with her sister, taught Bible classes in the Cadet Chapel for decades?
The book really added a lot of dimension to the trip down river.
The Hudson has several lighthouses that look a lot like buildings. They are very interesting to see and to try to photograph. Many of these lighthouses used to have families living in them who kept the lights burning. As modern navigational aids were deployed, these lighthouses were decommissioned. Most of these historic lighthouses now are part of charitable organizations where volunteers try to raise money to keep the lighthouses from decaying and to keep the history alive.
And speaking of lighthouses, there is a tiny red one just under the George Washington Bridge on the north end of New York City. There was a children’s book written about it in 1942, “The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge”. (It says it is for children ages 2-6, which sounds exactly like my grandchildren, so I just ordered a copy for them.) The lighthouse was in service on the point of land there in the Hudson, but was not needed for navigation once the bridge was built.
This area was very involved in the Revolutionary War. Names like George Washington and Benedict Arnold are seen a lot in these parts. I am not much into military strategy or trying to understand how it all worked, but it is fun to try to imagine it as we go along.
After we finished the Erie Canal and left Waterford, we stayed two nights about 21 miles down river at Shady Harbor Marina in New Baltimore, NY. On the way, we met an upcoming freighter in a narrow channel and had to go through some very big wake waves. I recorded a video of it, but it was more impressive in person!
Shady Harbor has a “courtesy car” which we borrowed to make a run to a Walmart 13 miles away. The road to Walmart led along the river, so we were able to see the back side of things we had seen from the river the day before. We noted that we didn’t see a single convenience store, gas station, or church in the 13 mile drive which wound through several historic villages.
In New Baltimore there was a historic Reformed Church in the village which we attended on Sunday. It was quite the hike up the hill to the road (the same one that led the other way to Walmart). The church had beautiful stained glass windows and very kind people who encouraged us to stay for coffee and cookies and some conversation.
I had to giggle. Last week at the Assembly of God church, they looked at me as if I were crazy when I asked if there was a bulletin. “Sorry!” with a shrug. This week at the Reformed Church, the bulletin was a full five pages of liturgy plus announcements and prayer requests. It’s all good.
The church steeple had suffered a lightning strike two weeks earlier which did damage to the sound system and some of the indoor lighting. They had a new sound system working the day we were there but the lights were still dark.
The next night we spent at a marina in Kingston, NY. Kingston is a mile or so up Rondout Creek, as opposed to being right on the Hudson. We were hoping to use a restaurant dock, the price of which is your meal at the restaurant, but there was a boat parked right in the middle of the dock, not leaving enough room, and there were signs saying “2 hour max”. The reviews said that the 2 hours was only for weekends, but we did not have a chance to clarify it.
The Maritime Museum at Kingston also has a dock which we pulled into hoping to be able to buy a spot for the night, but they were reserving it for a cruise ship later that evening. Apparently cruise ships are doing fall foliage cruises up the Hudson in October. We saw one also the previous day.
We phoned Rondout Yacht Basin a little further upstream and were able to get a spot there for the night. It is quite a distance, walking wise, from downtown Kingston so we did not get over there. From the stores we could see as we cruised by, it looked like it was tourist oriented, with boutiques and bakeries on the storefronts.
At Rondout Yacht Basin we were able to source some strapping/webbing to re-do the straps that hold our rolled up vinyl windows. There was a canvas shop at the marina and the proprietor sold us a whole roll of webbing very cheap. We chatted with her for a while. She goes to Florida each winter and takes a seasonal break from her busy shop. She said she would like to retire before long but said she has not been able to find anyone wanting to be trained in the canvas trade. Hopefully she finds someone to pass her knowledge to.
From Kingston, it was a long day of 57 miles down to Croton-on-Hudson. We stayed one night at a marina there before heading another 57 miles past New York City to an anchorage near Sandy Hook, NJ.
Those two days took us past Bannerman’s Castle, Vanderbilt Mansion, FDR’s home (which you cannot see from the water), Culinary Institute of America, West Point, bridges and places with names like “Rip Van Winkle” and “Sleepy Hollow”, and under the Appalachian Trail.
Cruising into New York City was fun. I was snapping pictures of the skyline and buildings. Lance was keeping an eye on all the other boat traffic. “The cruise ship over there just let off a puff of smoke…I wonder if they are getting ready to pull out?”
And finally, Lady Liberty!
What an experience. We had people on FaceBook watching the webcam to see us. We were calling people to let them know we were there. There were tour boats all around. Even a NYPD boat that we weren’t sure why he was there, but judging by the number of people aboard was probably giving a tour. We got some good pictures, but didn’t have much leisure to just sit and absorb the moment.
We did not stop in NYC because there was a weather window of a couple of good days to be out on the Atlantic to make it past New Jersey. More of that in another post.