Although still functioning as a commercial seaway with large barges and ships, the Hudson is a beautiful, scenic river. With the exception of Albany, the state capital, there are no large cities located along the river north of New York City. Most communities on the river’s edge do not classify as cities, they are villages, too small under New York law to be called a city.
Passenger trains travel along the eastern shore of the river and freight trains travel the western shore. The frequency of the passenger trains to New York City is high and the freight trains are long and almost continual. Watching the large number of freight cars traveling the western shore reinforces the wisdom of Warren Buffett’s investment in railroads.
Much commerce still rides on the river. Tugs, barges, and freighters are a common site. The tug with the multiple tows of red barges also demonstrates that the Hudson is a big river and can get rough. The waves are breaking over the bow of the leading barge, and this photo was taken in the morning, when the winds are normally lower.
Unlike the Potomac, there are numerous bridges across the Hudson, many works of art and engineering. The Bear Mountain Bridge connects Anthonys Nose, on the eastern shore, to Bear Mountain on the west, clearing the river by 155 ft. Along the lower right the passenger train track bed is visible leading to a tunnel.
Palatial homes are located on the Hudson with grand views of the River. Many of the homes are quite large and a wide variety of architecture is represented. The Hudson River banks are mostly natural, with rock faces and large forested areas, with some interesting human intervention, such as the houses.
The Hudson River is a natural shipping channel as it is quite deep, sometimes as much as 200 feet deep in the southern portion of the river, with the deep water running right to shore. There are places where you could put the bow of a boat against the shore and the stern of the boat would be in 70 feet of water.
After negotiating the Harlem River around the east side of Manhattan to reach the Hudson, the first stop up the river was at Croton on Hudson and the Half Moon Bay Marina. Surprisingly, Last Dance was placed in a slip next to another 40 DeFever, R Hope, Lorne and Edy Hope’s boat. It was good to see them again. Croton on the Hudson is small, but had many services needed by the crew, including a UPS Store, large laundry, and a specialty food store with an amazing variety of fruits, vegetables, salads, and breads.
It was a hazy day traveling north on the river, making the image of an extremely large stone building appearing in the distance even more eerie. The stone structure rose from water level to hundreds of feet high, bringing thoughts of Medieval Castles or an European City on the Mediterranean. As the distance shortened and haze lessened, it became clearer visually and cognitively. It was West Point. It is understandable why the British never made it past West Point.
A short distance north, on the opposite shore, the village of Cold Spring hugs the river. There is a skinny cove north of the village that has a small area with depths shallow enough to provide anchorage. One of the first buildings in town after crossing under the railroad tracks, is the chamber of commerce, which occupies one-quarter of a building, the other three-quarters being the men’s and women’s toilets and a store room.
There are some interesting modest homes in the village, and above the village, facing West Point, a not so modest home.
For all our friends in Palatka, the Putnam County newspaper is published here also.
Cold Spring provided reminders that this journey continues in the spring through the display of dogwoods in full bloom.
Poughkeepsie is not a town that is written up in travel guides, nor do friends tell you that it is a place that one must visit. However, Poughkeepsie does have a marina (no place to anchor nearby) and it is just south of Hyde Park, an area with much history and reasons to visit. Poughkeepsie is trying. They have lighted their bridge, the Mid-Hudson Bridge, in a manner far surpassing the monochromatic bridges in Jacksonville. The lights are fiber optic and they can change colors or create moving displays of lights.
President Roosevelt’s home and library/museum is located in Hyde Park. The presidential home was interesting. Just up the road is the Vanderbuilt house, which is appropriately described as a mansion. FDR’s house was a home – interesting comparison in life styles and priorities. The museum included the 1934 Ford that he was so often photographed driving. An educational and enjoyable visit that is not documented by photos – forgot the camera.
Hyde Park is also home to the Culinary Institute of America. They operate four restaurants and a bakery open to the public to provide students with educational experiences and the school with income to purchase the raw materials. An evening in the French-themed restaurant was enjoyable for two educators observing students performing skills they had been studying and sampling the results of their daily assignment.
The Hudson River is a beautiful, interesting, educational destination; much more than just a segment of the route from New York City to the Great Lakes.