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Maritime Heritage Museum

The combination of its collections, its setup, its location and its staff makes the Hudson River Maritime Heritage Museum one of the must go locations in the Hudson Valley. The museum is about the ships and boats of the river, the uses of the river, the life of the river and the history of the river, all rolled up and presented in an open, interesting and kid friendly way.

Located at the Rondout in Kingston, the atmosphere of the area is fun and jovial, almost a fair every day of the year. The Rondout is the old port of Kingston now with its streets lined with excellent restaurants and gift and curiosity shops. The main marina for Kingston is down in the Rondout making sure that at all times of the year there will be boats of every description tied up at the docks and slips. Historic trolleys run up and down Broadway in season past the museum and next door the cruise boat Rip Van Winkle takes on and disembarks its passengers. Just up the road the Kingston Visitor Center gives out information and shows exhibitions on the history of the Rondout.

The area is alive with activity, people are always walking about and just being in the Rondout is fun. Walking into the Maritime Museum just builds pleasure on top of pleasure. They have a collection of prints and paintings of historic boats that have plied the waters of the Hudson. Deeper inside the museum is a vast room filled to near overflowing with artifacts from some of the great steamships of the Hudson River. Small boats are tucked between giant propellers, ephemera is stacked between life jackets. It's a fun and friendly exploration into the world of the river and its history.

At the museum you can buy an inexpensive ticket and board a launch that will take you out to the Rondout Lighthouse in the river where the Rondout Creek joins the mighty Hudson. It's a pleasurable short ride out past the remnants of commercial life on the river. Out at the lighthouse informed guides take you into the lighthouse past evolving restorations and up to the top of the tower itself. From this vantage point you can gaze out across the harbor, the river and the Rondout marching up the hill to Kingston.

While visiting the museum and lighthouse remember that the harbor at the Rondout was one of the most important trade harbors in the country. The D&H Canal met the Hudson River at the Rondout making this harbor the transit point of the Pennsylvania coal that powered New York City, the transit point of the cement industry that built New York City and the transit point of goods and produce from the interior of the country that fed and sustained New York City. In its day the Rondout was one of the busiest ports in America providing the backbone of the colossus of New York.

Specifics on visiting the Maritime Heritage Museum were correct at time of publication. We would suggest that you confirm dates and times prior to your visit.
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