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A Quick Guide to the Heritage Sites of the Hudson Valley

“River that flows both ways” the Native Americans called it. Early Dutch settlers to the south called it the “North River.” By the time George Washington camped on its banks during the Revolutionary War, however, most Americans referred to it as the “Hudson River,” named for the explorer who first sailed it in 1609.

One of America’s mightiest waterways, the Hudson has its source high in the Adirondack Mountains. Some of America’s most magnificent scenery lies along its course and much of America’s earliest history was made along its banks.

In fact, America’s rich heritage in the Hudson River Valley was recognized recently when Congress designated the entire region a National Heritage Area, recognizing its great historical significance to the nation.

Exploring the Hudson Valley today leads one back into the days when America was young. European settlement began with the Dutch, who established Fort Orange where modern-day Albany is located. New Netherlands soon became New York, as the English took over the colony. Traces of Dutch heritage can be found at Van Alen house in Kinderhook or at Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow.

The “oldest street in America,” is known as Huguenot Street in New Paltz, where refugees from religious persecution in Europe settled and built fine stone houses that can be visited today.

Revolutionary War enthusiasts can tour the New Windsor Cantonment where the Continental Army held its last camp, or Washington’s Headquarters in Newburgh where General and Mrs. Washington waited for an end to the war. Admire the view of the Hudson Highlands from fortifications at West Point, or contemplate the ebb and flow of the river’s tides from the veranda at President Roosevelt’s home in Hyde Park.

The Hudson River School of Painting flourished here and can be enjoyed at artist Frederick Church’s home, Olana, Thomas Cole’s house in Catskill, or Jasper Cropsey’s home and studio in Hastings-on-Hudson. American Romantic landscape design has its roots in the Hudson Valley and can be seen at many historic estates, including Washington Irving’s Sunnyside, Lyndhurst and Montgomery Place.

The 20th century saw the birth of the modern environmental movement here in the Hudson Valley, when citizens rose up to save Storm King Mountain from development.
Residents of the region care deeply for its’ scenic beauty, as well as its fascinating history, and are eager to share both with travelers from near and far.

Upper Hudson Valley
Albany Institute of History and Art
125 Washington Avenue, Albany
Founded in 1791, the Albany Institute of History & Art (AIHA), one of the oldest museums in the US, older even than the Smithsonian. It is dedicated to collecting, preserving, interpreting and promoting public interest in the history, art and culture of Albany, the Upper Hudson Valley and New York State through collecting and exhibiting works and artifacts of the area. Its collections are one of the best in the US documenting the life and culture of the Upper Hudson Valley region from the late 17th century to the present.
Featured Site Article
Luykas Van Alan House
Route 9H, Kinderhook
A nearly unique example of a late Dutch brick farmhouse built in the isolated wilderness restored to its original 1734 appearance, complete with interiors. Unusual for any period home conserved and restored by a small local historical society, the Van Alen House has not been filled with bric-a-brac and furniture donated by caring members covering centuries of time. It has been restored and furnished as closely as possible to the real time of it's period, with accurate furnishings and period colors and interior appointments. The unusual Dutch stoops have been restored, the jambless fireplace reconstructed and an accurately spare collection of furniture placed in everyday modes.
Featured Site Article
5720 Rute 9G, Greenport
Olana, home of Frederic Church, was created in the same way that he painted a work of art: pencil sketches followed by more finished color sketches. Then, instead of painting the final work of art, he built it. He also chose and mixed on his pallette the colors for every room, and designed the exterior and interior stencils. His influence extended to the placement of the furniture, decorative objects, and paintings. A home, however, is the creation of the couple who live there and Church often commented that Isabel's "taste in the house is shown from top to bottom---and her advice was asked about in all."
Olana Photo Gallery
Featured Site Article
Olana Panorama
NY's Capital Building
Washington Avenue, Albany
Unlike many state capitol buildings which are inspired by Classical architecture, the New York capitol building takes its inspiration from the Hôtel de Ville in Paris. The building history is complicated, extending over a quarter of a century and involving the efforts of four architects. Thus the Capitol demonstrates various styles.
Featured Site Article
Empire Staste Plaza Panorama
New York State Museum
Empire State Plaza, Albany
The NY State Museum began in 1836 when it was established as the State Geological and Natural History Survey. Over the years, it has grown into a major research and educational institution dedicated to preserving New York's rich artistic, social, historical, and environmental legacies under the leadership of the New York State Education Department. Through historic artifacts, full-size dioramas, and challenging interactive displays, the New York State Museum showcases the history of the Empire State from prehistoric times to the present.
Featured Site Article
Empire State Plaza Panorama
Shaker Museum & Library
88 Shaker Museum Road, Old Chatham
The true story of a culture and a people isn't to be found in great and monumental works. Instead, it is found in the mundane, the everyday and the common. How their lives were lived, the implements of their labor and the products of their commerce tell the true story of a people. If nothing else, the outpouring of Shaker craftsmanship, coveted today by collectors and bid up to unbelievable heights by auctioneers, is the public expression of their lives. But these popular cultural icons tell only one side of this people.
Shaker Museum & Library Photo Gallery
Featured Site Article
Middle Hudson Valley
FDR Home & Presidential Library
4097 Albany Post Road, Hyde Park
From birth, Franklin Roosevelt was one of a tight-knit clan that valued tradition and continuity. A major player in the events of the 20th century and a man whose life was turned upside down by personal tragedy, Roosevelt was sustained by constants: a large family, old friends, and the house and grounds of Springwood. Franklin's father James, who bought the house in 1867, was seventh in a line of Roosevelts who were prominent members of New York City society. The Roosevelts had ties to the Hudson River Valley dating back to the 17th century, but it was not until 1818 that Franklin Roosevelt's great grandfather moved to the Hyde Park area. They were wealthy, though not on a scale with the neighboring Vanderbilts. In any case, James Roosevelt disapproved of ostentation, and Springwood was modest compared to many of the estates that lined the Hudson above New York City.
FDR Home & Library Photo Gallery
Featured Site Article

Kingston's Stockade District
Bounded by Clinton Ave, North Front St, Green St & Wall St. Kingston, Ulster County

Kingston Historic Area Visitors Center
308 Clinton Avenue, Kingston, Ulster County

Kingston was founded around 1616 by the Dutch as a trading post between New Amsterdam, (New York City), and Fort Orange, (Albany). The first permanent settlement was in 1652 and later Governor Stuyvesant ordered the original stockade built in 1658 to protect the settlers from the Indian attacks and massacres which included the burning of the village in 1653. As the third settlement in their colony Kingston became a center of agriculture in the surrounding countryside and trade from its important location along the Hudson River.
Stockade District Photo Gallery
Featured Site Article
Huguenot Street
18 Broadhead Avenue, New Paltz
Huguenot Street, now a National Historic Landmark, is the oldest continuously inhabited street in America with its original houses, a wonderful collection of early Dutch vernacular homes. Built by the original Patentee holders between about 1692 and 1720, Huguenot Street is one of the very few places left in America where you can actually go back in time 300 years and touch the original emigrants to America. Founded in 1677, New Paltz represents one of the earliest periods of exploration and settlement in our history. In these very structures the original settlers of New Paltz gathered together for protection, lived their lives as farmers and shop keepers and gathered together to maintain their unique Huguenot identity and religion.

Huguenot Street Photo Gallery
Featured Site Article
Virtual Visit
New Church Panorama
Deyo House Panorama
Old Fort Panorama

Route 9G, Hyde Park
In 1924 during a visit of these friends to the Hyde Park estate, Franklin, Elenaor and her two friends picnicked at one of Eleanor's favorite spots, Fall Kill, on the estate. The conversation turned to Eleanor's complaints that Sara was closing the estate for the year, making this the last outing of the season. Franklin suggested that the three friends build a cottage nearby. The three thought the idea grand, Franklin hired the architect and in 1925 the small fieldstone cottage was ready and christened Val-Kill after the nearby stream.
Val-Kill Photo Gallery
Featured Site Article
Vanderbilt Mansion
Route 9, Hyde Park
By their grand scale, classical ornament, and look of permanence, the majestic homes of the late 19th century call to mind those of the European upper classes from times past. These were the dwellings of Americans who made fortunes from industry. Devoted at first to amassing large sums, the new millionaires eventually found that money was no longer enough. They wanted to live as though they were heirs to centuries of wealth, to leave a lasting tribute to their achievements. The era when such a way of life was possible ended early in this century. Frederick Vanderbilt's mansion, along with its counterparts in Newport, Palm Beach, or elsewhere along the Hudson, can transport us briefly to an elegant world long past.
Vanderbilt Mansion Photo Gallery
Featured Site Article
River View Panorama
Rose Garden Panorama
Bannerman's Castle
Located just outside the North Gate of the Hudson Highlands at the entrance to the Newburgh Bays and technically in Dutchess County, Bannerman's Castle is a colorful reminder of both the unique history as well as the personalities that made the Hudson Valley famous. Now a ruin, Bannerman's Castle sits atop a small island, Pollepel Island, mid-river, an island of mystery and myth whose legends stretch back into the mists of time.

Bannerman's Castle Photo Gallery
Featured Site Article
Forecourt Panorama
Upper Terrace Panorama

Lower Hudson Valley
1601 Route 9D, Garrison
Boscobel was begun by States Morris Dyckman in 1804 and has been acclaimed as one of the most outstanding examples of New York Federal domestic architecture remaining in the US. Graceful wooden swags adorn the two story portico, classically proportioned windows harmoniously balance the facades and the imprint of Palladio informs its structure.
Boscobel Photo Gallery
Featured Site Article
Great Lawn Panorama
Rose Garden Panorama
Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame
240 Main Street, Goshen
The Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame is dedicated to comprehensive, active and authoritative support and promotion of the Standardbred industry through documentation and preservation of the history and traditions of this American-born sport. The museum's historic collection includes more than 1,500 works of fine art; 1,000 pieces of ephemera (tickets, programs, scrapbooks, etc.); 5,000 photographs; 300 jackets, caps and helmets; 50 sulkies and harness; and 200 trophies. Items not on display are kept in safe, climate-controlled storage areas to protect them from deterioration.
Featured Site Article
Route 9D, Garrison
In the 1930's, 40's and 50's, the signature on a set of dinnerware or piece of furniture elicited instant response. At that time, Wright was one of the best known designers in the U.S. At the apex of his career, Wright left New York City and moved his base of operations to Garrison. It was here that he created a unique home and designed landscape. He named it Manitoga, meaning Place of the Great Spirit in Algonquin. Wright shared the Native Americans' respect for the earth.
Manitoga Photo Gallery
Featured Site Article
Dragon Rock Panorama
Quarry Pond Panorama
Museum Village
1010 Route 17M, Monroe
Museum Village was the vision of Roscoe William Smith, an electrical engineer, entrepreneur, philanthropist and collector who contributed to his native Orange County in many ways during his 99 years. Roscoe made his fortune as founder of the Orange and Rockland electric company in 1905. The wealth he generated from his successful company and investments allowed him to give back to the community in many ways. Probably Mr. Smith's most cherished gift to the local community was Museum Village of Old Smith's Clove. Mr. Smith was passionate about American history and was an avid collector of Americana. His collection varied widely, from textiles and porcelain items to horse-drawn carriages. His main interest, though was in craft tools and mechanical devices: their invention, adaptation and development which he realized were slowly disappearing.
Featured Site Article
via Philipsburg Manor, Route 9, Sleepy Hollow
This hilltop paradise was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family, beginning with the philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil. His business acumen made him, in his day, the richest man in America. Now a historic site of the National Trust, this extraordinary landmark has been continuously and meticulously maintained for almost 100 years.
Featured Site Article
635 South Broadway, Tarrytown
Lyndhurst Photo Gallery
Featured Site Article
Philipsburg Manor
Route 9, Sleepy Hollow
Cross the bridge over the river into Philipsburg Manor and step back in time. It's 1750, and Philipsburg Manor is a farming, milling, and trading center owned by the Philipses, a family of Anglo-Dutch merchants. They rent land to tenant farmers of diverse European backgrounds and rely on a community of 23 enslaved Africans to operate the complex.
Philipsburg Manor Photo Gallery
Featured Site Article
Causeway Entrance Panorama
Pinkster Festival Panorama
West Sunnyside Lane, Tarrytown
Tucked quitely into a glen on a low bluff overlooking the Hudson, Sunnyside reigns as one of the supreme personal expressions of domestic architecture and romantic visions in America. Sunnyside encompasses both an idealized structure as well as the romanticized landscape giving it a distinct sense of place, atmosphere and fantasy. Standing at the entrance to Sunnyside with flowering vines dripping from the walls and the broad Hudson flowing lazily through the Tappan Zee, you are overcome by the "drowsy, dreamy influence [that] seems to hang over the land, and to pervade the very atmosphere..." Irving skillfully played with the visual elements of bricks and mortar, the setting and the landscape to create "illusions which fancy has cast over commonplace realities."
Sunnyside Photo Gallery
Featured Site Article
Van Cortlandt Manor
South Riverside Avenue, Croton-on-Hudson
At Van Cortlandt Manor, explore the stone manor house and brick ferry house, wander through the heritage gardens, and stroll down a quiet country road along the Croton River. There, you'll experience the domestic life of a patriot family living in the years just after the American Revolution - the New Nation period. Costumed guides demonstrate and invite visitors to try their own hands at blacksmithing, brick making, open-hearth cooking, spinning, weaving, and other crafts and tasks of the period. These activities and a lively program of special events help bring the past to life.

Van Cortlandt Photo Gallery
Featured Site Article
House Panorama
Porch View Panorama
Side Yard Panorama

Upper Hudson Valley Heritage Sites
American RevolutionCanalsChildren's Sites
Heritage SitesHomes & EstatesMilitary History
African-American HistoryMonuments
Middle Hudson Valley Heritage Sites
American RevolutionCanalsChildren's Sites
Heritage SitesHomes & EstatesMilitary History
African-American HistoryMonuments
Lower Hudson Valley Heritage Sites
American RevolutionCanalsChildren's Sites
Heritage SitesHomes & EstatesMilitary History
African-American HistoryMonuments
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