“Start a Revolution” Tour
The Redcoats are coming! A cry heard up and down the Hudson Valley as Patriots fought the British in battles throughout the region during the Revolutionary War. George Washington commanded the war from this strategic area, living close to the troops that would bring our nation to independence. Over 200 years later, feel the charge in the air as you walk the battlefields. Sense the life of a Patriot as you tour one of their homes, and learn about the Hudson Valley’s important role in the founding of our country.
The Revolution was fought over farmland and through towns, requiring the makeshift use of local buildings to accommodate the effort. Chief among these was Saint Paul's Church in Mount Vernon, used as a hospital during the war. Now restored and a National Historic Site, visitors experience the human side of the war through interpretive tours and reenactments. The sound of cannon fire would not be too far away from the hospital at Stony Point Battlefield where Mad Anthony Wayne captured this British-held fort. A museum displays relics of the battle, and you can also visit the first lighthouse built on the Hudson River.
Less than an hour away is West Point where the United States Military Academy sits imposingly above the Hudson River. General George Washington considered West Point to be the most important strategic position in America and transferred his headquarters there in l779. It’s the oldest continuously occupied military post in America. The guided tour includes stops at the Cadet Chapel and Trophy Point, giving you an inside glimpse of life at this world renowned academy. On return to the center, be sure to visit the West Pont Museum which houses the world’s largest collection of military memorabilia. Enjoy lunch or an overnight at West Point’s Thayer Hotel on the grounds of the academy. The dining room commands sweeping views of the Hudson River.
Fort Montgomery is just down the road, a wonderfully interpreted battlefield where the battle that turned the war was fought. Be sure to visit Washington’s Headquarters (the home where he lived with Martha) in Newburgh and the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor in New Windsor. Both give fascinating incites to the life and times of the Revolution.
A short drive from West Point is the 1714 Gomez Mill House, home to patriots of the American Revolution and the earliest existing Jewish residence in North America. The house was used by slaves, statesmen and writers, and its charming mill was used to create small batches of paper.
Kingston is just an hour away, the first capitol of New York State. The Senate House served as meeting place for the first New York State Senate, and its museum contains exhibits relating to that event. Nearby is the Old Dutch Church where many a Patriot worshipped. George Clinton, the first governor of New York is buried here.
After lunch at a waterside restaurant on the Rondout Landing, your next destination is New Paltz, a half hour away. Visit the 1814 Federal style Hasbrouck Mansion owned by an American patriot and located next door to Terwilliger House, built in 1738. The latter is a fine example of early Hudson River Valley architecture. A stroll down Huguenot Street takes you past architecturally significant stone houses from the 1700s and the beautiful French Church.
The Bronck Museum in Coxsackie is a short ride from New Paltz. A complex of Dutch colonial dwellings and barns, it includes the oldest surviving Dutch house in the Hudson Valley. Several buildings precede the Revolutionary War, showing what life was like before our country was founded.
A half hour away, interesting restaurants are available throughout Albany for lunch. No visit would be complete without a visit to the New York State Museum, the oldest and largest state museum in the country. And don’t forget to take a tour of the New York State Capitol, the result of the Revolution that ended over 200 years ago.
Across the river in Rensselaer, experience life as a Dutch Colonial at Crailo State Historic Site. Visitors will be fascinated with newly uncovered information from 400 years ago, engaging interactive displays, the newly restored colonial-revival Dutch house, and beautifully landscaped exterior.
The Battle of Bennington, fought in modern day New York, pitted a mix of German troops, loyalists, Native Americans, Canadians and British marksmen against American militia commanded by the experienced Brig. Gen. John Stark of New Hampshire and Col. Seth Warner of Vermont. The battle was fought in two engagements on August 16, 1777 and resulted in a decisive victory for the Americans.
Seven generations of Livingston’s lived at Clermont, a riverside mansion with a rich and varied history. Now a museum, it holds a wealth of info on over two centuries of people, from wealthy land-owners to immigrant servants and enslaved African workers.
12. Mount Gulian Historic Site
Mount Gulian Historic Site was settled in the 1730s by the pioneering Verplanck family and it served as the headquarters of Prussian officer Baron von Steuben during the American Revolution - an unsung hero of the Revolutionary War, who made a lasting impact on the Continental Army and American history. While at Mount Gulian “The Baron,” as he was often known, learned of the signing of the Treaty of Paris, which meant total victory for the new United States and independence from England. The manor house features the original colonial kitchen and a large exhibit room.
13. Stony Point Battlefield
Site of General Anthony Wayne’s brilliant midnight assault on the British fort situated at the entry to the highlands. The site’s museum displays artifacts from the battle, one of the American Revolution’s most important victories. Weekend features include living history camp with blacksmithing, musketry, artillery, cooking, 2 pm battle tour, and other demonstrations. Excellent views of the Hudson River. Historic 19th century lighthouse on the grounds and special gallery on lighthouses in the museum. Many weekend special programs offered. Free parking and admission, but donations are appreciated.