A common lament of those of us who were raised in the northeast is that “while I love California, I do miss the fall”. And I certainly have uttered that phrase many times, although lately, I have found my love of California wavering, its been more tough love given its current dysfunctional state. Last month, I spent a wonderful 10 days in New York State. The bulk of the time was spent in New York City with friends, and near Syracuse upstate with family. This post concerns itself with the journey in between, a marvelous meander up the Hudson River, at the height of its autumnal splendor.
A Bit of History
Anniversaries are afoot this year along the Hudson. Exactly 400 years ago, English explorer and the river’s namesake Henry Hudson sailed up the river on behalf of the Dutch East India Company. And 40 years ago, a bit west of the Hudson, there was Woodstock.
The Hudson is an impressive river. It flows south from the state’s highest peak in the Adirondacks, gradually widening through the Hudson Valley, and its the valley’s defining hills and mountains which put on the great October show. I took the train up to Syracuse, stopping in Poughkeepsie, and the train rolls right next to the river. The trip on that sun-splashed perfect October day was spectacular.
The Hudson River Valley is rich in history. It played a pivotal role in the Revolutionary War, has had many noteworthy residents such as the Roosevelts and the Vanderbilts, it was home to the establishment of the first great American Art movement, and of course, some stunning architecture. And its a scene of great contradictions, in places severely depressed economically, yet at the same time these down at the heels places lie within the shadow of grandiose institutions that line the river.