(As seen by a participant at an Elderhostel at Newburgh, NY, July 17-22, 2005, housed at Mount Saint Mary College, overlooking the Hudson, in a very well managed program).

This whole area is a true national treasure---with much---very much indeed--- to offer the visitor!

First of all perhaps, is the mighty Hudson River itself, almost one mile across at Newburgh, NY.

It's waters seem tranquil---is there a current?---well, not much---the Hudson River flows both ways, downstream and upstream, all the way from NY City.

How does it do this? Well it seems the twice daily ocean tides from NY City bring water upstream and then again take it back again downstream, while the fresh water from northern part of the State is always trying to flow downstream. This results in occasional slightly salty water as far north as Newburgh.

In fact, a plaque at the Newburgh waterfront states that a wooden block thrown in the water at Newburgh might take months to get to NY City.

So the Hudson River is what is called an "estuary", which the dictionary says is a river whose current is influenced by the tides.

(Henry Hudson---died 1611?--- was an English navigator and explorer, who discovered the Hudson River for the Dutch in 1609).

And the Dutch came in droves, foundng NY City and going up to the Middle Hudson Valley area, where many of the old families have names of Dutch extraction---including the former president, Franklin Roosevelt.

That brings us to the historic part of this area.

Slightly north and across the Hudson from Newburgh is Hyde Park, the home of the Roosevelt mansion and the Presidential Library (terrific, most interesting) and, nearby, is the equally splendid Vanderbilt mansion, both with vast, majestic grounds overlooking the Hudson River.

FDR grew up in this mansion and always considered its grounds his home.

(The Roosevelts had ties to the Hudson River Valley dating back to 17th. century).

Just downstream from Hyde Park is the town of Poughkeepsie, home of the well-known Vassar College.

Then in Newburgh itself---and overlooking the Hudson River--- is the house and grounds that George Washington used for 16 months while he was awaiting the signing of the treaty that ended the Revolutionary War.

(This was after the British surrender at the Battle of Yorktown, Virginia, 1781. Wisely, Washington kept a large body of his troops nearby in Newburgh).

Just downstream a few miles from Newburgh is West Point, home of the famous United States Military Academy, founded in 1802 on a point of land overlooking a narrow channel in the Hudson River.

During the Revolutionary War, Washington made sure that this location was heavily fortified to prevent the British from going upriver and thus taking total command of the Hudson and so joining up with their forces in Canada.

If the British had been able to do this , they would have split the American forces in half---and the outcome of the Revolutionary War could well have been different.

The Elderhostel program included a river excursion up to West Point. In addition, several Hostelers took advantage of a free afternoon to drive to West Point to see the Academy from the inside.

The Military Academy at West Point is truly impressive and historic. It plays---and has played---such an important part in all our lives that a visit to it is really a must.

Of course, this Hudson Valley area is beautiful as well as being historic and the home of many rich and famous.

There are the hills and trees of the nearby Catskill Mountains. There are the many summer music festivals and plays. There are all kinds of sports. It is a vacation area that attracts people from all over who return year after year.

Newburgh is just 58 miles north of New York City. It is served by several airlines and the Metro North train from Manhattan.

Visiting the Middle Hudson River Valley and this Elderhostel at Mount St. Mary College was a most worthwhile experience---one that a person will value for a lifetime---I'm sure I will.




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