This is the inaugural Daily Expedition Report from the Hudson River! We awoke to a beautiful morning with cool air, warm sunshine, and wispy clouds floating above the highlands that border both sides of the river. It was a day full of adventure, exploration, and history, ending with the treat of live music performed by local musicians David and Jacob Bernz.
Cruising past the numerous red, orange, and yellow hues of fall foliage, National Geographic Sea Lion came upon the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse. Everyone got their cameras ready to capture the eerie scene as fog rose slowly above the Hudson River. After circling the lighthouse a few times, we continued toward the Catskills. We were given the opportunity to visit two state historic sites: Thomas Cole’s house and the house of Frederic Church, the Olana. The house and art studio hold original sketches and masterpieces by Thomas Cole, one of the original artists of America’s first art movement, the Hudson River School. Viewing the intricate pieces inspired a few individuals, and after soaking in the essence of Thomas Cole, some guests tried their hand at painting the surrounding landscape. We also got the opportunity to visit Olana, a Persian style historic house museum that was once owned by Frederic Church, another member of the Hudson River School. After getting our fill of these historic places, it was time to have lunch before our next adventure. In the afternoon, we went to Churchtown Dairy, a dairy farm that hosts an annual farmers market. Young calves, goats, and dairy cows were eager to receive affection. Petting a large fuzzy animal was the perfect ending to an incredibly enriching day.
Today was a very special day on the Hudson River, as it was a combination of nature, local culture, and art. The day began with a nice morning at Esopus Island and the Black Creek Preserve, followed by a tour of one of New York’s premier distilleries and a live performance at The Falcon.
It was a crisp fall morning on the Hudson River as we followed a barge being towed past the city of Hudson. The fall colors on the hills and the mist emanating from the water created the perfect atmosphere for some early morning photography of the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse from the ship. After breakfast, we divided into two groups, and each group visited Olana. A National Historic Site, Olana was Frederic Edwin Church’s house. One group did a long hike up the hill in addition to visiting the grounds at the house. While visiting Olana, many walked a path with views of the Hudson River. Each group also visited the Thomas Cole National Historic Site, which includes the house, Cole’s old studio, and a reconstruction of his ‘new studio.’ We were exceedingly lucky because the current exhibition in the new studio is comprised of original painted studies for Cole’s extremely popular series of paintings entitled Voyage of Life. In the afternoon, we visited the Churchtown Dairy, a farm that practices regenerative organic farming. For us, the stars of the dairy were the goats, cows, pigs, and a barn cat. Many guests were intrigued by the milking process, and others were taken by the adorable piglets. Our last stop was Warren Street, the main shopping street in the city of Hudson. A stop at the Wine Merchant offered a taste of red and white wines, and everyone was encouraged to visit shops that were of interest as they walked back to National Geographic Sea Lion . Drinks and hors d’oeuvres were served on the sun deck before recap and dinner.
One of the central tenets of National Geographic Sea Lion’s voyage up the Hudson River is transformation. From the first light of dawn, this theme was evident. Beneath gray skies, autumn colors grow richer by the day, signaling the climax of autumn approaching and the warm days ending. Soft rains drenched the landscape and our raincoats, a welcome change from the relative heat of the last few days. It is days like this that those of us who hail from the Northeast dream about in the depths of winter and the swelters of summer. Our first land operation of the day was a visit to the grounds of Storm King Art Center. A 500-acre paradise of sculpture and autumn colors, each of us charted our own course along the grounds. I found myself particularly impressed with the works of Kenyan artist Wangechi Mutu, whose Afrofuturistic style proved a stark contrast to the painters of the Hudson Valley School, with whom we have become intimately acquainted. This place has been transformed countless times over the course of the centuries: glaciated and thawed, stewarded by different peoples, and home to an ever-changing array of life. Following lunch, we hiked to the ruins of the Cornish Estate. Once again, our theme rang loud and clear. Before our very eyes, we saw the reclamation of construction materials by nature. But perhaps the highlight of our day was our visit to Glynwood Farm. A not-for-profit organization, the good folks at Glynwood are helping to usher in change in the Hudson Valley. Training apprentice farmers, restoring land that has fallen into disrepair, and nourishing a community are at the heart of their mission. Following a tour of their farm and a lesson in foraging the Hudson Valley, we were treated to a five-course farm-to-table meal. Paired with wines both local and international, each plate prompted deep thought and satisfaction. As we board National Geographic Sea Lion and the river rocks us into sleep, we will dream of cozy autumn days like this.
We awoke anchored on the Hudson River near the Bear Mountain Bridge. Warm air over the cool waters created a marine layer of fog that set the mood for our early morning hiking, kayaking, and Zodiac cruises. After our morning adventures, we enjoyed a brunch feast back on the ship. Our afternoon outing was to the town of Sleepy Hollow. We enjoyed poetry readings at the Hudson Valley Writers Center and a retelling of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” at the Old Dutch Church, along with a visit to the cemetery where Washington Irving is laid to rest.
We woke up this morning with a full schedule of activities ahead of us. As we ventured out on deck, the dense fog only added to the feeling of adventure. Soon, however, the fog started to dissipate, and Rondout Lighthouse came into view. It somehow seemed fitting that the lighthouse would be our guide through the mist, leading us into the harbor at Kingston. We spent the day visiting the Maritime Museum, exploring town, and watching the craftsmen at the boat building school. To cap off our day, we visited the sailing vessel Apollonia, a step back into time as the cargo ship is powered only by wind. The purpose of this ship is to offer a carbon free alternative to shipping up and down the Hudson. Another great day exploring the Hudson Valley here in New York.
Nestled in the mountains of the Hudson Valley is a unique natural area and open-air museum, Storm King. In this five-hundred-acre sanctuary, guests can visit huge, outdoor installations of sculpture that would be impossible to house in a traditional indoor museum. The artwork is dispersed among the beautiful trees and meadows of the reserve, adding to the beauty and grandeur of the pieces. We walked at our own pace, enjoying both the art and nature. The changing colors of the leaves during this spectacular fall season gave a new dimension to the sculptures in this iconic setting.
Our day began early near the Bear Mountain Bridge, also known as the Purple Heart Veterans Memorial Bridge. Kayaking, hiking, and Zodiac rides were on offer. The morning light hit the water and reflected the bridges, the colorful fall leaves, and the paddlers in kayaks. Adventurous hikers made their way up to and across the Bear Mountain Bridge to look down upon the Hudson River that has been at the core of our journey. After brunch, we boarded Zodiacs as transit to the shore and went to a poetry reading at the Hudson Valley Writers Center. Three poets read selections from their work, and then many of us took a walking tour to the Old Dutch Church. The Headless Horseman Bridge and Sleepy Hollow Cemetery provided the perfect atmosphere and setting for a spirited one-man performance of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Washington Irving spent time among the hills that became the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and his final resting place. We returned to National Geographic Sea Lion , enjoyed a wonderful dinner, and viewed the world premiere of the guest slideshow, which will help everyone recall this amazing trip for years to come.
Today was all about time travel. We stepped back into the 1910s, 1920s, and 1930s, only to finish the day with the most modern, solar-powered boat in the world. We rode an old trolley from 1925 out to a beautiful park. We explored a museum that is restoring a century’s worth of trains, and we visited a highly renowned maritime museum that lived up to its fame.
What a delightful day on the Hudson River. The morning started with shrouds of fog as we approached our anchorage just off Esopus Island, parting the turbid waters of the Hudson River. We enjoyed hiking adventures in the moist, sloped, deciduous forest. We searched for fungi and amphibians freshly invigorated by recent rains. Our afternoon was bathed in warmth and humidity. We visited the Stoutridge Vineyard & Distillery in the rolling verdant hills of Marlboro, where we sampled lovingly crafted natural wines and spirits. We rounded out our day at The Falcon, where we were treated to a performance of soulful swinging blues by Big Joe Fitz and The Lo-Fi’s.
As we departed New York City for a week’s adventure on the Hudson River, we sailed by the Statue of Liberty. Early in the morning of October 28th, we sailed past West Point Military Academy on our way to Pollepel Island and Bannerman Castle. After breakfast and some safety briefings, the photography team, led by Steve Morello, had a presentation to assist everyone with their cameras/cell phones so we can all get the best photographs on our journey up and down the Hudson River. The first outing of the day was a Zodiac tour around Pollepel Island. We then landed for a tour of Bannerman’s Arsenal, the former military surplus warehouse built in the form of a Scottish castle. The guides shared the history and conservation efforts taking place at this interesting and picturesque historic site. Local hot apple cider and live music enlivened the atmosphere. We returned to National Geographic Sea Lion for lunch before setting out for the afternoon. At Little Stony Point, we offered a variety of hikes that featured the landscape, including views of the Hudson River and the Cornish Estate ruins. We then boarded coaches and went to a sustainable farm and our dinner venue, Glynwood. The group split for a tour with a local forager or a walk around the farm with an explanation of sustainability practices. Dinner was an artistic, five course meal paired with wine and local beverages.