Driveable Getaways: Hiking the Hudson River School Art Trail in the Great Northern Catskills

The view from Sunset Rock, one of 8 sites along the Hudson River School Art Trail in the mid-Hudson Valley region, is very much as Thomas Cole saw it in the 1820s © Karen Rubin/

by Karen Rubin
Travel Features Syndicate,
My getaway in the Great Northern Catskills of New York exploring the Hudson River School Art Trail starts at the trailhead to Kaaterskill Falls, where you get an amazing view of Kaaterskill Clove (HRSAT Site #4). You gaze out over the gorge where mountain peaks seem to thread together and compare the scene today to the way it is depicted by Hudson River School artist Asher B. Durand’s 1866 painting.
It’s a short walk along 23A (watch out for cars on the winding narrow road) to the trailhead for one of my favorite hikes, Kaaterskill Falls (HRSAT Site #5), a stunning scene that looks remarkably just as depicted in an 1835 painting by Thomas Cole, known as the father of the Hudson River School. “It is the voice of the landscape for it strikes its own chords, and rocks and mountains re-echo in rich unison,” Cole (who was also a poet and essayist) wrote.

Kaaterskill Falls, a 260-foot high double waterfall, the highest in New York State, captivated Thomas Cole and the Hudson River School artists © Karen Rubin/

The Kaaterskill Falls were a favorite subject of many of the Hudson River School painters and for me, is the quintessential combination of stunning scenery plus the physical pleasure of the hike – half-mile up to the base of the double-falls, then another half-mile to the top.
The two-tiered Kaaterskill Falls, 175 and 85 feet, is the highest in New York State and was described by James Fenimore Cooper in “The Pioneers” which Thomas Cole, a friend of Cooper’s illustrated.
There is a small trail through the woods to the very top of the falls. Signs admonish hikers that climbing the ledges beside Kaaterskill Falls is extremely dangerous, and has resulted in numerous injuries and deaths. But the falls are not flowing when I come, so I get to walk on the ledges, giving me a really nervous view straight down and beyond, to the Valley and letting me look at the carved initials and graffiti from the 1920s and 30s, some even from the 1800s. You feel a sense of kindred spirit with those who have passed through and passed on. You feel the height and the proximity to the drop off, and it makes your heart flutter.
Later, I will recognize the view in Thomas Cole’s paintings and imagine how he must have stood in this precise place where you are standing.
It is a half-mile to the base, and another half- mile to the top of the falls, for a total of 2 miles roundtrip. There are some scrambles and it is uphill almost all the way (walking sticks are really recommended), and is thoroughly fantastic.
(The parking lot is just west of the trailhead and across 23A, so you park and walk back along the road, being very careful. Haines Falls NY 12436, 518-589-5058, 800-456-2267).
HRSAT Hikes in North-South Campground
For my second day, after an amazing breakfast at the Fairlawn Inn, I head to North-South Campground, where there are several of the Hudson River School of Art Trail hikes (as well as many other hiking trails) – the lake itself depicted in paintings such as Thomas Cole’s “Lake with Dead Trees,” 1825 (HRSAT Site #6).
The Escarpment Trail to Sunset Rock (HRSAT Trail Site #7) begins along the well-marked blue trail (you cut off to the yellow trail to Sunset Rock) that mostly wraps around the ledges, with the amazing views that so enthralled the artists of the Hudson River Valley. Close to the beginning is a fairly interesting scramble, then the trail winds through the woods along side fabulous rock formations before coming out again to the ledges. You reach Artists Rock at about .4 miles. Continuing on, you look for the yellow trail marker to Sunset Rock and from there, to Newman’s Point.

Taking in the spectacular view along the hike along the Escarpment Trail in the North-South Lake Campground, one of eight Hudson River School Art Trail sites in the mid-Hudson Valley of New York © Karen Rubin/

You can either reverse and come back on the Escarpment Trail, or make a loop, coming down the Mary’s Glen trail, passing Ashley’s Falls.
Mary’s Glen trail can also be the entrance to a difficult hike, to North Point, a distance of 3.2 miles with 840 feet ascent. It is a mostly moderate climb but has some short, steep scrambles over rock, but you come to large open slabs and expansive vistas at North Point, a 3,000 ft. elevation with some of the most distant views.)
Back at the North-South Lake (it’s taken me about three hours taking my time), people are swimming in the hot (near 90) weather.

North-South Lake © Karen Rubin/

From here, you can follow around the lake to see the same views that inspired Hudson River School paintings.
You can also take the trail to the site of the Catskill Mountain House (HRSAT Site #8), one of the earliest tourist hotels. The majestic hotel, which was opened in 1823 and accommodated 400 guests a night (Presidents Arthur and Grant were among those who stayed here), burned down in 1963 but the view that attracted visitors still remains as one of the most magnificent panoramas in the region, and can be compared to Frederic Church’s “Above the Clouds at Sunrise” (1849).
It is fun to see the initials carved into the stone ledges from more than a century ago. The Mountain House began drawing thousands of guests each season from all over the country as well as from abroad, who came not just for the cooler, healthier climate but for what had already become one of the most renowned natural panoramas in the young nation: the valley 1,600 feet below, stretching east to the Taconic Mountains and the Berkshires, with the silvery thread of the Hudson visible for 60 miles from north to south. On a clear day, you can see five states – Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York. The hike is just a half-mile with only an 80-foot ascent.
There is a $10/car day use fee for the NYS DEC’s North-South Lake Campground from early May through late October, however the fee is waived for NYS residents 62 years or older midweek. The campground is open for camping from May through October; 518-589-5058 or call DEC Regional Office year-round at 518-357-2234,
The Hudson River School Art Trail also features Olana, the magnificent and whimsical mansion home of artist Frederick Edwin Church. At this writing, the entrancing mansion was not yet reopened to visits, but the 250 acre-grounds and the first-ever “viewshed” to the Hudson River are open (5720 Route 9G, Hudson, NY 12534, 518-828-0135,

Olana, the home of Hudson River School artist Frederick Edwin Church © Karen Rubin/

Also, you can walk the grounds Thomas Cole Historic Site (the home has yet to be reopened, but is marvelous to visit, especially Cole’s studio). (218 Spring Street, Catskill, NY 12414, 518-943-7465,
Get maps, directions and background on the Hudson River School Art Trail at
Also, walk on the Hudson River Skywalk along the Rip Van Winkle Bridge to find incredible river views.
In Tannersvill:e Explore outside at the Mountain Top Arboretum, home to 178 acres of trails, wetlands, gardens, and native plants; go on a mountain biking adventure at the Tannersville Bike Park, part of the Tannersville-Hathaway Trail System.
In Athens: Rent a kayak or paddleboard at Screaming Eagle Outdoor Adventures; explore along the Hudson River at the Athens Riverfront Park and look for the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse.
More information from Greene County Tourism, 800-355 CATS, 518-943-3223,
© 2020 Travel Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. Visit,, and Blogging at and Send comments or questions to Tweet @TravelFeatures. ‘Like’ us at

New York State Highlights Nifty New Attractions Across State for Travelers

The magnificent Hudson River Valley. There is still time to explore this summer and fall © 2014 Karen Rubin/

There is still time to take advantage of the many new and exciting activities available across New York State this summer and into the fall. With new thrill rides, dining venues and entertainment concepts, as well as new ways to explore the Empire State’s natural beauty and history, there are more reasons than ever before to explore New York State this season.

“New York State offers unparalleled opportunities to millions of travelers every season, and this summer is no exception,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “Both New Yorkers and visitors alike can enjoy a wide variety of experiences, from outdoor adventure to family-friendly activities to some of the very best cuisine. Supporting these local destinations provides a boost to local economies, and gives all visitors an opportunity to explore the best of what the Empire State has to offer.”

The variety of and accessibility to world-class attractions in New York is unrivaled, with something to do in every corner of the State. Visitors can dine in downstate Saratoga Springs, stay in lodging along Cayuga Lake, ice skate indoors on Long Island, and learn about the history of Lake George.

(See also: New York State Partners with ResponsibleTravel on Sustainable Travel Online Guide, Itineraries)

A sampling of some of the exciting new places to visit, stay and dine at across the New York State includes:

New Things to Do and Places to Go


Extreme Supernova, a new thrill ride at The Great Escape & Splashwater Kingdom in Lake George, takes riders on an adrenaline-pumping, pendulum-swinging, spinning adventure that takes them fifty feet up in the air and sends them head-over-heels with swings and unpredictable spins. The ride joins the park’s 135 attractions which include thrill and family rides and a water park.

Thanks to a land purchase by New York State, OK Slip Falls in Indian Lake, the highest free-falling cataract in Adirondack Park, is now open to the public. Square Eddy Rafting Outfitter is offering a “Hike In – Raft Out” expedition that explores the newly acquired New York State lands. Trips begin with an intermediate level hike to the top of the falls and then down to the Hudson River. Hikers are met with rafts and spend the rest of the day on the Hudson River running rapids and enjoying the float out.

Explore History Tours, which offers walking tours around Lake George’s historic locations led by guides in 1750’s museum quality period dress, has added evening tours this year. The evening tours depart on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings and cover about ¾ mile in 1½ hours, accommodating people of all ages and fitness.

A new bicycle shop, LeepOff Cycles, now open in Wilmington on State Route 86, caters to mountain bikers and all types and levels of cyclists. Wilmington is known as a great destination for mountain biking with a network of well-maintained trails and scenic loops for road cycling.
Lake Placid keeps getting more interesting. Two new businesses illustrate its breadth of interests: Jin Jin’s, a women’s clothing boutique featuring stylish, comfortable clothing and a new branch of Saratoga Olive Oil offers flavored oils and vinegars as well as other gourmet products, most of which can be tasted on-site.

Indian Lake has added two specialty shops on State Route 30 in the past year: Kim’s Country Corner, a collectibles store which sells gifts and home decor and the Adirondack Pickle Ladies, which makes and sells handcrafted pickle products as well as home-baked breads, granolas, pies and other delectables.


Spa City Market, a year-round farmers market selling top local goods with live music and an entertainment/education section for children, takes place every Sunday from 10am-3pm, (indoors during the winter season) on the site of the historic Lincoln Bath House in Saratoga Springs. The summer, the market will also be held Tuesdays from 3-6 p.m.


The iconic 1,300-acre Kutscher’s resort in Sullivan County, which starred in the movie “Dirty Dancing” and was one of the well-known Borscht Belt resorts, has been sold to Veria Lifestyle to be transformed into a healthy living resort expected to open in 2015.

Hancock-based international hunting and fly fishing guide Jim “Coz” Costolnick has added a Paddle and Peddle division to his company, Border Water Outfitters. The shop now rents Trex Hybrid Bikes for adults and children and provides suggested routes. Canoes and kayaks are also available. All rentals include mandatory safety equipment. Boaters can enjoy a day either on the Cannonsville Reservoir or on the waters of the Delaware River and the shop provides shuttle service for those using their own watercraft.

Finger Lakes

The best of New York’s agriculture, entertainment, education, industry and technology is coming to the fun-filled Great New York State Fair, Aug. 21 – Sept. 1, at the State Fairgrounds in Syracuse.

The fair boasts more than 375 acres of animals, exhibits and displays, plus games of skill and new midway rides, including the RC48, the second-largest roller coaster in the country. Enjoy performances from some of the biggest names in entertainment, including Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood and Barenaked Ladies. Be sure to stop by the Taste New York Marketplace and tent to sample and purchase the best of New York’s culinary bounty.

Destiny USA in Syracuse has two new thrilling experiences:

WonderWorks Destiny USA introduces a new Apache Helicopter simulator, allowing those 13 and up to feel the power of navigating the skies in one of the Army’s most renowned machines.

Billy Beez, an indoor play/entertainment center themed around the adventures of a bee and his fellow rainforest creatures, leads kids through a fantastical journey. As they explore the rainforest, kids find a variety of play activities in addition to the park’s signature Rainbow slide, trampolines, obstacle courses and climbing walls.

Bristol Mountain Aerial Adventures, an adventure park set in the forest canopy in Canandaigua, opened this spring with seven different courses offering varying levels of difficulty. Each course is made up of 12-15 elements such as zip lines, tightrope walks, rope ladders and bridges.

Roseland Bowl Family Fun Center, an 18,000 square-foot entertainment center in Canandaigua has recently expanded, adding laser tag, bumper cars and 30 new arcade games to its 44 bowling lanes.

Hudson Valley

Hudson Valley Distillers in Clermont, which creates distinctive spirits sourced from their farm and those of their neighbors, now welcomes guests for tours and tastings Fridays through Sundays from 1 to 6 p.m. Housed in a 100 year old barn, the distillery centerpiece is a 60 gallon hybrid pot still, which places them among the Hudson Valley’s smallest farm distilleries.

Long Island

I.Fly Trapeze, which has been teaching trapeze for nine years at Eisenhower Park, has a new location at Long Beach near the boardwalk. Beginners can practice getting their legs on the bar and taking their hands off, and by mid-session may be ready to experience the thrill of a mid-air wrist to wrist catch with an instructor. No prior experience is necessary.

Adventure Park at Long Island, located on the forested grounds of the Henry Kaufman Campgrounds in Wheatley Heights, offers family fun for ages 7 and up. Opening June 21, the aerial forest adventure includes eight separate trails with five levels of difficulty. Each trail consist of “bridges” between tree platforms made of rope, cable and wood configurations creating over 130 unique challenges and incorporating 14 ziplines.

A new water ride at Splish Splash Water Park, Battle of Mutiny Bay, pits participants against roving bands of pirates and pesky sea creatures in a fun, interactive water battle as they wind through Mutiny Bay. Be prepared to get wet manning the water cannons and fighting off relentless water blasts from opposing cannons. The 96-acre water park, located in Calverton (near Riverhead) was voted one of the Best Waterparks in America by the Travel Channel.

The recently opened Twin Rinks Ice Center at Eisenhower Park, a 165,000 square-foot, world-class facility, has two indoor, NHL-sized skating rinks and an outdoor rink for summer roller and deck hockey leagues. Scheduled public skate sessions, a personal fitness/sports physical therapy training area, pro shop, private party rooms and a day camp are also available. The center will host figure skating competitions, curling events, speed-skating competitions, non-skating entertainment events and more.

Niagara Falls

The legendary Maid of the Mist first launched in 1846. And, for the first time it is only being offered on the US side. Back then, it was used to transport people, mail, luggage and cargo across the Niagara River. With the construction of a suspension bridge, the Maid of the Mist was re-branded as a Niagara Falls sightseeing adventure that is still operating. Go ahead and experience a Maid of the Mist excursion tour. Don a sporty blue rain slicker (provided) and enjoy an exhilarating 30-minute guided boat ride to the base of the American and Horseshoe Falls.

Thousand Islands

A new wilderness skill-building Adirondack Guide Series in New York State’s North Country gives boys and girls 12- to 18-years old the chance to learn and hone traditional skills of the Adirondacks. Five-day sessions in July and August, priced at $275, include shooting sports, wilderness backpacking and fishing with pros, some with overnight camping experiences. The series is offered by the Cornell University Cooperative Extension St. Lawrence County in Canton.

Club Rocky Top, a four room Adirondack Great Camp in South Colton, now offers dog sled rides (with carts) in the summer as well as the winter. Hiking trails and ATVs are also available to guests who want to explore the camp’s 600 acres of Adirondack wilderness and there’s a heated pool for unwinding afterwards.

New Places to Stay


Excelsior Springs, a new banquet hall and conference center, opened last year in Saratoga Springs. The facility, which can handle up to 250 banquet style, has a certified wedding and event planner on site and can be used in combination with the adjacent Courtyard by Marriot for larger meetings and conferences.

The new 48-suite Pavilion Grand Hotel, an elegant boutique hotel in the heart of Saratoga Springs, embraces Saratoga’s elegant past by reviving the name of one of the city’s elegant Grand Dame hotels. The hotel, which opened in May 2014, features a restaurant with Korean Fusion/American comfort food restaurant, spa and fitness center and roof-top garden. Its spacious accommodations include loft suites with roof top gardens, terraces and balconies.

A new Renaissance by Marriott is slated to open in 2015 across from the New York State Capitol in Albany. The luxurious 204-room hotel will connect via a walkway to the Albany Capital Center convention center.

Finger Lakes

The Rowland House, the newest of the Inns of Aurora, opened in May after an extensive renovation. Located along Cayuga Lake, Rowland House has twin parlors, a library and private dining room, all with working fireplaces and period details. The ten guestroom property, decorated with MacKenzie-Childs’ furnishings, also has an executive boardroom and a small outdoor Grecian temple that can be used for weddings.

Hudson Valley

A new 81-room Holiday Inn Express & Suites Montgomery, slated to open August 8, provides a pool, fitness center, hot express breakfast and a meeting room for up 30 attendees. The property offers easy access to the shops and restaurants of the historic Village of Montgomery and is well situated to host guests exploring the Hudson Valley and attending events at Winding Hills Golf Club.

New York State features 11 beautiful vacation regions. New York’s attractions feature landmarks such as Niagara Falls, the largest park in the continental U.S. in the Adirondacks and treasures such as the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and the Corning Museum of Glass. New York State offers diverse activities for all: outdoor fun – fishing, hiking and boating, year-round festivals and exploring the rich history and culture of one of the 13 original colonies. Visitors also enjoy the fine cuisine, beverage trails and farm-to-table fresh foods.

For more information, visit

See also:

Journey by boat and bike along the Erie Canal: Macedon-Fairport-Pittsford and slideshow

Erie Canal journey by boat, bike: Exploring canaltowns from Pittsford to Albion and slideshow

Erie Canal journey: Albion-Medina bikeride is most scenic, illuminating and slideshow

Erie Canal journey by boat and bike: Palmyra, ‘Queen of Canal Towns’ and slideshow

A gal getaway hiking New York’s Hudson River School Art Trail and slideshow

Getaway on the Hudson River School Art Trail: Thomas Cole National Historic Site and slideshow

Getaway on The Hudson River School Art Trail: Frederick Edwin Church’s Olana and slideshow

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New York State’s Path Through History Highlights Transportation Destinations, From the Erie Canal to Montauk Lighthouse

The Otisco, one of Mid-Lakes Navigation’s specially designed canalboats, journeys on the Erie Canal © 2012 Karen Rubin/

Two years ago, we took a houseboat on the Erie Canal to discover -by bike and boat – this fascinating and scenic destination, that brought us to charming towns that had helped turn America into an industrial and economic world power. It is one of the destinations that are part of the Governor’s Path Through History program, highlighting historically and culturally significant sites and events throughout New York State.

“From the untamed beauty of Niagara Falls, all along the Erie Canal, and on to the soaring peaks of the Adirondacks, New York State has a multitude of historic attractions that deserve a visit to experience,” Governor Cuomo said. “Our state has played a particularly important role in the development of transportation industries and technology, and the Path Through History program is a great way to appreciate them. Whatever your interests, New York is rich with incredible destinations that will make any trip around the Empire State an unforgettable experience.”

The Path Through History program makes it easy to explore the state’s canals and transportation history sites. Important in creating the Empire State we know today, Canals and Transportation is one of 13 themes that New York State is using to organize its 500-plus heritage sites. The program’s website provides additional information to plan an itinerary that includes site visits, and identifying markers on major state highways as well as local signage with a distinctive Path Through History logo to help point the way.

Here is a region-by-region sampling of the Canals and Transportation sites highlighted in the Path Through History program along with other fun ways to experience the history of transportation around the Empire State.

Central New York:
The town of Rome was the starting point for a canal system that eventually linked Manhattan with the developing American West. There the Erie Canal Village presents a reconstructed 19th century town complete with a schoolhouse, blacksmith and mule-drawn packet boat rides along the canal. In the town of Chittenango the sight of a 96-foot cargo boat under reconstruction at the Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum puts the scale of the canal’s traffic in perspective. And in Canastota, the Canastota Canal Town Museum brings the history, folklore and engineering achievements of the canal into focus with artwork, artifacts and activities.

Canal buffs will also love Schoharie Crossing State Park in Fort Hunter, where remnants of all three eras of Erie Canal development are visible including a two-mile long segment of the original “Clinton’s Ditch.” The Fort Plain Museum and Historical Park in Fort Plain spotlights life along the Erie Canal circa 1820-1850, while The Black River Canal Museum in Boonville features a full-scale canal boat replica and conveys a sense of the engineering accomplishment involved in building the 109-lock Black River Canal. For more about the Central New York region, visit

The Finger Lakes:
Canal adventures continue just beyond Palmyra in the historic town of Montezuma, where the Cayuga-Seneca Canal shoots off to connect the Erie Canal with 92 miles of the region’s rivers and lakes, including two of the beautiful Finger Lakes–Cayuga and Seneca. The canal-connected waterways and trails provide a relaxed-paced way to explore this sophisticated, rural region, acclaimed for its fine wines, artisanal food and natural beauty, while a number of museums recreate the era when canals put the region on the transportation grid.

In Syracuse, the Erie Canal Museum, housed in America’s only remaining weighlock building, is a hub for narrated sightseeing tours and canal boat charters. In Seneca Falls, the Seneca Falls Museum of Waterways and Industry offers a thought-provoking look at how the commerce and industrial growth powered by the canals helped to foster and spread social reform movements, including women’s rights.

The Finger Lakes also played a key role in aviation. The Glenn H. Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport honors pioneer aviator Glenn Curtiss, who progressed from building bikes and motorcycles to planes, making the first official long distance flight in the U.S. He also built the first seaplanes for the U.S. Navy earning recognition as “the father of naval aviation.” Dedicated to the restoration of World War II and Korean War aircraft, the 1941 Historical Aircraft Group Museum features informational displays as well as air shows at the Geneseo Airport. And in Elmira, the National Soaring Museum explores the challenge and history of motorless flight such as gliders.

Additionally, Canandaigua’s Granger Homestead and Carriage Museum, home to 19th century Postmaster General Gideon Granger, features a carriage museum with more than 100 horse-drawn carriages and offers carriage rides through historic downtown Canandaigua. Transportation by sea is the theme at the Sodus Bay Lighthouse and Maritime Museum at Sodus Point, where a climb to the lighthouse tower offers stunning views of Lake Ontario. For more about the region, visit

Greater Niagara:
The hundred mile footpath between Tonawanda, just outside Buffalo, to Newark in the Finger Lakes, has become a popular destination for hiking and biking. This westernmost segment of the Erie Canal is the longest continuous section of the Canalway Trail. Whether biking, boating or traveling by car, it’s fun to explore the nostalgic small town Main Streets, farmlands, lift bridges and multi-tier locks. As an added attraction, Niagara Falls is just a ten minute drive from Buffalo. The Pierce-Arrow Museum offers a unique collection of bicycles, automobiles, and memorabilia – many of which have a story entwined with that of Western New York’s communities at the turn of the 20th century. In Lockport, the triumph of building the canal is apparent. The town is built around two impressive five-lock staircases that move boats up the steep Niagara escarpment, which visitors can learn about at the new Erie Canal Discovery Center & Flight of Five.

More transportation history beckons at the Historic LeRoy House in LeRoy, which features more than 100 historic vehicles ranging from an ox-cart and antique bikes to a 1908 Cadillac. Naval enthusiasts will want to see the decommissioned U.S. Naval vessels, including the Cleveland-class cruiser USS Little Rock, the Fletcher-class destroyer USS The Sullivans and the submarine USS Croaker, at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park. Rail buffs will also find plenty to explore in the region, starting with the Medina Railroad Museum, a beautiful wooden freight depot filled with memorabilia and model trains, which offers train rides along the Canal. The Arcade & Attica Railroad runs steam and World War II-era diesel engines from its historic station in Arcade. The station itself is a museum with everything from antique railroad lanterns to switch locks along with original photographs. For more about the region, visit

The Hudson Valley:
Before paved roads and railroads became commonplace, rivers were America’s highways, as visitors learn at the Hudson River Maritime Museum in Kingston, which features visiting and resident steam tug boats, ice cutters and other vessels as well as the environmental-education vessel, the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater and a display on Hudson River lighthouses. The region also is home to Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park in Highland that crosses the Hudson atop the former Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge. When the 6,768-foot bridge opened in 1888 it was an engineering marvel thought to be the world’s longest bridge in its day. Today, visitors come to walk, skate or bike across the pedestrian bridge as they admire the stunning views of the river more than 200 feet below. Additionally, the Motorcyclepedia Museum in Newburgh offers over 400 historic motorcycles, some dating back as far as the beginning of the 20th century.

You can also retrace the footsteps of the artists who drew their inspiration from the Hudson River Valley and the Catskills, along the Hudson River School Art Trail.

For more about the region, visit

The Adirondacks:
This region of high peaks and whitewater rivers also had a brief brush with car manufacturing. Today, the Champlain Valley Transportation Museum in Plattsburgh is housed in a factory that produced exquisite Lazier Motor Company automobiles and race cars from 1905 to 1910. The museum has expanded its scope to celebrate the region’s rich transportation history through its collection of vintage automobiles, boats and trains. Kid-friendly exhibits include a Vulcan Locomotive that kids can climb around and more than 750 Diecast model cars, trucks, boats, airplanes, tractors and fire trucks. The museum also provides transportation on the replica Sail Ferry Westerwax to the Bluff Point Lighthouse, which still operates and includes displays about the lighthouse itself and the ecology and history of the area. For more about the region, visit

The Capital-Saratoga region produced trains, and the ALCO Heritage Museum in Schenectady, currently closed for renovations, aims to share the history of the American Locomotive Company (ALCO), which built steam and diesel locomotives. The Saratoga & North Creek Railway boasts vintage cars that make multiple stops along the Hudson River and offers breathtaking views of the Adirondacks. The cars are also kitchen-equipped to provide fresh meals prepared to order.

Vintage car lovers will also enjoy the Saratoga Automobile Museum. For more about the region, visit

The Catskills:
About 150 years ago, before the era of cars, train service opened up the Catskills and spawned an era of grand hotels and friendly guest houses. Although roads have displaced trains as the route into the region, several vintage trains still operate as tourist attractions. The Esopus Scenic Train, which departs from Mt. Tremper, stops at a 1900’s railroad depot, now home to the Path through History’s Empire State Railway Museum. The important role of river travel is the focus of tours (reserve in advance) at the working Hudson-Athens Lighthouse, located between the towns of Athens and Hudson. For more about the region, go to

One of the brightest lights shining on Lake Erie emanates from the Dunkirk Historical Lighthouse in Dunkirk. The 61-foot tall lighthouse, established in 1826, continues to guide sailors navigating Lake Erie. The lighthouse was automated in 1960 but still uses its original 1875 Fresnel lens. Guides here tell tales of the many shipwrecks off the coast and take visitors up the Lighthouse’s spiral stairs to the upper observation level, the restored 1800 lighthouse keeper’s home and a museum with nautical displays and military memorabilia; new this year are ghost tours.

You can also enjoy the Salamanca Rail Museum in the town of Salamanca, where a restored 1912 passenger depot uses artifacts, photos and video to paint a picture of the days when rail was the main way to travel from city to city. The station’s rich red oak wainscoting and two-story skylit ceiling have been restored based on the original architectural plans and include authentic nostalgic touches such as the “Ladies Retiring Room” sign and the telegraph machine in the ticket office. For more about the Chautauqua-Allegheny region, visit

New York City:
New York City can proudly claim the Brooklyn Bridge, the first steel-wire suspension bridge in the world and the longest of its day, and the landmark Beaux-Art Grand Central Terminal, celebrating its centennial this year with exhibits, events and an audio tour among its transportation icons. Not surprisingly, the city is also home to one of the world’s premier museums devoted to urban public transportation history. The New York Transit Museum, housed in a former 1936 subway station in Brooklyn Heights with an annex at Grand Central Terminal, explores the development and importance of public transportation. And for one of the best values in the city, residents and visitors can enjoy the views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and the Manhattan skyline on a free Staten Island Ferry ride between the tip of Manhattan and Staten Island. For more about New York City, visit

Long Island:
Authorized by Congress in 1792, the Montauk Point Lighthouse has been part of Long Island’s land and seascape for over 200 years and its 100-foot tall tower still serves as an active aid to navigation. Tours of this National Historic Landmark include a visit to the former keepers’ dwelling, containing the apartments of the head keeper and his two assistant keepers; the Fire Control Station, a tower built during World War II which served as part of the extensive East Coast Defense Shield and the lighthouse tower itself, completed in 1796. Long Island’s seafaring past is also vividly portrayed at two wonderful museums: the Sag Harbor Whaling & Historical Museum, set an 1845 Greek Revival whale ship owner’s mansion, and the Long Island Maritime Museum in West Sayville, where maritime history comes to life on a sail aboard a landmark historic vessel (reserve in advance) and visits to landmark homes.

Transportation also looms large at the Long Island Museum of American Art, History & Carriages in Stony Brook, which has over 200 horse-drawn carriages and other rare artifacts from the era. Admired for their beauty and craftsmanship, the carriages reflect an important part of America’s industrial and transportation history. Long Island also played key roles in aviation history, as visitors learn at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City. Here visitors learn how Long Island’s flat terrain at the edge of the nation made it a natural launch point for aviation pioneers including Charles Lindbergh, as well as a center for large commercial and World War II plane producers such as Grumman. For more about the area, visit

The Thousand Islands-Seaway:
Boldt Castle, Singer Island and many of the region’s most famous sites date back to the late 19th and early 20th century when the area became popular with America’s wealthy industrialists. Then as now, many popular tourist destinations, including some eye-popping mansions-turned-museums, were accessible only by boat, conveying a sense of the importance of water travel to the region. More than 300 finely-crafted boats and thousands of boating artifacts can be seen at the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton. And the Tibbet’s Point Lighthouse in nearby Cape Vincent features its original working Fresnel lens along with a telescope for surveying. The lighthouse also offers hostel lodgings for those who want to overnight. In Oswego, the H. Lee White Marine Museum displays Native American dugout canoes and other boats. For more about the area, visit

About Path Through History
Path Through History highlights historically and culturally significant sites and events throughout New York State. The program, introduced by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, builds on New York’s already robust heritage tourism attractions. The initiative is currently focused on 13 themes including: Arts & Culture, Natural History, U.S. Presidents, Women’s Rights, Canals & Transportation, Civil Rights, Colonial History, Immigration, Innovation & Commerce, The Revolutionary War, Native American Heritage, Sports History and the War of 1812. Important heritage sites and events across the state were selected with input from leading historians. For more information, visit

Each week, I LOVE NEW YORK social media channels will highlight one theme from Path Through History, featuring photos, videos, event itineraries and more to showcase the rich history of New York State. Follow I LOVE NEW YORK on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or use #LoveNYHistory to join us on the journey down New York’s Path Through History.

Follow I LOVE NEW YORK on social media:
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For more information, visit

See also:

A gal getaway hiking New York’s Hudson River School Art Trail and slideshow

Getaway on the Hudson River School Art Trail: Thomas Cole National Historic Site and slideshow

Getaway on The Hudson River School Art Trail: Frederick Edwin Church’s Olana and slideshow

Journey by boat and bike along the Erie Canal: Macedon-Fairport-Pittsford and slideshow

Erie Canal journey by boat, bike: Exploring canaltowns from Pittsford to Albion and slideshow

Erie Canal journey: Albion-Medina bikeride is most scenic, illuminating and slideshow

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