I love visiting the Hudson River Valley so any event or tour that I can go on is an excuse to come up here. I had visited all the sites that I wanted to see on a trip two weeks earlier but wanted to see them in more detail plus I wanted to take some pictures. The weather finally broke, and it was a much more pleasant 83 degrees as opposed to the 96 degrees the trip before. That makes the trip much nicer.
I asked my aunt along so that we could share in the experience, and I could use her phone to take pictures of the all the sites. It is a much nicer trip when you have someone along who enjoys these things. The one nice thing about traveling to the Fishkill, New York area is that it is only an hour away and a straight run…
Visiting the Van Wyck Homestead is like stepping back into the past to see a part of our nation’s history. The homestead sits at a once pivotal point location in the Hudson River Valley and during the Revolutionary War, George Washington established his main northern supply depot here in October of 1776. After the war was over, the Van Wyck family returned to the home and lived here for five generations until the late 1800’s. The last member of the family, Sidney Van Wyck hung himself in the barn on the property (Van Wyck Homestead pamphlet).
The house was built in two sections. The original section of the house off to the right of the building is the original section of the home that was built in 1732 and the larger section of the home was finished in the 1750’s.
When you enter the homestead, you are greeted in the hallway that runs the length of the main part of the home. To the right of the hallway is old living room and to the right of the hallway is the combination kitchen and dining room. The stairs leading to the upstairs, now serving as offices, are at the end of the hallway.
The former Dining Room of the Van Wyck home with the fireplace of the addition of the house. The crib in front of the fireplace is a recent donation from the Van Wyck family and had been used by the family for generations.
The family portrait above the fireplace was recently returned to the home and fit perfectly above the fireplace. The Spinning Wheel is another family heirloom donated to the house.
An original piece of Van Wyck furniture returned to its home
When you step down the stairs into the smaller part of the original part of the house, you will be greeted in by the original kitchen and living space. This was used by the family for all functions of work and social aspects of the farm.
Items used in Colonial and Victorian kitchens
Items in the Colonial kitchen display which have not changed much over the years.
The Colonial Kitchen at the Van Wyck Homestead
To the right of the hallway is the old Living Room that is now used as a lecture hall and where meetings are held. The room was dedicated to George Washington for the service that he did for the area during the war.
The old Dining Room and lecture room
The Revolutionary War displays in the old Living Room
The room is lined with displays that are dedicated to the family and the war years. All sorts of artifacts and pictures are displayed here.
The display case in the old Dining Room
In the back of the home is the old Library that is now used a Research Library on the history of the area and of the Van Wyck family. Here you can research your roots in the community.
The Research Library at the Van Wyck Homestead
The Research Library at the Van Wyck Homestead
When you walk the grounds, the story boards tell the story of the home as it played a role in the history of the region and its place in the war years.
The Path to Victory
On the grounds of the home is also a working garden and the working beehive oven that is a recreation of the original that once stood on the property.
The Van Wyck Garden and outdoor over towards the back
History of the Van Wyck Homestead:
(From the Museum pamphlet)
In 1732, Cornelius Van Wyck from Hempstead, Long Island, acquired 959 acres from Madame Brett. He built the small east wing of the Van Wyck Homestead. By 1757, the larger west wing of the home had been added. During the Revolutionary War, George Washington established his main northern supply depot here in October of 1776. The Van Wyck house was requisitioned by the Continental Army to serve as the depot’s headquarters.
At the end of the Revolutionary War, the house reverted back to the owner, Issac Van Wyck. The old barracks and huts used for the war were torn down and the land went back to farming. The Van Wyck descendants lived in the house until the late 1800’s.
The original part of the house was built in 1732
By the mid-twentieth century, the house stood empty and was slated to be torn down for the new Interstate 84. The Fishkill Historical Society was formed in 1962 and after going to Albany, members were successful in getting the historical building saved and I-84’s plan changed. The Fishkill Historical Society was able to purchase the property and begin the restoration. This work is ongoing as we maintain this historical structure and grounds.
The Homestead is listed on the National Register and is part of the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area. It is also part of the Rochambeau Trail which celebrates the French Alliance with the new United States.
The historic marker outside the house donated by the Daughters of the American Revolution. A cemetery for soldiers of the American Revolution were buried somewhere near the estate. When graves were discovered south of the museum, this could have been one of the resting places for them (Van Wyck pamphlet).
I was in Upstate New York visiting Cooperstown to see the Baseball Hall of Fame and when I finished, I travelled up the road to see the Fenimore Art Museum. What an unique museum packed with interesting art from all aspects of the medium.
The middle level of the museum specialized in early American works and paintings from the Hudson River School. Across the hall was the history of the Cooper family who once owned all the land in the area, developed it to the town known as Cooperstown as a planned community.
The collection dedicated to the Cooper family
The lower level was dedicated to the Thaw Collection of American Indian Art which was pretty extensive. I liked the collection of spiritual masks that could scare away any evil spirit. The collection of small dolls and icons makes you wonder how they if ever captured any spirits. Their collection of clothing was interesting too.
The Thaw Collection
The upper floor was dedicated to a visiting exhibition of block printing by artist ‘Albrecht Durer’ and the lower level featured the photos of the ‘Blue Garden’ by photographers Gross and Daley. ‘Peter Souza’, the photographer of President Obama and President Reagan, showed the contrasts and comparisons of the two presidents. There was a lot to see in one day.
One of the photo’s from the “Blue Gardens” exhibition
The History of the Fenimore Art Museum:
The Fenimore Art Museum originated as the New York State Historical Association, founded in 1899 by New Yorkers who were interested in promoting greater knowledge of the early of the state. They hoped to encourage original research, to educate general audiences by means of lectures and publications to mark places of historic interest with tablets or signs and to start a library and museum to hold manuscripts, paintings and objects associated with the history of the state.
The Fenimore Art Museum
In 1939, Stephen Carlton Clark, offered the organization a new home in the village of Cooperstown, NY. Clark, an avid collector, took an active interest in expanding the holdings of the Association and in 1944 donated Fenimore House, one of his family’s properties, to be used as a new headquarters and museum. The impressive neo-Georgian structure was built in the 1930’s on the site of James Fenimore Cooper’s early 19th century farmhouse on the shore of Otsego Lake, Coopers Glimmerglass.
Fenimore House was large enough to have both extensive galleries as well as an office and library space. The collections and programs continued to expand and a separate library building was constructed in 1968. In 1995, a new 18,000 square foot wing was added to the Fenimore House to accommodate the Eugene and Clare Thaw Collection, which is one of the nation’s premier collections of American Indian Art. In 1999 in recognition of our world class collections, we renamed the Fenimore House to the Fenimore Art Museum.
The Collection includes The Thaw Collection of American Indian Art, Fine Art & Folk Art, Photography and the Research Library.
Fenimore Art Museum is dedicated to welcoming and connecting people to our shared cultural heritage through exhibitions and programs that engage that engage, delight and inspire.
(This information comes from the Fenimore Art Museum’s website and I give them full credit for it)
When I was visiting Kingston, NY again for my blog, “MywalkinManhattan.com”, I came across the Trolley Museum that was down the road from the NY Maritime Museum and the harbor for the ‘Hudson River Cruises”. This unique museum has a lot of interactive things for a family to do including riding a trolley through the harbor of the Kingston Roundout to Kingston Point Park right on the Hudson River. On a beautiful sunny day there is nothing like it.
The first part of the trip took us to the Kingston Roundout
I just made the first trip on the trolley. You start at the front of the museum and then you take a short trip to the downtown and we picked up other passengers. It was then off for a short trolley trip following the river up to Kingston Point Park and the picnic grounds there.
The Trolley arriving at Kingston Point Park
The foliage was amazing at the park with hues of gold and red and the trees were just coming into their peak. We only had about a half hour to stay at the park and look around but it was a real delight of colors and the views of the river just shined in the sun. It was very picturesque especially with sailboats passing by.
The Trolley stops at Kingston Point Park
On our way back to the museum, you could see the lighthouse from its perch at the mouth of the inlet. People were starting to take the Hudson River Cruise in the distance which I had made two weeks earlier.
When I got back to the museum, I toured all the buses, subway cars and the Path train that they had in the parking lot. I could see this live in Manhattan so I went to visit the museum.
You can tour old subway cars, buses and an old Path Train
There were small exhibits on the history of the trolley cars in cities, the development of the cars as a mode of transportation starting with horses to the electrical age.
There was also a small display on glass fixtures used in the electrical lines before the new cabling systems came in and another hats and uniforms used on the trolley cars over the years. There are also displays of signs and posters for the different lines.
It is a small museum but for families, there is a lot to climb through and tour around and just taking the trolley up to the park is worth the price of the ticket.
History of The Trolley Museum of New York:
The Trolley Museum of New York is a non-profit educational museum founded in 1955. The goals of the museum are to offer rides to the public, exhibits and educational programs sharing the rich history of rail transportation and the role it played in the development of the Hudson Valley region. In addition to static displays of trolley, subway and rapid transit cars from the United States and Europe, a trolley ride runs 1 1/2 miles from Gallo Park at the foot of Broadway in downtown Kingston, NY to Kingston Point Park on the shore of the Hudson River, using a renovated 1925 trolley. Along the way, we stop at the Museum grounds.
The Museum is on the original site of the Ulster and Delaware Railroad yards at Milepost 1. Our shop building is built on the foundation of the U & D engine building house which existed at the turn of the century. The upper level includes a Visitor’s Center featuring seasonal and permanent displays, a video viewing area and large windows overlooking the restoration shop. Visitors can see up to eight trolleys being housed and restored below.
One of the cars in the restoration shop is our 1897 wooden trolley car from Olso, Norway. This car is one of four cars that we have on display that are 100 plus years old.
All of the Museum staff are volunteers. There are many projects, both large and small, all of which require funding to complete. Chief among these are the installation of overhead electric wire, trolley restoration and the expansion and rehabilitation of track. Your donations will help to provide vital support for these projects and others.
(This information comes from The Trolley Museum of New York’s pamphlet and I give them full credit for it).