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 views of the river more than 200 feet below. Additionally, the Motorcyclepedia Museum in Newburgh offers more than 400 historic motorcycles, some dating back as far as the beginning of the 20th century. For more about the region, visit www.hudsonvalley.org.
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 www.visitadirondacks.com.
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 views of the Adirondacks. The cars are also kitchen-equipped to provide fresh meals prepared to order.