Recently my friends and I booked the American Cruise Line’s “Hudson River Fall Foliage Cruise”.  And lo and behold, we did see fall foliage!  I think we had the one-week of perfect weather in the area in the last 6 months. Lucky us!

We boarded our ship in New York Harbor, after spending one free day sightseeing New York City.  Another perfect day for viewing the Statue of Liberty (did you know it’s actually in New Jersey and not the state of New York?) and riding the double-deck bus for a birds-eye view of busy Manhattan and the protestors in the park

Our trip up the river included a visit to the historic New York State Capital building in Albany.   Albany is the longest continuously chartered city in the U.S., and has one of the most ornate Capital Buildings I’ve seen.   They spared no expense as the saying goes!

Stopping in Catskill and Kingston, we were treated to detailed history of the British Army’s battle to take the cities in 1777.  Burning Kingston to the ground, which only inspired the residents to rebuild and fight on.  Instead of taking the narrated bus tours, we walked into the downtown area and had a chance to talk to the long-time residents ,who understandably are very proud to relate their colorful history.

Kingston on the Hudson River

Kingston Harbor

The highlight of the trip – at least to me – was a narrated tour of West Point.  I had never really thought that much about the facility, but my mind was certainly changed while we enjoyed the 2-hour guided tour of this granite citadel which sits high above the Hudson River with magnificent views of the Hudson River Valley.   The character and valor of those men who studied and graduated there is truly inspiring.  “Duty, Honor, Country”: the theme of West Point is obvious in the history, and those cadets currently  serving there.

“Cadet life is no mere holiday training – no refined dandyism, but a four years’ devotion to mind body and heart to discipline and study; more severe, by far, than is required at any other educational institution in the land.”  Words from an 1867 “Guide to West Point and the United States Military Academy.”

General George Washington

West Point and the Hudson River