Looky Loo On The Hudson: Hudson River Cruises, Kingston NY
My adventure with Hudson River Cruises came about because I like to focus on an aspect of a National Park and explore it further. Relevant National Parks? The Roosevelt and Vanderbilt National Historic Sites on the banks of the Hudson at Hyde Park NY.
If I wanted to understand how the Roosevelts came to be who they were, I had to know more about their milieu.
Truth be told, that’s maybe a convenient way of saying I just had to check out the Roosevelts’ wealthy neighbors, and taking a boat ride on a sunny day seemed like a grand idea.
So, I went sightseeing with Hudson River Cruises out of Kingston NY.
Where’s the cruise?
I’ll leave it to you about how to get to the harbor area in Kingston. A word of caution, however: don’t believe everything your GPS tells you. The website directions (or phone call) for the Hudson River Cruises will be 1000% more reliable, unless perhaps you’d like to end up in the drink on the wrong end of a big bridge.
Kingston NY is near I-87. Hmmm…Exit and Explore: a great break from a boring drive.
The best seats for looky loos
Evidently, my looky loo propensities would have been better served if I had a clue about the best seats for looky loos.
Yep. It turns out there’s a strategy for situating oneself on a cruise boat. Who’d have thunk? The folks above evidently knew exactly what they were doing, since they staked out (thoroughly and completely) the starboard side, the side nearest the river bank. Yours truly was the sole occupant on the port side….
Hmmm….the smart folks face the mansions on the bank at close quarters, I go bug-eyed at the deep water expanse of Hudson stretching before me.
Learn something new everyday…
The cruise gets underway, and there’s already a lot to see. For one, there’s a museum in Kingston Harbor that features a polished, refurbished, cute-as-a-button tug boat.
And, if you’d rather see work-a-day tug boats, no problem. Just a short way along, you’ll have a chance.
Seeing these tugboats quite sets a theme for the trip: the Hudson River as commercial resource. Before it became a fancy place to own a palace (aka “summer home”) the natural bounty of the river made a lot of people rich. Presumably it still does.
A big river with big boats laden with stuff and people is clearly going to need some cute lighthouses. You’ll be delighted to know that two adorable examples will soon float right by you.
And then the mansions begin…
There are way too many to illustrate here, and it’s not in me to spoil your trip with an advance peek, but how about this one for a little pied à terre?
The National Parks?
The cruise won’t take you quite as far south as the Roosevelt and Vanderbilt Estates.
However, it’s a great way to get context for the two families. They were quintessential Hudson River-ites for many reasons.
Hudson River Cruises takes you out for about 2 hours.
Dusty Car Muddy Boots finds Mills-Norrie State Campground likable for convenience to the National Park sites and because you can hang out and get a good feel for the river there: it lies on the Hudson River bank near Hyde Park. Mills-Norrie Campground is very basic.
If you’re coming from Albany, DCMB strongly recommends Schodack Island State Campground. This one is an all-time fave. It, too, sits on the bank of the Hudson River, but it’s very spiffy (as in brand new) and beautifully taken care of. The ranger even delivers ice and wood to you at your site (sorta like pizza delivery)….
Learning and pleasure
Yeppers, this trip was about being a peering into the lifestyle of the rich and famous under the guise of intellectual adventuring. So be it: it was fun besides.
If you love to take local cruises, try this one on Lake Sunapee in New Hampshire. What a great location for fall leaf peepers and perennial looky loos. Lake Sunapee Cruise: Exit And Explore Near I-89 NH.
Photo credits. All… ©DustyCarMuddyBoots.com, All Rights Reserved.