U.S. History would be incomplete with out the spice, fire and zest of New York. The Hudson Valley is loaded with history. Sprinkled between the New York Hudson Valley and the Massachusetts Berkshires lies a thesis in US History.
Let us start with the Hudson River. 2009 represents 400 years since Henry Hudson ventured up the river that now holds his name. This venture in behalf of the Dutch soon settled many, and one Dutch ancestor, Martin Van Buren became the 8th President of the United States. He was born in this county in the small town of Kinderhook. Following his single term in office, he returned to the area and developed his homestead – Lindenwald. He successfully farmed hundreds of acres. You can now tour this home from May to October. The tour is excellent. Discover the mystery… why was President Van Buren so quickly forgotten? What challenges left him with one term in office when he clearly would have liked to continue?
To plan your trip, visit: www.nps.gov/mava
There is also Clermont (meaning "clear mountain" view of the Catskills) and is the home of Robert Livingston (and his family for over 6 generations). This man was known as Thomas Jefferson’s Minister to France and (1801-1804) and was orginally commissioned to negotiate the purchase of New Orleans. Having failed to obtain agreement from the French, Thomas Jefferson dispatched James Monroe. Almost immediately after Monroe’s arrival, terms were agreed upon for the Louisiana purchase of over 800,000 square miles at a price of $15,000,000. The story is that Mr. Livingston was put off by the fact that Monroe would get credit for his many years of work that Mr. Livingston attempted to change the date on the legal agreement to make it appear that the deal was done before Monroe’s arrival. Mr. Livingston was actually quite good at his work; this huge embrassment all goes to show that one screw up can live for eternity. Mr. Livingston also met Robert Fulton in Paris and it was there that they partnered up to build a steamboat to go up the Hudson River. 2007 was the 200th anniversary of the maiden run of Robert Fulton’s steamboat. This is a chance to see where this happened, and to inspect the home of Mr. Livingston. It is quite beautiful.
To plan your trip, visit www.friendsofclermont.org
Without question, there is far more to see for the egar adventurer. There is the Millay Poetry Trail at Steepletop – the home of Edna St. Vincent Millay ~ www.millay.org; there is the Shaker Museum and Library, www.shakermuseumandlibrary.org; a Fireman’s Museum, the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse, the Parker O’Malley Air Museum and much much more.
In Massechusetts, the number one pick is "Naumkeag Museum and Gardens". This is the 1885 estate of the Choate family; maybe was just a rich boy from the city, but the home tells you something about the period and the life that people lived… especially the servants. For more information, got ot www.thetrustees.org/naumkeag.cfm
Another great historical site is the Hancock Shaker Villiage; this tour is great. Plan for at least a half a day. This sexless society (yeah, right?) is a living legacy, a "reality" show of sorts – where people attempted to do something far from what we recognize a natural. Go ahead, count your blessings; visit www.hancockshakervillage.org for more information.
MORE INFORMATION: These are the two big tourism sites in the area – (Columbia County) – www.bestcountryroads.com and (Berkshire County) – www.berkshires.org. To have information snail-mailed to your home, go here