History of the Hudson Valley

April 28th, 2022 by

The Hudson River Valley is one of the most historic regions in the Northeastern United States. With so many notable figures, historic places, and important events tied to this area, it’s no secret why people from across the country visit this region of New York year after year. Whether you’re an American history buff looking to visit historic battlefields or a supernatural enthusiast wanting to see the mysticism of Sleepy Hollow in person, the Hudson Valley has something for everyone.

With so many impressive sites to see throughout the area, it can be overwhelming for tourists and residents alike to choose which local excursions they want to take part in. Luckily, our team at Bill Volz’s Westchester compiled a list of the top four historic sites in the Hudson Valley. With this guide, you and your loved ones can feel confident that you’ve visited the best of what the historic Hudson River Valley offers.

Kykuit, the Rockefeller Estate

Rockefeller Estate, Hudson Valley

Kykuit, also known as the Rockefeller Estate, is part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation due to its prominence within the Rockefeller family over the past 100 years. Kykuit began as the home of John D. Rockefeller, who founded the Standard Oil company and would establish one of the most influential and wealthy families in American history. Kykuit has been home to four generations of Rockefellers, solidifying its spot as one of the most important and visited sites in the Hudson Valley.

At Kykuit, you can take a tour of the massive estate’s 40 rooms, beautiful outdoor gardens, a vast art collection, and unbeatable views of the Hudson Valley. Kykuit has a selection of excursions, including classic, landmark, and time-saver tours, which cost $28 per adult and $26 for seniors, students, and children. For the grand tour of the property, tickets are $45 for all non-members. Kykuit is open for certain months of the year, usually between May and September, with special tour dates on holidays like Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day.

The U.S. Military Academy at West Point

One of the most visited attractions in Hudson Valley is the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, located in West Point, New York. West Point is the oldest military academy in the country and has had various notable alumni, including former presidents Grant and Eisenhower. A trip to West Point isn’t complete without a visit to the restored Fort Putnam, a former Continental Army garrison during the Revolutionary War located right on the school’s campus.

The West Point Museum is filled with military history and artifacts, including collections of weapons, artwork, uniforms, and other memorabilia. First-time visitors may prefer to take a guided bus tour. They can visit all of the campus’s most iconic attractions while learning about the area’s history and importance within the historic U.S. military system. Make sure you stop by the visitors center and gift shop to get the most out of your time and take home some West Point souvenirs.

Philipsburg Manor

Just a short way from Kykuit is Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow, a former milling and trading complex that housed 23 enslaved people of African descent throughout the 18th century. Frederick Philipse, a Dutch carpenter, came to what was then the Dutch colony of New Netherland in 1653 and came to own 52,000 acres of modern-day Westchester County. When the British assumed control of the colony and renamed it New York, Philipse aligned with them, and his business flourished. By 1750, the Manor housed hundreds of tenant farmers in addition to its nearly two dozen African slaves.

A visit to Philipsburg Manor involves walking through the property’s various sections, like the working gristmill. Learn about Caesar, an enslaved miller, and his work on the complex. Take a tour throughout the main house and gaze in awe at the collection of antique artifacts from the 18th century and earlier. The activity center is another great place to visit, where you can learn about the day-to-day routines and labor of the manor’s many inhabitants. Visiting Philipsburg Manor can provide anyone with a touching and informative lesson on the Hudson River Valley’s history.

Stony Point Battlefield State Historic Site

The last must-see spot on our list of the top historical attractions in the Hudson River Valley is the Stony Point Battlefield State Historic Site, located in Stony Point, New York. History enthusiasts can appreciate this site’s direct link to the Revolutionary War. Stony Point was the location of the American raid on what was formerly a British stronghold led by General Anthony Wayne on July 16th, 1779. Today, the site is home to a military museum where visitors can view Revolutionary War-era artifacts and equipment collections.

Stony Point Battlefield is a historic site in New York due to its importance in the outcome of the Revolutionary War. The site also has a lighthouse dating back to 1826, with the distinction of being the oldest lighthouse on the Hudson River. The property also has various outdoor picnic areas and an optional walking tour. Some of the entertainment and informative sessions at the site occur through historical reenactments, where actors highlight different aspects of military life in the 18th century. Admission to the Stony Point Battlefield is free for the public.

So, there you have it. That’s our list of the top four historic sites in the Hudson River Valley region of New York. We hope this article helps you learn about the unique historical sites in the area to decide where to visit next. Did we leave out one of your favorite local spots? Have a suggestion for a future article about things to do in the Hudson Valley? Feel free to contact us at Bill Volz’s Westchester, and our team members will be more than happy to work with you and answer any of your questions.

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