Up The Hudson Valley


Yes! I’ve been eager to reach this segment of The Great Loop, as I know too little about this part of the country. We’ve arrived in the Hudson River Valley (aka Hudson Valley), where the river narrows and cliffs appear and the mind imagines Native Americans in dugout canoes and early settlers on small farms and Revolutionary War action. The Hudson River is 315 miles long but we will travel just 134 of that, from Manhattan (NYC) to Albany/Troy and the start of the Erie Canal. Our stops so far are Croton-on-Hudson and Kingston. We’ve cruised about 100 miles since leaving Liberty Landing and Lower Manhattan. Concerns about running aground seem to be over, as depths have ranged from 20 feet (near the edge) to 140 feet. This river deepens to 200+ feet in some places! It’s a valley, after all. The river is named after English explorer Henry Hudson, who discovered it and later died in northern Canada after his crew mutinied. He was one of many explorers seeking the Northwest passage (connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans) but found other geographical treasures instead…and also one of many who died while exploring. Since working in Antarctica, I’ve been fascinated with these early explorers. (Earnest Shackleton’s story is the most inspiring to me.) Their stories put our own occassional risk-taking into context! ๐Ÿ˜„ Photos and captions of Many Moons‘ Great Loop adventure (Day 306/7) follow.

We cruised just 11 miles from our anchorage near the Tappan Zee Bridge to the Half Moon Bay Marina at Croton-on-Hudson. Such musical names! They derive from Native American, English, Dutch and other European origins. Half Moon Bay is named after Henry Hudson’s 1st ship, on which he discovered the Hudson River in 1609.
We had lots of Looping boats in Half Moon Bay with us.
Many Moons at a dock for the first time in a week. This time we got the end of a “T” dock, which is easier to maneuver into. With very light winds and little tide, it would have been an easy docking anyway. (We’ve had some doozies!)
Our first need was provisions, so we took the bikes (and cart) to the closest grocery store. We had to climb a fairly steep hill–did I mention the cliffs on this part of the Hudson? — and meander under and around railroad tracks.
And of course we had to look for ice cream.
Hamming it up at the ice cream place.
I took my paddle board out to a nearby beach but had to leave before I wanted to because of an incoming storm. I always take my phone with me, and often the little radio, when I go out alone, but it runs out of juice often so it’s usually connected to my recharging pack when I’m out. This makes for a clumsy bag around my shoulders at times. (I have a waterproof phone holder but it won’t fit the battery pack at the same time.)
This marina was one of our most costly, at $3/foot. (That’s $102 , for us, just to tie up for the night.) We didn’t bother to find the bathroom/shower, as you must compete for it with the nearby condo residents using their pool. The price wasn’t really worth it, but sometimes you pay what you must….
An example of the condos that border Half Moon Bay and face our marina.
After leaving Half Moon Bay, we began encountering cargo trains. (Farther south, it was passenger trains.) This one was 110 cars long. Jeff counted even more on a later train.
Bear Mountain Bridge is a toll suspension bridge, unusual because only the middle segment is suspended.
We passed houses perched on steep riverfront hillsides, and several waterfalls.
And a cargo ship getting offloaded. (Or maybe loaded.)
As we went further north, the river narrowed more.
And then West Point started coming into view! Exciting, as I’ve never seen it.
Formally named the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, this is the oldest continuously-operated Army post in the U.S., located 50 miles north of NYC. It was founded in 1802 and has delivered generations of new Army officers. A moment, please, for synchronicity….as we drove by here, I got an email from a 4-star Army General who mentioned he was at West Point recently, visiting with a former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (I worked for that same JCS Chairman in my last Navy years.) Why did he write me? He hopes to do The Great Loop next spring and found my blog somehow. I was flattered and humbled. And more determined to edit myself well! I may be a senior officer myself (O-6) but I’m a lowly officer when compared to a general (O-10). They don’t get more senior than that in peacetime, and there aren’t many. I called him “general” when responding! For military officers, rank doesn’t disappear when retired.
A passing Looper took this pic of Many Moons moving up the Hudson River.
Bannerman Castle on Pollopel Island is fascinating. I wanted to stop here for a tour, as you can anchor nearby, but we needed to keep moving. (I forget now why. Does it matter? As the First Mate on this boat, I know my rank! ๐Ÿ˜‰)
Passing Esopus Lighthouse, the only surviving wooden lighthouse on the Hudson River.
Roundout Lighthouse marked the entrance to Kingston.
Kingston is a cute little town, although I heard some people complaining about the run-down parts. (Don’t most towns and cities have run-down parts?)
We docked “for free” at the Ole Savannah restaurant, but of course it’s not really free. Some restaurants offer a free dock if you eat there. We spent about $80. (See Jeff sitting on the outside deck?)
Many Moons is visible through the 2nd-floor window of the restaurant. This building was a factory of some sort more than 100 years ago.
As soon as we tied up, I jumped off to visit the nearby museum. (It was closing soon, and I hate missing good museums.) Free for me with my military ID, and very interesting!
One new-to-me fact from this museum: ice yachting was first popular with the wealthy but its recent resurgence is mainly a blue-collar pursuit.
This school next to the museum teaches young people how to build wooden boats. You can see them at the machinery. It’s nice to see some of the traditional skills still being taught.
A family of geese (or several of them) honked past our boat as she sat on the restaurant dock.
Many Moons appears to be sitting in the marshes here….
…but when I pull back, you can see the restaurant. Aside from the usual restaurant noise and young people visiting outside until midnight, we found this a pleasant place to spend the night.

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5 thoughts on “Up The Hudson Valley

  1. Hi Mary,
    It’s really exciting and a reminder of “home” to read your blogs these past couple of days. One set of grandparents lived in Tarrytown, NY and I still have cousins residing in towns near the Hudson River. Richard and I have driven over the Bear Mountain Bridge and stayed in Albany.
    I think at least parts of the Erie Canal parallel the Thruway (I -90) and I imagine you will eventually be “dumped” into Lake Erie. I grew up on Grand Island which is located between Lake Erie and Ontario. Thank you so much for all your blogs!

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  2. Great pictures and information. Interesting the # if ” Looper” boats there. We are near Dunkirk NY and are waiting to see the Looper boats coming through. For the last week Eastern Lake Erie has been a pond, sometimes a Mirror. Hope that the weather holds for those using Lake Erie for their journey.

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