Home to the Van Rensselaer-Rankin family—one of the clans known as the "Hudson River manor lords"—from 1787 to 1963, the Georgian-style estate contains more than 20,000 objects and 30,000 manuscript documents amassed over five generations. Visitors can take guided tours of the mansion or participate in programs, such as the "Behind-the-Scenes Murder Investigation Tour," which examines the 1827 murder of John Whipple at Cherry Hill.
Completed 209 years ago by Gen. Abraham Ten Broeck, the New York Militia commander at the Battle of Saratoga in the fall of 1777, the Federal-style home has since undergone two major renovations in the Greek and Victorian styles. Visitors touring the 12-room house can see family portraits, period furnishings, and walk the lush gardens.
Moored on the Hudson River, the 1,200-ton, Cannon-class vessel is the only World War II destroyer escort still afloat in American waters. Complete with original battle armament and configuration, the onboard museum spreads across four decks—more than 80 percent of the ship—and gives visitors a sense of a sailor's daily life through the display of artifacts and memorabilia donated by sailors and their families.
Situated at the strategic junction of the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers, the 18th-century brick mansion served as a military headquarters during the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War, and the War of 1812. The restored, Dutch colonial house museum contains 18th-century furniture donated by Alice Shelp, a Van Schaick descendant, and features rotating collections from the New York State Museum.
Completed in 1813, the nation's oldest cannon manufactory supplied large-caliber cannons in the War of 1812. A small museum features exhibits on the evolution of large artillery and the arsenal's role in the war. Visitors can view 60- to 120-millimeter Abraham Tank mortars as well as a British 24-Pounder surrendered on October 7, 1777 at the Battle of Saratoga.
Alice, the wife of railroad industrialist William H. Miner, purchased the 1824 stone house in the early 1920s as a place to store her collection of artwork of the Colonial Revival Movement, which flourished in the late 19th century. Collections include a display of miniature furniture—a gate-legged table, chairs, and a chest—silhouettes, War of 1812 muskets, and historic scenes of the Battle of Plattsburgh.
On September 11, 1814, American Gen. Alexander Macomb stopped the British advance into the northern states at Plattsburgh, New York. The on-site museum contains original works of art related to the Battle of Plattsburgh and the War of 1812 along with rotating exhibits. A five-by-fifteen-foot diorama depicts the battlefield from September 6 through the 11, when British and American troops clashed on land and sea.
Located on the grounds of the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base, the museum contains examples of vehicles, boats, and railroad cars used in the Champlain Valley, including Native American canoes, barges, ferries, and a rare restored 1915 luxury Type 82 Lozier automobile, at one time the most expensive car in America.
In 1777 British troops burned the home of fervent patriot Robert R. Livingston Jr., but his wife rebuilt it between 1779 and 1782 as an agricultural showplace. Guided tours of the estate's formal gardens, bridle paths, and exhibition galleries leave from the visitors center.
Funded by the Fireman's Association of the State of New York, the 50,000-square-foot museum features 90 historic fire engines, along with equipment, and memorabilia representing more than 300 years of local firefighting history. A new exhibit, Lest We Forget: Honoring the Memory of the Firefighters of September 11, 2001, features personal artifacts of 9/11 firefighters.
Lindenwald, a 36-room, restored Federalist-style house, was home to President Martin Van Buren following his retirement in 1841. Visitors can take a ranger-guided tour through the house museum, which contains original wallpaper and furnishings, as well as campaign memorabilia from Van Buren's presidency and thousands of other objects.
Hudson River School painter Frederic Edwin Church lived in the two-story, Persian-style villa between 1861 and 1900. Visitors can view the art that Church collected, including paintings by Martin Johnson Heade and Arthur Parton, and bronze, plaster, and marble pieces by sculptor Erastus Dow Palmer. The villa also contains furniture and art that Church purchased during his trips to the Middle East and Europe.
The museum celebrates Columbia County's strong heritage of Shakers, an 18th century religious sect most noted for the violent shaking that took place during worship, as well as the hymn, "Simple Gifts." Visitors can see Shaker furniture, textiles, tools, and agricultural machinery.
In the two-story, stucco cottage located on the 180-acre campus, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt helped run Val-Kill Industries, a furniture factory that provided rural men with work during the Great Depression. After Val-Kill closed in 1936, the cottage served as a retreat, and ultimately as her home after FDR's death. Visitors can now tour the cottage, the only National Historic Site devoted to a First Lady.
This 300-acre site includes Springwood, Roosevelt's life-long home, the first U.S. Presidential Library, a museum, gardens, and trails. The visitors center features a 22-minute introductory video. Ranger-guided tours of the historic home are available. A short bus ride takes visitors to Top Cottage, the home Roosevelt built as a retreat from Springwood.
The 65-room Beaux-Arts mansion, renovated during the 1890s, was home to the Lewis-Livingston family line from 1792 until 1938. Located on the ground of the Margaret Lewis Norrie State Park, one of the Civilian Conservation Corps' signature projects of 1933, the home is filled with 17th- and 18th-century French-style furniture, oriental rugs, silks, and artwork.
The Gilded-Age, 54-room mansion, nestled on 211 acres overlooking the Hudson, was the seasonal home between 1895 and 1938 of Frederick Vanderbilt, a railroad industrialist, and his family. The 1898 home retains most of its original furnishings including the ornately carved wooden dining room ceiling.
Designed in 1852 by architect John Warren Ritch for real-estate investor Thomas Suckley and his family, the Queen Anne-style house features an interior space designed by Joseph Burr Tiffany, Louis Comfort Tiffany's cousin. Three generations have left the 35-room mansion filled with books, letters, photographs, furniture, paintings, art objects, and other personal artifacts.
During the French and Indian War, Ft. Frederic served as a critical French bastion guarding against British incursions to the north. Destroyed by the retreating French in 1759, the British occupied the peninsula and built a new and much larger fort adjacent to the old one. The visitors center features exhibits on the fort's history and military artifacts from archaeological excavations.
The French began building Fort Carillon on the Ticonderoga Peninsula in 1755 as a means of maintaining military control over Lake Champlain. A relatively small garrison here defeated a much larger British force that attacked it in July 1758 during the French and Indian War. During the Revolution a bold attack by Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold brought the fort, now called Ticonderoga, into American hands. The powder magazine and warehouse now contain the new Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center, where visitors can attend lectures. The museum contains examples of the fort's extensive collection of firearms, powder horns, maps, and documents. Visitors can also tour the King's Garden, a recreation of the early 20th-century Colonial Revival gardens.
Radical abolitionist John Brown and his two sons purchased the 244-acre farm in 1849, before leading an assault on the U.S. Arsenal at Harpers Ferry on October 16, 1859. Brown was buried at the farm after his trial, conviction, and execution for treason against the Commonwealth of Virginia. The house has been restored to its condition at the time of Brown's death with some original furnishings.
The still-operational, 46-foot-tall Second Empire lighthouse, located between Athens and Hudson, guided cargo ships along the busy Hudson River beginning in 1874. Visitors can see the bunk in which the keeper once slept and examine modern navigational techniques used to guide ships around the dangerous shoals known as the Middle Ground Flats.
Nineteenth-century American painter and founder of the Hudson River School of Art, Thomas Cole, lived at Cedar Grove from 1825 to 1848. Park rangers offer guided 40-minute tours of the home and studio. The Hudson River School Art Trail, located just 15 miles from the estate, winds through stunning woods and peaks of the Catskills that inspired his romantic landscapes.
Stephen Vail, owner of Speedwell Ironworks, purchased 275 acres here in 1733. Today, seven-and-a-half acres of the mid-19th-century original estate remain and contain a reconstructed factory building, the facility where Vail and Samuel Morse first tested the electric telegraph, a granary featuring exhibits on early farm machinery, and a 1849 carriage house.
The 1,697-acre park contains Ford Mansion, which served as Gen. George Washington's headquarters in early 1777 and again in the winter of 1779. The adjacent museum contains two museum galleries featuring a 25-minute film on 18th-century soldier life, and visitors can hike up Fort Nonsense hill nearby, where soldiers built a safe house in the spring of 1777 for defense against British attack. Jockey Hollow Visitors Center, located 5 miles from the fort, features a reconstructed Revolutionary soldier's hut and mural of the 10,000 troops that camped there during the winter of 1779.
From 1892 to 1954, the nation's largest immigration station processed more than 12 million steamship passengers from all over the world. Housed in the 40,000- square-foot Great Hall, located 10 minutes from Battery Park or State Park by ferry, the museum features the history of American immigrants, including printed materials, interactive displays, oral histories, and genealogical records.
A half-mile south of the tip of Manhattan, the strategically-located 172-acre island served by turns as a naval fortress, military prison, and supply base for the United States between 1783 and 1996. Visitors can take guided walking tours, interact with living history characters, and rent bicycles to explore the island's scenic views. A 10-minute ferry ride leaves from the Battery Maritime Building every hour.
New York's most distinguished historical society exhibits treasures from its 60,000-artifact collection at the Henry Luce III Center for the Study of American Culture on the Upper West Side. On permanent display are John James Audubon's watercolors for The Birds of America, Hudson River School masterpieces by Thomas Cole and Asher Durand, and 132 ornate, stained-glass Tiffany lamps from the Neustadt Collection. Visitors can also learn about New York's regional history and art through audio guides, information plaques, and interactive computer terminals.
Boasting 30,000-square-feet of exhibit space, the museum located on the East River waterfront in Lower Manhattan's 12-block historic district contains a 19th-century print shop, paintings by John Rubens Smith, whalebone carvings, over 1,000 ship models native to New York, and a 20,000 volume maritime library. Berthed at the pier outside are eight tall ships, including Peking and Wavertree. The 1885 schooner Pioneer offers two-hour cruises that leave from Pier 17.
The Women's Roosevelt Memorial Association purchased the land and rebuilt Theodore Roosevelt's birthplace and boyhood brownstone home. Thirty-minute guided tours lead through the five period rooms, decorated with the original home's furnishings. Two museum galleries contain Roosevelt's personal belongings.
Across from West Point sits the former island fortress site that served as the northernmost anchorage for the 80-ton Great Chain that stretched south across the river to Fort Arnold during the Revolutionary War, preventing British warships from sailing upriver. Visitors can hike the 280 acres of wooded trails and visit the 250-year-old Warner mansion that was home to Anna Warner, author of the hymn "Jesus Loves Me," and her sister, Susan, who wrote The Wide, Wide World.
In 1714, after fleeing the Spanish Inquisition, the Sephardic Jew and fur-trader Luis Gomez, built the colonial Dutch fieldstone blockhouse, which remains the earliest surviving Jewish residence in North America. Visitors can tour the two-story home, examine exhibits of decorative arts and furnishings used by prior owners, and view the ruins of a Native American ceremonial structure here before Gomez built his home.
Monroe, New York, contains a 30-acre living history town that includes the replicas of a 19th-century post office, schoolhouse, drugstore, and 22 other buildings. Reenactors demonstrate the routine tasks of daily 19th-century rural life through candle-making, weaving, and blacksmithing exhibitions.
A year after the British surrendered at Yorktown, Gen. Washington established winter quarters at New Windsor for his 7,000 troops to await news from the peace negotiations in France. Reenactors in period dress demonstrate musket drills, blacksmithing, and military medicine. Nearby stands the National Purple Heart Hall of Fame, memorializing the first award of the American Badge of Merit, a purple cloth Washington gave to three soldiers. Exhibits and archived interviews detail the stories of Purple Heart recipients.
The nation's oldest military academy lies on the grounds of the historic Fortress West Point on the Hudson, 50 miles north of New York City. Each year 1,000 new graduates join the Long Gray Line commissioned as 2nd Lieutenants in the U.S. Army. The visitors center provides information about a self-guided tour through the West Point Museum, which contains collections of West Point's military history.
While headquartered at Jonathan Hasbrock's Newburgh farmhouse in August 1783, George Washington rejected an offer of American kingship and rode south to placate his angry soldiers brewing conspiracy against the fledging American government. Visitors can tour the seven-acre grounds, which offer a scenic view of Beacon Mountain, the Hasbrouck home, and the Tower of Victory, commemorating Washington's cease fire order in 1783.
Built by businessman States Dyckman in 1808, the Federal-style house originally stood in Montrose, until it was moved to Garrison during the mid-20th-century. The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival takes place on the 45-acre grounds during the summer.
Manitoga—"Place of the Great Spirit" in Algonquin—became the name of industrial designer Russel Wright's modern estate in 1961. Visitors can tour Wright's famous Dragon Rock studio and hike the four miles of walking trails.
On August 16, 1777, the Continental army under Gen. John Stark delivered a significant defeat to the British army under Gen. John Burgoyne, which was attempting to capture military supply stores nearby. In Bennington, Vermont, four miles east of the New York border, visitors can climb a 306-foot stone monument commemorating the important victory.
The 19th-century iron works and industrial complex, wedged between the Hudson River and Wynantskil Creek, housed the 250-ton Burden Water Wheel, the most powerful vertical water wheel of its kind ever built. The visitors center contains an interactive exhibit about the famous wheel and the iron industry. The walking RiverSpark Tour leads through seven industrial communities, which were all once thriving centers of the iron and textile industries.
Completed in the early 18th century, the two-and-a-half story brick manor house of the influential Van Rensselaer family sits at the center of what was once a 700,000-acre estate, the first and only successful Dutch patroonship established in America. British and American troops camped here during the French and Indian and Revolutionary Wars, and legend has it that British army surgeon Richard Schuckburgh composed "Yankee Doodle" while quartered upstairs. The museum will re-open this summer with new exhibits featuring artifacts from excavations of nearby Fort Orange, a Dutch trading fort dating from 1624.
More than 60,000 Troy area residents, including "Uncle Sam" Wilson, the 18th-century meat-packer who served as the inspiration for America's national symbol, are interred at this 400-acre rural cemetery with sweeping views of the Hudson Valley. Visitors can also explore the preserved 19th-century Victorian gatehouses and gothic chapels.
When completed in 1924, the 1,641-foot-long edifice was the largest suspension bridge in the world, and paved the way for the larger George Washington and Golden Gate Bridges. The Tudor-style tollhouse, located on the Hudson River's west shore at the bottom of Camp Smith Trail, provides tourist information for Bear Mountain's parks.
Gen. George Washington used the house as his military headquarters on four separate occasions, most notably to authorize Maj. John Andre's execution. The Grand Lodge of New York Masons, of which Washington was a member, meticulously restored Rockland County's oldest structure to the Colonial Dutch style in which it was built; the Lodge also maintains exhibits and artifacts that relate to Washington and Andre.
Comprised of four structures, a 7,200-square-foot museum of Rockland history and three restored farm structures—the 1832 Blauvelt House, barn, and carriage house—the society facilitates exhibits on Haitian and Irish immigrant heritage, tours, and craft and cooking demonstrations that recreate 19th-century Anglo-Dutch colonial life.
Frequented by Gen. George Washington and other famous patriots of the Revolutionary War, the tavern also served as the point of detainment for Benedict Arnold's British co-conspirator, Maj. John Andre, before his execution. More than 200 years later, the tavern serves ales, steaks, and entrees at tables resting by the original fireplace and bar.
At midnight on July 16, 1779, Brig. Gen. Anthony Wayne and his 700 Continental troops seized a British fortress at Stony Point, 25 miles north of Manhattan, following one of the most daring bayonet charges of the Revolutionary War. The 45-acre state park contains trails leading to earthworks, a small museum, and the 1826 Stony Point Lighthouse, the oldest of its kind on the Hudson River.
On July 23, 1885, shortly after completing his memoirs at the four-room Adirondack cottage, President Ulysses S. Grant died of throat cancer. The rooms and their furnishings remain nearly untouched since his residence. Visitors can view his personal items, deathbed, and floral arrangements from the funeral.
Located directly across from the Saratoga Race Course, home to the oldest thoroughbred horse race in the U.S., the 17,000-square-foot museum celebrates America's legendary jockeys, trainers, and horses. Visitors can experience the interactive "Ready to Ride" exhibit that simulates racing from a jockey's point of view, and see trophies, uniforms, and other memorabilia spanning three centuries of equestrian sport.
In the fall of 1777, the Continental Army delivered a crippling defeat to the British at Saratoga, an action that cemented America's pivotal alliance with France. The visitors center on the grounds of the four-square-mile battlefield contains a theater showing a 20-minute orientation film, a fiber-optic map, and displays of military artifacts. Just north in the town of Victory, visitors can survey the park from atop the Saratoga Monument, a 155-foot granite obelisk built 100 years after the battle.
(518) 664-9821 ext. 224
Renowned for its curative mineral springs, Saratoga County has attracted tourists since the mid-19th century. Visitors can relax in restored European-style bathhouses once frequented by the nation's elite, and explore the 2,200-acre park's many spas and natural geysers. The park is also home to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, where the New York City Ballet and Philadelphia Orchestra hold regular outdoor performances during the summer.
Nearly 4,000 artifacts, maps, models, paintings, and documents relating to the canal's 185-year history are on display in the 19th-century Gothic Revival chapel, including a wall-sized map of the 108-mile canal and portraits of Delaware and Hudson president John Wurts and New York governor Dewitt Clinton. An adjacent one-half mile nature trail, known as the Five Locks Walk, leads to locks 16 through 20 of the original canal.
Early-20th-century photographs, films, and equipment at 127-year-old Phoenicia Station present the history of railroads and their role in the Catskill region's development. Visitors can tour the inside of a Delaware and Hudson Railway baggage car, or view the restoration of a 19th-century locomotive, Engine 23. The station is the northwest terminus of Catskill Mountain Railroad's Kingston-Phoenicia line, which offers scenic rides of the region in vintage coach cars.
New York's only museum devoted to Hudson River maritime history, located in a boat shop on the historic Kingston harbor, features indoor and outdoor exhibits, including maps, a five-foot-long model of the Staten Island ferry, maritime antiques, such as ice yachts and a steam hoisting engine, and the still-operational 19th-century tugboat Mathilda. Guides offer seasonal daily boat rides to the 94-year-old Rondout lighthouse.
Completed in 1869 at the mouth of Esopus Creek, the Coast Guard lighthouse was abandoned in 1954 and later restored by the Saugerties Lighthouse Conservancy in 1990. Today, the 46-foot-tall lighthouse is accessible by a one-half mile nature trail; its keeper offers personal tours of the lighthouse and its two guest rooms (if not occupied). A museum room features models of 19th-century steamships and a film on the lighthouse's history and restoration.
Located in the 1865 Victorian Delong House, the museum focuses on the history of Glens Falls and the southern Adirondacks. The Stoddard Gallery contains approximately 3,000 photographs by Seneca Ray Stoddard of Adirondack landscapes and communities.
Built in 1755 during the French and Indian War as a staging point for sorties against French Fort Carillon, the British stronghold fell to French forces in 1757 and was destroyed. The subject of Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans, the battle ended with the murder of some surrendered British soldiers by Native Americans. Rebuilt for tourists in the 1950s, the fort devotes three barracks to the exhibition of artifacts from the on-site archaeological excavation. Guided tours and living history events offer children the opportunity to wear 18th-century-style uniforms and participate in military drills.
Paper mill owners Louis and Charlotte Hyde furnished their Italian Renaissance house with 2,800 paintings, sculptures, and pieces of decorative arts by Cezanne, Picasso, Van Gogh, Eakin, Homer, and Ryder. Highlights from the collection are Degas's bronze Horse at Trough and a sketch of the Mona Lisa attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, viewable by appointment.
Eight warships from the French and Indian War in the 18th century lie more than 25 feet beneath the surface of Lake George, scuttled by their British crews in 1758. Among them, marked by buoys and open to divers, are seven of the 900 bateau used during the British attack on Fort Carillon in the summer of 1758, as well as the 50-foot-long radeau Land Tortoise, the oldest intact war vessel in North America.
The island served as a base camp for the famous irregular fighter Maj. Robert Rogers and his Rangers during the French and Indian War. The visitors center houses exhibits documenting the Native American occupation, the history of nearby Fort Edward, and the Little Wood Creek Archaeological Site, once a Native American village area.
In 1874 New York Supreme Court Judge Joseph Potter built the three-story Victorian Gothic-style manor out of sandstone quarried from Skene Mountain. Converted into bar and restaurant in 1946, the home and gardens are open for tours.
The 90-acre former estate of attorney and investment banker, Walter Rosen, hosts world-class music concerts year-round. The open-air Venetian Theatre, among three on-site perfomance venues, is home of the annual Caramoor International Music Festival. Southeast of the theatre is the Rosen House summer villa containing entire rooms imported from European palaces, which serve as galleries for a lavish collection of Renaissance, 18th-century, and Eastern art.
(914) 232-5035 ext. 221
The two-floor, restored 1876 mansion contains an extensive collection of 19th- and 20th-century American art, including works by Hudson River School painters Jasper Cropsey and Albert Beirstadt. Contemporary collections spill into the 15,000-square-foot addition. The Andrus Planetarium is also on site.
An eight-minute shuttle ride north from Philipsburg Manor takes visitors to Kykuit, the six-story, 40-room mansion of John D. Rockefeller. After viewing a 10-minute presentation on the Rockefeller family history, visitors can choose one of four guided tours, including the three-hour Grand Tour through the interior, containing original paintings and sculpture by Auguste Rodin, Alexander Calder, and Pablo Picasso among others. Nearly three times the size of the mansion, the barn contains a collection of carriages and antique cars such as a 1924 Ford Model T.
The sprawling Gothic manor was previously home to former New York City mayor William Paulding, Jr. and robber baron Jay Gould, who built the nation's first steel-framed conservatory on its lawns. Visitors may wander the narrow halls lined with vaulted windows and 19th-century landscapes, or rest under the shade of linden trees in the 67-acre park designed in the English naturalist style.
In the late 17th century, the Anglo-Dutch Philips family of merchant-farmers established the manor in present-day Tarrytown, New York, acquiring 23 enslaved Africans to operate its holdings. Today, actors recreate a northern manor slave's daily life, emphasizing daily chores, methods of resistance, and the few means of recreation available. Guided tours of the manor house and working grist mill are available.
Founded in 1849, the 90-acre cemetery contains the final resting places of its many luminaries, including Andrew Carnegie, Walter Chrysler, William Rockefeller, Elizabeth Arden, Leona Helmsley, and Washington Irving. Across the street, a sculpture of the Headless Horseman pays tribute to Irving's enduring legacy.
In 1963, David Rockefeller commissioned Marc Chagall to produce nine biblically-themed stained glass windows to flank the nave of the family church. The church also contains the last work of French artist Henri Matisse, the eight-petalled rose window above the chancel. Visitors can sign up for guided 30-minute tours.
Washington Irving, author of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," lived in the early 19th-century stone colonial Dutch cottage from 1835 until his death in 1859. The riverfront home contains a large collection of the author's possessions, including his writing desk and book collection. Guides in Victorian dress provide 45-minute tours of the dining room, study, kitchen, bedrooms, and the 10-acres of pastoral grounds that blossom with wildflowers in the spring.