Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Hudson River Cruise



From October 17th through the 23rd we were on a cruise up the Hudson River. Since arriving home, I have been sick for three days, and have had a sick computer for a couple of other days. I think both the computer and I are now doing OK, at least for today.
I had never seen the Hudson, and I certainly didn’t realize how BIG it is. One of the most interesting stops for me was at West Point. It was raining, cold and an altogether miserable day; even so we were impressed. The soggy view of the river was still gorgeous. We saw as much of the campus as we could from the bus, and spent quite a bit of time in the visitors’ center.
I will say this only once, and you can rely upon its being true for every day: We arrived back at the ship in time for the cocktail hour. After all, one has to have priorities.
Without going into too much detail, we took self-guided walking tours of Troy, Catskill and Kingston. Between stops the on-board historian, Sandy Balla, told us of the history, economics and life style of the various cities, from the time of the Native Americans through the Dutch through the English, and into the American adventure.
We also learned something of the local art styles and crafts. The Hudson River scenic paintings were beautiful, and local artists are still creating them.
I wish to mention the Maritime Museum at Kingston. On display are early marine objects, paintings, ice boats, and river exhibits and memorabilia of all kinds.
No trip on the Hudson would be complete without a visit to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Home, Library and Museum at Hyde Park. The home is strictly Victorian style, and I have a hard time understanding how such a charismatic leader could come from such a depressing atmosphere. As is typical for presidential museums, FDR’s is devoted to his successes, of which there were many, with very little attention paid to his shortcomings, and he had a few.
Upon our return to the New York Area, the captain took us on a close-up look around the Statue of Liberty. It was a great reminder of the ideals that, sad to say, seem to have slipped a bit.
We also took a three hour bus tour of NYC. Besides the choking traffic and far too many buildings to remember, we saw the Strawberry Fields (a John Lennon memorial), the Dakota where Lennon lived, and Ground Zero, now a construction site. Ground Zero was a reminder of that terrible day in 2001 – another day which shall live in infamy.
It was a good cruise – I highly recommend it. Please view the pictures  for a visual sampling.
One more thing: we have tried to visit as many presidential homes or libraries as we could; so far we have been to eleven. I wish everyone, Democrat or Republican, could see all of them – all presidents have had their triumphs and failures. Not surprisingly, they appear to be human.

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