The Richness of America's Rhine | October
Golden hues of burgundy, orange, and brown cling to the treetops, and the smells of apples and pumpkins fill the air. Get the hot cocoa ready because there’s a chill in the air. October on New York’s Hudson River is a leaf peeper’s paradise.
Watch the landscape change from skyscrapers to picturesque little villages as you leave the tourists and traffic behind. Follow the river 25 miles north of Manhattan, and you’ll arrive in Sleepy Hollow, the legendary town where Washington Irving’s novel was set. Plan to arrive around Halloween, and you’ll catch Legend’s Weekend, where haunted hayrides and a headless horseman send chills up your spine. If you like to be spooked as much as I do, head ashore and visit the final resting places of Irving, Andrew Carnegie, Walter Chrysler, Elizabeth Arden, and William Rockefeller at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. If you’d rather go hiking or horseback riding in Rockefeller State Park, stop by nearby Stone Barns to learn about a working farm. Located on the property is a quaint restaurant called Blue Hill, which I recommend visiting for the atmosphere as much as the incredible menu, which changes seasonally and incorporates ingredients directly from the farm.
Continue up the Hudson, a.k.a. America’s Rhine, for another 20 miles, and you’ll pass the United States Military Academy at West Point on your port side. Slow down and watch the cadet formations during the week or stay for a football game (there are two home games in October) and brunch at historic Thayer Hotel on the weekends. You can tie up in nearby Cold Spring, which is said to have been named by George Washington after he enjoyed a drink from one of the town’s springs. The village is now known for its seemingly endless antique shops.
A few miles north of Cold Spring, you’ll find Beacon, a once-thriving industrial town that is enjoying a recent revitalization from a contemporary art museum that opened in 2000 and the large community of artists that have followed from Manhattan since.
If you’re warm-blooded, continue northward to Hyde Park and the Culinary Institute of America (the other CIA). There are four restaurants and two cafes on campus that are run by the students, open to the public, and each features a different style of cuisine. (I never miss the pastries at the Apple Pie Bakery Cafe.) Just north of CIA you’ll come upon the birth- and burial place of Franklin D. Roosevelt. His home is located in Hyde Park along the eastern shore of the river, an area that has been nicknamed Millionaire’s Row, as many of America’s elite families had large mansions here.
But it’s not the Rockefellers or the Vanderbilts that make the Hudson River rich. It’s the majestic views, mouth-watering meals, storied towns and people, and historical events that make this a waterway not to miss, especially when the temperature cools and the leaves start to turn those magical colors.
January: British Virgin Islands
February: Great Abaco Island / Bahamas
March: Little Harbor Cay / Bahamas
April: Los Sueños / Costa Rica
July: Washington, D.C.
August: British Columbia
September: Montauk, Long Island
October: Hudson River, New York
November: Half Moon Cay / Belize
December: St. Barts
This article originally appeared in the December 2006 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.