Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Hudson River Valley Dutchess County

Mid Atlantic Travel Itineraries

The Hudson Valley extends 150 miles above the tip of Manhattan. Designated as a National Heritage Area, the valley is steeped in history, natural beauty, culture, food and farmers’ markets.

Colonial Era The first Dutch settlement was established at Fort Nassau, a trading post south of modern day Albany, in the early 17th century, with the purpose of exchanging European goods for beaver pelts.

During the French and Indian War in the 1750s, the northern end of the valley became the bulwark of the British defense against French invasion from Canada via Lake Champlain. The valley also became one of the major regions of conflict during the American Revolution.

19th Century following the building of the Erie Canal, the area became an important industrial center as the canal opened the Hudson Valley and New York to commerce with the Midwest and the Great Lakes.

The region is associated with the Hudson River School, a group of American Romantic painters who worked from about 1830 to 1870. The natural beauty of the Hudson Valley has earned the Hudson River the nickname "America's Rhineland" a comparison to the famous 40 mile (65 km) stretch of Germany's Rhine River valley between the cities of Bingen and Koblenz.
Tourism became a major industry as early as 1810, as elite visitors frequented the mineral waters at Ballston Spa and Saratoga Springs with convenient steamboat connections from New York City, and numerous attractive hotels in romantic settings.
The Hudson River is navigable for a great distance above mile 0 off Battery Park. The original Erie Canal connected the Hudson with Lake Erie enabling shipping between cities on the Great Lakes and Europe via the Atlantic Ocean. The Hudson Valley also proved attractive for railroads, once technology progressed to the point where it was feasible to construct the required bridges over tributaries. When the Poughkeepsie Bridge opened in 1889, it became the longest single-span bridge in the world. On October 3, 2009, it re-opened as a pedestrian walkway over the Hudson, connecting over 25 miles of existing pedestrian trails.

Winemaking The Hudson Valley is the oldest wine making and grape-growing region in the United States, with roots established as early as 1677. Many wineries are located in the Hudson Valley, offering wine-tasting and other tours.

Dutchess County is 800 square miles of natural scenic beauty, historic and cultural landmarks, and outdoor recreation. Stroll the Walkway Over the Hudson. Tour and taste along the Dutchess Wine Trail. Explore the homes of FDR and Vanderbilt. Taste new creations at The Culinary Institute of America. Fill the pantry at farm markets. Cruise the Hudson River. Video

Historic Estates Museums Presidential Libraries and Hiking Trails
Explore FDR’s Home, Presidential Library and Museum, with two floors of new interactive exhibits. Tour Dia: Beacon and a city-wide celebration of the arts. Vassar’s Loeb Art Center invites you to stroll its galleries free of charge. Shop for treasures in village antique shops or specialty shops. The Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum. Observe native birds and wildlife while hiking, including 30 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Ramble or cycle three Rail Trails, including the Walkway over the Hudson State Historic Park, the world’s longest pedestrian bridge!

Hudson River Valley Scenic and Historic Walking Tours

Biking, Walking Driving Itineraries and outdoor adventures in Dutchess County and the Hudson River Valley. Outdoor recreation includes biking, hiking, horseback riding, golf, kayaking, parasailing, archery and skeet shooting.


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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Chester County Pennsylvania

American Historic Small Town Itineraries
Chester County William Penn established Chester County in 1682 as one of the first three counties in Pennsylvania; West Chester is the county seat. Other historic towns in Chester County include Kennett Square, Oxford and Phoenixville. Each has its own unique agricultural, revolutionary and industrial histories. These "Main Streets of the Brandywine Valley" are treasures of a time gone by with lovely tree-lined streets filled with restaurants, shops, galleries, markets, festivals and more. 
West Chester Nestled in the heart of the Brandywine Valley, West Chester is a picturesque and historic community that offers small-town charm with a cosmopolitan flair. Their downtown boasts 83 shops and 59 restaurants. The Chester County Historical Society is a history museum which tells the American story from a local perspective. West Chester's Main Streets offer a host of diverse shops and galleries. Specialty shops featuring imported olive oils, fine handmade chocolates, cigars and skate and surf equipment. The West Chester railroad, one of the oldest in America, offers a 90-minute train excursion through the beautiful Chester Creek Valley.
Kennett Square The town was originally called Kennet Square, with the name "Kennet", England, and "Square" coming from the original William Penn one square mile land grant. General Sir William Howe marched through Kennett to the Battle of Brandywine during the American Revolution.
Kennett is famous for being the mushroom capital of the world; over 60 percent of the nation's mushroom crop is from this region. This small town main street is filled with an eco-boutique, a rare book store, quilts, antiques and a spa. A walk down Kennett's State Street is also a culinary adventure.

Oxford On the way stop to view the historic covered bridges that surround the countryside. Then, stroll down Oxford's Main Street where Amish buggy's share the road, a vibrant art's alliance hosts exhibits, shows and events, farmers markets offer local foods and wares, and charming coffee and tea shops.
Phoenixville Like many American towns and cities, Phoenixville owes its growth to its waterways. The Phoenix Company Foundry, built in 1882, is home to the Schuylkill River Heritage Center, a historic gateway to northern Chester County that provides information about places of interest to visit throughout the region. Originally called Manavon, Phoenixville was settled in 1732. In its industrial heyday early in the twentieth century, it was an important manufacturing center and it was the site of great iron and steel mills, boiler works, silk mill, underwear and hosiery factories, a match factory, and Etruscan majolica pottery. The Iron Hill Brewery is a great gathering spot on Bridge Street, Phoenixville's main drag; it specializes in handcrafted beer and creative cuisine. Charming shops line the main street.

The Brandywine Valley Wind your way along the banks of the Brandywine River through horse country and rich farmland. The rolling hills and verdant pastures along the Brandywine Valley Byway form a lovely and dramatic backdrop including Longwood Gardens, a stunning horticultural display set on the more than 1,000 aces of the former du Pont estate and the Brandywine River Museum, housed in a 19th century gristmill. Its unparalleled collection of works by three generations of Wyeths and its outstanding collection of American illustration, still-life, and landscape paintings make it a mecca for art lovers from all over the world.

Brandywine Valley Wine Trails
Beautiful estate vineyards in the rolling hills of Chester County, charming tasting rooms and barrel-aging cellars filled with premium wines that showcase a unique terroir. Spanning scenic southeastern Pennsylvania between historic Philadelphia and the Amish countryside outside Lancaster, the four wineries of the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail are located within an easy drive of one another and are open year round. Pennsylvania's climate and terrain provide some of the best growing conditions on the east coast, allowing Brandywine Valley to be one of the state’s premier wine regions. Brandywine Valley's bucolic countryside is home to many fine wineries. Make a stop at Chadds Ford Winery, the largest wine producer in the state or visit any of the unique, family farmed wineries along the Brandywine Artisan Wine Trail.
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