Hudson Valley 'Staycations': Historical Hotspots

Here's your weekly guide to fun, exciting, and inexpensive activities across Putnam, Rockland and Westchester counties.

If a trip to the Caribbean or even the West Coast isn’t in your family’s budget, there are plenty of ways you can enjoy summer close to home. So what’s the plan for this week? With families gearing up for school in just a few short weeks, maybe it’s time for some history lessons right here in the Hudson Valley.

Did you know that Rockland’s famous red clay made Haverstraw famous for brick-making?

Did you know that a key revolutionary war battle was fought on the western shore of the Hudson River in Stony Point?

Learn a bit of local history while having fun at these top 5 historical sites in the Hudson Valley.

1. Stony Point Battlefield

Located on a peninsula along the Hudson River, Stony Point battlefield is the site of one of the last Revolutionary War battles fought in the northeastern colonies. In July of 1779, under the direction of General Anthony Wayne and the order of General Washington, Continental troops launched a surprise attack on the British—and right here in the Hudson Valley! Armed with bayonets only, the troops succeeded and ended the British power over the river. And, this site is a double whammy because it is also home to the oldest lighthouse on the Hudson River. Built in 1826, the Stony Point Lighthouse displays the importance of lighthouses as they were used for commerce and transportation. Admission is free and visits to the site include tours, interpretive programs, and reenactments. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to learn about some of the Hudson Valley’s most important history.

For more information visit  http://www2.lhric.org/spbattle/spbattle.htm 

2. West Point Museum

Why search far and wide for museums, when we have some of the most interesting history right in our own backyard? The United States Military Academy’s West Point Museum, located in Orange County, houses military collections over two centuries old. Its artifacts and assortment of works encompass the history of the area and of the United States Military Academy. They include the evolution of warfare, as well as the development of the American Armed Forces. The public collection is one of the largest in the Western hemisphere and is based on captured British materials brought to West Point after the battle of Saratoga. Admission to the museum is free.

For more information visit http://www.westpoint.edu/Museum/

3. Haverstraw Brick Museum 

Believe it or not, Haverstraw, located in Rockland County, was the heart and soul of the brick making industry. In the late 1700’s, it was discovered that The Hudson River shore contained large deposits of clay, which formed the perfect materials needed for the industry to prosper. For centuries, thousands of people combined the raw materials on the shore to furnish buildings all over the Hudson Valley and Manhattan. More than 60 years after the last brick yard closed, in 1941, the museum opened. With rich history and cultural information, the exhibits and displays in the museum are a must see. 

For more information visit http://www.haverstrawbrickmuseum.org/

4.   Putnam Valley Historic Society and Museum

Created by a group of Philipstown residents, the Putnam County Historical Society was founded in 1906. For years, the society devoted itself to preserving the history of the area. The museum, added to the complex in 1971, houses fine art, photographs, and artifacts from local collectors. Society members who are well-versed and experienced in the county’s history are educators and guides in the museum. People of all ages are welcome to learn about and discover the cultural history of Putnam County through diverse exhibitions, tours, and public programs.

For more information visit: http://www.pchs-fsm.org/

5. Westchester County Historic Society

Our last historic site is located in Elmsford. Here, stories about the events and people who have made the county what it is today are shared. The society was founded over a century ago and strives to collect and preserve books, pamphlets, maps, manuscripts, photographs, films, and more in order to display the rich history of Westchester and it also houses Westchester’s largest library. Delve into your roots and take the time to learn about the history of Westchester.

For more information visit http://www.westchesterhistory.com/

These are just a few of the many sites in this historic region. The best part is, there won't even be a final exam for these history lessons!

Lori May 07, 2012 at 01:00 PM
The NY State and County parks offer so much to enjoy during summer months - camping, hiking, swimming, boating and more!...very reasonably priced and close enough to enjoy somewhere new every weekend! Check local listing for free concerts and movie nights at local parks sponsored by your community and county!


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