(Revised, 2010) With cool weather returning, September and October are popular months to explore day trips north of the city, especially through sites along the Hudson River Valley. Fall foliage, mountain scenery and a rich artistic and literary heritage contribute to the perennial popularity of the scenic villages along the river valley.
Highly recommended are visits to the sites associated with the Hudson River School artists, especially Thomas Cole's Cedar Grove and Frederic E. Church's Olana. The two estates are close to one another, on opposite sides of the Hudson, linked by the Rip Van Winkle Bridge (how charming!). Other places with special exhibitions featuring the Hudson River School include the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz, the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, and the Albany Institute of History and Art. If 19th century landscapes is not your thing, there's DIA Beacon and the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art.
Please check the individual websites for more information, including hours, directions, and admission cost. Some places are accessible by train, others only by car. The area around the Catskills is perfect for hiking and sketching. That's one reason why we have the Hudson River School in the first place.
View Art Trips Up the Hudson: Day Trips From New York City to Museums and Historic Sites in a larger map
Hudson Valley Artist Homes, Museums, and Other Historic Sites:
• Cedar Grove: The Thomas Cole National Historic Site
218 Spring Street, near the western entrance to the Rip Van Winkle Bridge, in the village of Catskill, New York. The home of Thomas Cole, the founder of the Hudson River School, is a good place to start exploring the Hudson River School Art Trail, a new theme trail to places featured in Cole paintings. The media-rich Thomas Cole National Historic Site website is worth exploring in advance. Look for the feature Explore Thomas Cole, a well-designed, informative guide to the Hudson River School history, paintings, and sites. Especially interesting are the detailed maps of artist homes and workplaces, both in the valley and in lower Manhattan.
• Olana: Persian-style home and estate of artist Frederic Edwin Church
The estate is also considered one of Church's masterpieces. The artist designed the unusual house and surrounding gardens on the site where he learned his craft from mentor Thomas Cole. The collection encompasses artwork from Church's travels all over the world. Ways to get there: Take Amtrak to Hudson, NY, then take a short taxi ride to Olana, or if driving, find the entrance off of Route 9G, one mile south of the Rip Van Winkle Bridge.
Related post on Walking Off the Big Apple: Day Trip: Up the River to Hudson, New York and a Visit to Frederic Church's Olana.
• Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, SUNY New Paltz 1 Hawk Drive New Paltz, NY
• Hudson River Museum, 511 Warburton Avenue, Yonkers, NY 10701
• Website feature, "View the Hudson River School of Art Abound Throughout New York State. from Study in New York.
• Boscobel House and Gardens, Garrison, NY
1808 house from the Federalist period on a bluff overlooking the Hudson with spectacular views. According to the website, "artists are welcome to Boscobel on the second Tuesday every month, at no admission, to practice their talents on our postcard-worthy scenery." Also see the website, Home on the Hudson: Informative and nicely-designed website created by CUNY Graduate Center Ph.D Program in Art History and Boscobel Restoration. In conjunction with the exhibit Home on the Hudson: Women and Men Painting Landscapes 1825-1875. Directions: Take the Hudson Line (Metro-North) to Cold Spring Station. MTA special info.
• Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY
• Locust Grove: The Samuel Morse Historic Site, Poughkeepsie, NY
A National Historic Landmark, the home of the inventor and painter Samuel F. B. Morse sits on 180 acres with an extensive art collection and planned gardens.
• Albany Institute of History and Art
• Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, 1701 Main Street, Peekskill, NY Open Saturdays and Sundays 12-6 p.m.
• Dia: Beacon, Riggio Galleries, 3 Beekman Street, Beacon, NY 12508.
A MTA One-Day Getaway. Read the post on Walking Off the Big Apple.
See website for information about the permanent collection and temporary exhibitions.
Directions by train: Metro-North Railroad trains from Grand Central Terminal and Poughkeepsie to Beacon station.
See related posts on Walking Off the Big Apple about the Hudson River School artists in New York City:
• The Tenth Street Studio Building and a Walk to the Hudson River
• Art and Spectacle in Nineteenth Century New York
Image at top: near 155th Street looking north on the Hudson River to the George Washington Bridge.