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Luykas Van Alen House & Ichabod Crane Schoolhouse

Just a stone's throw away from old Kinderhook lies the historic Luykas Van Alen House and the Ichabod Crane Schoolhouse. The house was built in 1737 and has numerous stories to tell. The house was the inspiration for the Van Tassel family home in Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and was used in the 1993 film "The Age of Innocence". Van Alen himself was once charged with seditious libel by the royal New York governor William Cosby, and his wife had left him, all around the same time that this home was built, so that could have been a catalyst for the construction of this lovely house. Born in 1682, Luykas Van Alen was an early settler of Columbia County, New York and had considerable wealth in his community. The house was built in a typical Dutch style of the time, with its parapet gables, classic Dutch design doors, and entrance stoops. The house three rooms with attic space and a fireplace dominating the main room, which was typical of Dut…
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Echo Cliff

The Adirondacks have hikes for everyone. Between miles-long (and days-long) back country adventures through the rugged terrain of the High Peaks and shorter treks to scenic views that go on for miles, there is something for everyone. So on an unseasonably mild December day that I otherwise spent checking off a few waterfalls off of the Hamilton County Waterfall Challenge list, I decided to check out the relatively short trail to Echo Cliff on Panther Mountain near Piseco Lake.

From the trailhead on Old Piseco Road, it is about 0.6 mile one way up the trail to Echo Cliff. The trail is certainly well worn and popular, as the Little Sand Point Campground is nearby. But don't let the short distance fool you. There is certainly an ascent that you have to make, as it is a good 670 foot climb in elevation from the trailhead to the cliff. As is often the case with hiking trails in the Adirondacks, you will encounter your fair share of steep elevation changes, tree roots, rocks and boulder…

Eagle Cliff Falls at Havana Glen

Perhaps overshadowed by a number of more popular but equally awesome waterfalls in the Finger Lakes, Eagle Cliff Falls features a 41 foot drop into a plunge pool within an intimate amphitheater like setting. Eagle Cliff Falls is located at the Havana Glen Park just outside of scenic downtown Montour Falls.

Once you pay your money to park at Havana Glen Park ($2 per carload, the last time I checked), you can park along the side of the park and then follow the gorge trail to Eagle Cliff Falls. Havana Glen Park is named for the old town name of Montour Falls, which was Havana. The park has picnicking and camping available and is open from mid-May to mid-October, but the star of the park is the gem of the waterfall. The gorge trail is not long, about a 5-10 minute walk, and features a walk alongside a cliff as you pass by a few smaller waterfalls on McClure Creek on your way to Eagle Cliff Falls. The waterfall is at a nice natural pool, and while swimming is prohibited, you can see plenty…

New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site

The Hudson Valley holds an important part of the history of the American Revolution. For instance, the Hudson River at West Point was considered one of the most important strategic locations during the Revolutionary War. Not far upstream in New Windsor is one of the locations of the final days of the American Revolution, an encampment where George Washington and his troops wintered from October 1782 to June 1783, the New Windsor Cantonment.

A year after the decisive American victory over the British in Yorktown, Virginia in 1781, George Washington moved a large part of his army to New Windsor for winter quarters or in other words, a cantonment. Although the American army was better housed, fed and clothed than any other time during the Revolutionary War, life at the New Windsor Cantonment was still quite difficult. At the cantonment in New Windsor, some 7000 troops built log huts for shelter, drilled and kept ready for a possible spring campaign if peace negotiations in France were n…