Your Environment Podcast
On this week’s Your Environment podcast, Kim Elliman, OSI’s president and CEO, invites listeners to explore history in the Hudson Valley by visiting sites preserved by the Open Space Institute. Stream and listen to Your Environment on the Mid-Hudson News website: www.midhudsonnews.com.
March 8, 2013 - You wouldn’t know it right now with the Hudson Valley covered in snow again this weekend, but spring is on the way. In another month or so, we’ll all be ready to throw open the shutters and welcome the changing of the seasons.
Until then, however, while the weather is still variable, now is a great time to check out some of the region’s historic sites, where in many cases you have both indoor and outdoor options for learning about the rich history of the Hudson River Valley, much of which has been preserved by the Open Space Institute.
The Hudson Valley is one of 40 National Heritage Areas in the United States. It was designated by Congress in 1996 in recognition of the significant history of the region’s landscapes, and OSI has conserved thousands of acres throughout our historic Valley.
Whether you visit presidential homes, epicenters of our region’s enduring culture, the places where Native Americans and early settlers lived or the battlefields where history was made, I encourage listeners to go explore some of the properties that OSI and its partners have protected.
For instance, go see Olana, in Columbia County, which encompasses the home of famed Hudson River School painter Frederic Edwin Church and overlooks parkland and a working farm designed by Church. The entire 250-acre estate, an integrated environment embracing architecture, art and landscape, is considered one of the most important artistic residences in the country and is open year-round.
In 2011, OSI and Scenic Hudson teamed up to protect a 95-acre farm adjacent to Olana, preserving priceless views from Church’s home.
Or you could stop by Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site, which is located in downtown Newburgh, NY and provides a commanding view of the Hudson River and Mount Beacon on the other side of the river. In 2003, OSI acquired nearby land to protect the immediate viewshed of the farmhouse, the first publicly operated historic site in the country, which has been converted to a museum. The Washington’s Headquarters site is open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. during the winter months.
If you do find yourself out on a nice day, OSI also protected a promontory on the flanks of Buckberg Mountain in Rockland County. Known as Washington's Lookout, it was here that General George Washington and Brigadier General Anthony Wayne stood on a rocky outcropping in July 1779 to plan a surprise attack on British troops, leading to the Battle of Stony Point.
Today I’ve mentioned only a small portion of what our state and the Hudson Valley in particular has to offer in terms of history. There are dozens of state and national historic sites in our region. To learn more about them, you can visit the New York Parks Department website at nysparks.com or the OSI website at www.osiny.org. Happy historic hunting!