American Revolution in the Hudson Valley,
The Battle for the Continent That Won The War
three of the most important military fortifications
You’ll See and Experience — #1
|The Hudson Valley contains the spot
that General George Washington came to call the
“key to the continent.” He was referring
to the Hudson Highlands. This short stretch of
river became the axis around which the American
Revolution pivoted. It is from here that Washington
chose to limit British adventures. It was to here
that Washington founded his most formidable defensive
works. And it was from here that he retreated
to lay plans to end the war.
Once the British took Forts Montgomery and
Clinton in October of 1777, they understood
the vulnerability of proceeding further up the
Hudson and withdrew to New York City. Subsequently,
Gen. Washington focused much of the Patriot
energies in the creation and fortification of
the Highlands. They created “Fortress
West Point”, the most substantial and
heavily provisioned of all Colonial fortifications.
Every weekend there's a reason
to get away to the Thayer Hotel.
The Highlands contains the sites of nine interlocking
fortifications and dozens of redoubts, look-outs
and defensive positions. Chains and cables were
thrown across the river in three locations to
prevent British ships of war from making use
of the Hudson. And the most important transportation
routes between the colonies of New England and
the Middle and Southern colonies cross the river
in the Hudson Highlands.
Today you’ll visit at least three of
these forts, walk their fortifications, tour
their defensive battlements and experience for
yourself the strategic positioning of each.
From atop a mountain you’ll have an eagle’s
eye view of the lay of the land from which you
can understand, for yourself, the configuration
of the Highlands.
Along the way we must by-pass a couple of locations
out of the frustration of the limitations of
time. But we encourage you to come back and
visit them on another day.
Wear good walking shoes, get an early start
and have a great day. You’ll be on a tour
bus, walking trails and out on some rocky terrain.
But you’ll have a great day!
|All of HV/Net’s Driving Itineraries
are broken into five distinct sections. Each has
a purpose and each supports the other.
The first, this section, gives you a quick
look at what you will be seeing and experiencing.
We give you a quick overview and approximate
time for the trip.
In this Itinerary, we have also put together
as brief a historical context as we can to give
you the necessary background information to
allow you to appreciate what you will be seeing.
Although not a comprehensive retelling of the
events of the American Revolution in the Hudson
Valley, it does give you a quick oversight of
the strategic importance of the Hudson Highlands
in the war.
We then provide you with a map showing the
locations of the sites we are directing you
to visit and the major roads you will be traveling
The third section introduces you to each of
the sites you will be visiting. We provide you
with information on what you will be experiencing,
seeing and enjoying. We let you know of the
hours of operation, entrance fees and other
amenities and restrictions you will encounter.
The fourth section is a detailed set of driving
instructions. These are very detailed so that
you won’t get lost as you wend your way
thru the Valley.
The last section is where we provide you with
alternatives, suggested stops for food and shopping
and alternative “Detours” that highlight
points of interest. Depending on your driving
speed, traffic and so on, these detours could
be incorporated into your day trip, or can be
the centerpiece for a return trip into the Hudson
|The Battlements of
the Hudson Highlands
Verplanck’s (Verplancke’s) Point south
of Peekskill on the East bank of the Hudson. British
landed 22 Mar 1777 in Lents Cove near Peekskill,
attacked Peekskill, encounter near Peekskill Creek.
September 1777 British landed a force at Peekskill,
burned barracks and stores.
Independence, on Roa (or Rahway) Hook,
east bank of the Hudson, oposite the entrance
to Camp Smith. All trace of this fort was obiterated
by the operations of a sand and gravel company
in the early 20’s.
between Peekskill and Canopus Creeks, east of
Camp Smith. In 1925 a clump of dead trees on
the hill were inside the old earthenworks.
On an east bank island opposite West Point.
Point, West bank of Hudson accross from
Fort Lafayette. Captured by British, starting
point of attack 6 October against Forts Clinton
and Montgomery. Later recaptured by "Mad
and Montgomery, on west bank of Hudson
south and north respecfully of the Popoloen
Creek, accross from Anthony’s Nose, now
directly adjacent to the Bear Mountain Bridge.
British forces under Sir Henry Clinton attacked
6 Oct 1777 American forces Commanded by Generals
George and James Clinton. The Americans were
defeated, a desperate fight between Lake Sinnipink
and the river (rear of Bear Mountain Hotel)
gave the lake the name "Bloody Pond."
Fort Putnam, at West Point.
Clinton at West Point on the Hudson.
Boom and Chain,
across the river at Fort Montgomery to Anthony’s
Nose, about where the Bear Mountain Bridge is
now. Capture of Forts Clinton and Montgomery
6 Oct 1777 led to the abandonment of the American
fleet and the British breaking through on 7
Oct 1777. The British went upriver as far as
Kingston, which they burned. At this time a
force was advancing from the North under General
Burgoyne, to meet with the British fleet. The
defeat and surrender of Burgoyne to General
Gates in Saratoga on 17 Oct 1777 ended this
threat. Recently a Revolutionary War gun emplacement
site has been found near the base of Anthony’s
Nose where the boom and chain would have been
|From the opening of the conflict
between American Colonial forces in their fight
for independence and the British, control of the
continent in the north was recognized as of central
importance. Early in the conflict in 1775, American
forces attempted to invade and capture Canada,
thereby denying Britain a base on its northern
border. As the British engaged in the struggle,
they raided and captured Boston then moved south
taking New York City, from which the American
forces under the command of General Washington
retreated in near-panic, defensively battling
through the lower Hudson Valley across into Pennsylvania.
As the war opened, King George’s armies
held, with these two cities, the political,
economic and geographic centers of America’s
most populated areas. From this strategic position
they were able to enforce an effective blockade
of all Colonial ports making the only means
of communication and transport for the Colonists
via overland routes, as well as denying them
easy access to European assistance. With the
collected might of the British fleet based in
New York harbor, the British were poised to
hit anywhere on the entire coast of America.
Politically, England understood that if they
could separate the firebrands of New England
from the Middle and Southern colonies, the movement
for independence would wither and die. Strategically
the only way to accomplish this was via the
abundantly favorable geography provided, control
of the Hudson River.
Early in the conflict, Gen. Washington understood
this dire circumstance. Yet he also understood
the strategic advantage he already possessed by
still being in control of the area. In order to
seize control of the Hudson, the British must
pass through the Hudson Highlands, an area of
geography where the river is squeezed between
high bluffs making several extreme turns in direction.
By holding these high lands, the Colonial forces
could effectively, and with little commitment
of resources, block the British from northern
incursions up the river.
On June 14, 1776
General Washington wrote to the Continental
Congress, “The passage of the Enemy
up the North River, is a point big with many
Consequences to the Public Interest; one particularly
occurs to me well deserving your attention,
and to prevent which, I shall gladly give every
assistance in my power…” In
this correspondence he clearly states the threat,
“[The British] may endeavour to seize
those defiles in which case the intercourse
between the two Armies, both by land and Water,
will be wholly cut off; than which a greater
Misfortune could hardly befall the Service and
Army, I must intreat you, to take the measure
into Consideration and if possible provide against
an Evil so much to be apprehended.”
On the same day in his letter to James Clinton
giving Clinton command of the defenses of the
Hudson Highlands, he writes, “As these
are or may become Posts of infinite Importance,
especially the lower one; I cannot sufficiently
impress upon you the Necessity of putting them
into a fit Posture of Defense, without Delay."
In September of 1776 in writing again to James
Clinton, “I have this day wrote to
the President of the Convention of New York,
requesting that an Aid of Six hundred Militia
may be sent to you from the Counties of Ulster
and Orange, or any other that is more proper
and convenient, for the purpose of assisting
you, either in the defence of the High lands,
in case they should be attacked, or of constructing
New Works and Fortifications, by which they
may be rendered more secure. However, whether
you receive this Reinforcement or not, I must
intreat you in the strongest manner to exert
yourself to the utmost of your abilities in
making these two posts [Forts Clinton and Montgomery]
at the High lands, as defensible as possible.
Their great Importance must be obvious to every
Meanwhile, on the British side, “Gentleman
Johnny” John Burgoyne spent the early
parts of 1777 in England promoting his plan
for taking control of the continent, thereby
ending the conflict. His proposal outlined his
vision for defeating the rebellion by gaining
control of the Hudson River, severing New England,
“the head of the rebllion,” from
the rest of the colonies. By taking control
of the river, all communication between Northern
colonies and those of the center and south would
be cut off. An irresistible British force would
be concentrated crushing all further opposition
in New England, and with this done, the other
colonies would quickly submit.
His plan was a three-pronged attack. He would
personally command a large force of 7,000 from
Canada proceeding south along the line of lakes
in New York to the Hudson River, then proceeding
down the banks of the Hudson to Albany. Meanwhile,
another large force under command of Major Generals
Clinton and Howe would advance north from New
York City up the Hudson toward Albany. At the
same time, General St. Leger would lead a diversionary
force of 2,000 men eastward from Canada along
the Mohawk River to link up with Burgoyne in
Albany. The action would crush Northern Colonial
forces causing a quick end to the conflict.
It would have worked. It was the action most
feared by General Washington and the Continental
Congress. But for two very different reasons,
it didn’t work.
The first reason it didn’t work was caused
by the hubris of General “Gentleman Johnny”
John Burgoyne himself. Operating in the firm
and uncontested position of having an undefeatable
force, he allows himself to incorporate tactics
that rather than defeating his enemy, inflamed
them to action. He urged his Native American
allies to acts of atrocity and barbarism that
outraged the countryside. Instead of gaining
the submission of the peoples he defeated, he
drove them into opposition. As a consequence,
he completely underestimated the growing strength
of the forces rallying against him until it
was too late, at the Battle of Bennington, (the
battlefield located in the Hudson Valley in
Renssealer County, not in Vermont), where his
forces were routed.
The second, and more important reason the campaign
didn’t work is that nobody bothered to
order Major General Howe in New York City to
Howe was off seizing Philadelphia!
By the time Howe got back to New York and half-heartedly
engaged, Burgoyne was already essentially abandoned
in the wilderness and on the verge of total
defeat. He was approaching Saratoga Springs,
his field of disgrace.
In October of 1777, Howe started his ascent
of the Hudson, engaging the Rebel forces in
the Highlands at Forts Clinton and Montgomery
on October 6th. After a heated battle , he paused,
sending only a small force of about 1,700 further
north, stopping finally at Kingston, within
forty miles of Albany, then retreating.
Meanwhile, General Burgoyne led his column to
the attack at Saratoga the very next day, on October
7th. Neither General knew of the others situation.
All Burgoyne knew was that he had received a communication
that the attack from the south was finally in
progress. In reply he sent word that he hoped
the promised cooperation would be speedy and decisive,
and added that unless he received assistance before
the 10th of October he would be obliged to retreat
to the lakes through want of provisions.
after engaging with the Colonial forces on October
7th and being firmly routed, he retreated to
Saratoga and realized the futility of his position,
surrounded by a vastly outnumbering force, ultimately
surrendered to them. In this surrender, nearly
one-third of British forces engaged on the continent
were swept from the scene.
The other little thing it did was show that
the Colonial forces could engage with, and win
against the might of Britain.
It is doubtful that any single military event
can be said to have exercised more influence
over the future of a country than this complete
defeat of Burgoyne and his plans. In failing,
Burgoyne rescued the colonists from English
domination and opened the door to France and
Spain entering the conflict. Through this defeat,
the conflict turned from one of the subjugation
of rebellious colonies into a world conflict
between the great powers.
The Highlands pivotal role in this conflict
was in delaying British commanders Howe and
Clinton from easily taking the Hudson from the
south, causing them to pause and timidly proceed
into the heart of New York, then retreating.
By forcing the British to spend time and manpower
in planning and executing the taking of the
defenses of the Highlands, they caused the circumstance
preventing the joining of forces from the south
and north, stranding Burgoyne to his fate.
General Washington’s opinion that the
defense of the Hudson Highlands was the “key
to the continent” proved to be true.
After Burgoyne’s defeat, Colonial forces
quickly regrouped and shifted their defensive
focus of the Highlands to Fortress West Point.
Learning from the past, they redoubled their
efforts, creating defensive positions pinning
the British in New York City, never allowing
them again to ascend the Hudson River. The British
shifted their focus to the south, ultimately
suffering their worst defeat in Yorktown.
But that is another Hudson Valley driving itinerary.
Were you aware that the success of Yorktown
was formulated and implemented in the Hudson
Map — #2
You’ll Visit On Your Trip — #3
Bear Mountain Park
Bear Mountain, NY
Possibly the most spectacular
view of the river as it passes through the Hudson
Highlands is to be had from atop Bear Mountaion
at the Perkins Memorial Tower. Access to the
tower is Free, but the hours are limited. At
the time of this writing, June of 2004, the
tower and surrounding grounds are only open
Once you’ve reached the tower parking
area you’ll find the tower and a series
of short paths out to the point. From the point
you can have a spectacular view south to New
York City. Climb the tower and have a completely
un-interrupted 360 degree view of 50 miles or
more, depending on the day.
Once you have taken in these views, get back
in your car and start to leave the tower area.
Just past the parking area you will come upon
an Exit sign pointing to the left. You want
to take the road toward the right instead and
head downhill. This will take you out to the
eastern face of Bear Mountain and get you to
the view previewed below. Follow the road and
you will come upon a roadside parking area on
your left. Pull in.
In all of the Valley, this is one of the choicest
views providing you one of the most incredible
vistas. From here you can see and appreciate
the strategic importance of the Hudson Highlands.
In the image below we have labeled the sites
that you will be seeing in closer detail today.
You can see how each of these major sites is
positioned to control access along the river.
As the Hudson passes through the Highlands,
it makes two major twists and turns. The first
is as it enters the highlands through the “South
Gate” out of Peekskill Bay. Forts Clinton
and Montgomery are located on the west bank,
just where the Bear Mountain Bridge is currently
located, with a commanding position of the river
and ships as they are forced broadside to make
The last and most important is from West point
as the river makes two 90 degree turns. Forts
Putnam and Clinton(2) are situated allowing
them to control access along the river from
this position. As ships are forced into this
whirlpool and tightening series of maneuvers,
it is impossible for them not to lay their flanks
open to cannon fire from these forts.
As the British attacked Forts Clinton &
Montgomery in October of 1777, they approached
from the land, across the plain lying at your
feet along the base of Bear Mountain. Hessian
Lake, visible if you lean out, is the location
of heated fighting as the Patriots valiantly
fought to save the dual forts from falling into
the hands of the British.
US Military Academy
West Point, NY 10996
Now the location of the United States Military
Academy at West Point, this high bluff commanding
the approaches to the northern end of the Hudson
Highlands was pivotal in the fight for American
Early in the war, the Colonial
Army put most of its efforts into the creation
of Forts Clinton and Montgomery further south
on the river. But after they were overrun by
the British in October of 1777, the focus of
the Highlands defensive positions shifted north
to West Point.
“Fortress West Point” refers to
a series of major fortifications reaching from
Peekskill Bay up to Plum Point. The center of
the command was from Forts Putnam and Clinton,
(second fort with that name) located at West
As you visit West Point via the tour bus,
they will take you to what is now called “Trophy
Point.” Sections of the original Great
Chain that blocked the Hudson are displayed
here. And from the overlook platform, you can
see for yourself how the Colonial Army was able
to control the Hudson from this most strategic
From Trophy Point, across the river is Constitution
Island, site of Fort Constitution. Although
a much lower bluff, when combined with Fort
Clinton, roughly located on the point of West
Point, and Fort Putnam, located atop the hill
behind you, they formed an impregnable wall
against which even the might of the British
Navy couldn’t prevail.
To protect the river from the north, Washington
had the cheveau de friese stretched between
Plum Point and Pollopel Island, current location
of Bannerman’s Castle. Pieces of this
floating structure can be seen at Washington’s
Headquarters in Newburgh. A chain and boom were
thrown across the river from West Point to Constitution
island as well, preventing shipping from slipping
past the point.
Once the battlements were erected and fortified,
the British were never again able to entertain
the idea of seizing control of the Hudson River
and thereby splitting the colonies. Had they
been able to accomplish this, the war would
have been lost to the Americans. The Hudson,
and especially the Highlands, were the primary
route of commerce and communication between
the colonies of New England and the Middle and
Southern colonies. Kings Ferry between Verplank
and Jones Point in Peekskill Bay, was the principle
crossing of the Hudson.
These days, visiting West Point is highly
structured. As it is a functioning military
post, and home of the oldest military academy
in America, security has been drastically tightened
since September 2001. Access to “the Point”
is now strictly via tour buses from the Visitor
Center just outside the gate in Highland Falls.
The tour is an enjoyable ride allowing you to
visit several locations on the base. The Visitors
Center is open daily, with the exception of
Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s
Day. Operating hours are from 9 a.m. to 4:45
p.m. Call (845) 938-2638 for information. Gift
Shop's Telephone Number: (845) 446-3085. To
take the tour, you MUST HAVE A PHOTO ID!
After your tour, take the time to visit the West
Point Museum located just to the south of the
Visitor Center. All visitors to the United States
Military Academy are encouraged to tour the Museum
to view what is considered to be the oldest and
largest diversified public collection of miltaria
in the Western Hemisphere. There are many displays
and thousands of artifacts chronicling the history
of the Army, from the Revolution up until today.
Admission to the museum is free.
The West Point Museum is located directly behind
the Visitors Center. The museum is in the renovated
Olmsted Hall at Pershing Center on the grounds
of the former Ladycliff College. The grounds were
purchased by West Point after the college closed
in the early 1980s. The building is named after
the museum's primary donor, Major General George
H. Olmsted, Class of 1922.
collections represent all major categories of
military study from arms, cannon and artillery
to uniforms, military art and objects reflecting
West Point’s history. Originally opened
in 1854, the West Point Museum is the oldest
and largest military museum in the country.
It contains some of our most interesting national
military treasures and one of the finest collections
of military small arms available for public
viewing. Every American armed conflict is represented
in the 135 exhibits. An additional gallery portrays
the history of the United States Army during
peacetime and its role as a formative nation
builder of our country. West Point’s history
during and after the Revolutionary War, as well
as the institutional history of the Military
Academy, are traced in the West Point gallery
devoted to the school, the cadet and the officer.
The museum also provides exhibits in Thayer
Hall to support the Department of History cadet
curriculum with exhibit themes which range from
ancient to modern civilizations.
The West Point Museum is open daily, with the
exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New
Year’s Day. Operating hours are 10:30
a.m. to 4:15 p.m. For additional information,
call (845) 938-2203/3590.
State Historic Site
Begun in February 1776 Fort Montgomery had three
landward redoubts and river batteries while Fort
Clinton (August 1776) had a battery and two redoubts.
On October 6, 1777, in a diversion to draw off
American forces opposing General John Burgoyne's
expedition into New York from Canada, General
Sir Henry Clinton led 2,100 Loyalists, Hessians,
and Regulars from King's Ferry against the landward
approaches of Forts Montgomery and Clinton. American
Brigadier Generals Governor George and James Clinton
had to defend the two forts with a garrison of
fewer than 700 men. On the river five American
warships protected an iron chain on wooden rafts
and boom of ships' hawsers. Despite the gallant
American efforts, the undermanned twin forts fell
to overwhelming British attack by nightfall. While
British forces won the battles of Forts Clinton
and Montgomery, these fortifications disrupted
Sir Henry Clinton's timetable, complicating any
attempts to relieve Burgoyne's trapped army.
Fort Montgomery comprises some twenty-five
archeologically significant features on 14.42
acres of land owned since 1914 by the Palisades
Interstate Park Commission. The ramparts of
the irregularly shaped fortification follow
the contours of the bluffs overlooking the Hudson
River and Popolopen Creek and connect three
landward redoubts-South, Round Hill, and North--and
three river batteries-Grand, Putnam's, and River.
Foundations of structures in the fort include
the guard house, the powder magazine, the main
barracks, officers' commissary, officers' barracks,
storehouse, bake house, soldiers' necessary,
provision stores, soldiers' hut and an additional
barracks. A trail and interpretive signs tell
the story of the fort and the battle. Fort Clinton
has a museum with artifacts and exhibits describing
the forts and the battles as well as the remarkably
well-preserved Outer Redoubt.
|Stony Point Battlefield
Stony Point, NY 10980
The British had captured the peninsula of Stony
Point in May 1779, and began to fortify it by
cutting down trees, and by erecting an earthen
fort and two barriers called abatis. In addition,
two British ships offered extra protection, and
the newly-captured fort at Verplanck's Point,
across the river, could be signaled by rocket
for reinforcements. The commander of the garrison
at Stony Point felt certain that his defenses
were secure, calling the new fort his "little
to Clinton's move by marching his troops north
from Middlebrook, New Jersey, to protect the
American fortifications at West Point. Clinton
garrisoned Stony Point and Verplanck's Point
with about 1,000 men to protect the King's Ferry,
which crossed the Hudson River between the two
posts. Clinton then launched raids against Connecticut
coastal towns, in the continuing attempt to
lure Washington into battle.
Clearly, the British could not be allowed
to remain unopposed at Stony Point, and by early
July, Washington observed the enemy works himself
from nearby Buckberg Mountain and devised a
plan. Brigadier General Anthony Wayne would
lead a surprise midnight assault against Stony
Point. Wayne commanded the Corps of Light Infantry,
a select force which probed enemy lines, fought
running skirmishes, and defended the army against
sudden attack. The Light Infantry was comprised
of the very best soldiers, each regiment producing
one company, which then served on detached duty.
The Battle on July 15, 1779, Wayne's troops began
their march from Fort Montgomery, near the present-day
Bear Mountain Bridge. For eight hours they struggled
over narrow mountain trails, arresting civilians
they encountered en route to avoid detection.
When the soldiers arrived at Sprintsteel's Farm,
two miles from Stony Point, they were told for
the first time about their mission. One column
of 300 men would wade through the marshes from
the north. A second column, led by Wayne, would
wade through the waters of Haverstraw Bay and
approach from the south. Each of these two columns
would consist of three parts: twenty men called
"the forlorn hope" who would enter the
enemy lines first, overcome sentries and cut through
the abatis; an advance party which would enter
the fort and seize its works; and the main body,
which would continue around the unfinished back
of the fort and approach it from the river.
Soldiers in these two attacking columns wore
pieces of white paper in their hats to avoid
confusion in the darkness, and were armed with
unloaded muskets and fixed bayonets, so that
an accidental shot would not reveal their presence
and reduce the element of surprise. When they
entered the enemy fort they would shout the
watchword "the Fort's Our Own" to
signal their comrades-in-arms. Finally, twenty-four
artillery men would accompany the Light Infantry,
so that captured enemy cannon could be turned
against the British ships and their other fort
at Verplanck's Point.
To create a diversion, a third column of two
companies of Light Infantry would be positioned
near the center of Stony Point peninsula and
in front of the fort's defenses, where they
would divert the enemy's attention by firing
musket volleys. On a dark and windy midnight,
the northern and southern attacking columns
forded the marshes separating Stony Point from
the mainland. The two columns swept up the treeless
slopes, arriving in the fort within minutes
of each other.
The heaviest fighting lasted half an hour,
and by 1AM the garrison had surrendered. Fifteen
Americans had been killed. Twenty British had
also died, and the remainder were taken prisoners.
"Our officers and men behaved like men
who are determined to be free," reported
Wayne, who received a slight head wound. Three
days later, Washington abandoned Stony Point
because he knew it could not be defended against
the combined might of the British army and navy.
Although they returned to Stony Point and
rebuilt the fort, British troops were withdrawn
in October because of insufficient reinforcements,
and never again threatened the Hudson Highlands.
The victory at Stony Point was the last major
battle in the north, and boosted American morale.
Clinton's plan to defeat the Continentals and
end the war had failed.
Driving Instructions — #4
To start this Itinerary we are assuming you are
leaving New York City or are arriving into the
area via the New York State Thruway. From the
City, take the George Washington Bridge and transition
onto the Palisades Interstate Parkway. If you
are arriving from the New York State Thruway,
exit at Harriman, Exit #16, and transition onto
Route 6 East, heading over the mountain. At the
traffic circle, follow the signs for the Palisades
Interstate Parkway North. Once you are on the
PIP, VERY CAREFULLY AND VERY IMMEDIATELY get into
the right hand lane as Exit #19 is just yards
down the road. Alternatively, if you are coming
from the east, you can take the Bear Mountain
Bridge and enter onto the Palisades Interstate
Parkway heading south and take Exit # 19.
Every weekend there's a reason
to get away to the Thayer Hotel.
Mile 0.0 – Ramp at Exit #19, (Perkins
Memorial Drive), on the Palisades Interstate
Mile 1.2 – Make sharp left turn onto
Perkins Drive following signs to Perkins Tower.
Mile 3.3 – You
have reached the parking lot for the Perkins
After returning to your car, exit the parking
lot. As you reach the end of the parking lot,
ahead of you there is an “Exit”
sign pointing to the left. Instead of following
this sign, follow the road as it turns to the
Mile 4.2 – On your
left is a pull off area where you can park your
car. Get out and look east for the view. When
you are finished at this location and leave,
make a “U” Turn and retrace your
drive back up the road, this time following
the exit signs when you get back to the area
of the tower. The Exit signs will direct you
to the right, back onto Perkins Drive and back
down the mountain.
Mile 6.9 – You are back at the “Stop
Sign” where Perkins Drive intersects with
Perkins Memorial Drive. TURN LEFT. As you head
east on Perkins Memorial Drive, make sure to
watch the views on your right. There are several
locations where the trees open up and you are
presented with magnificent views.
Mile 8.7 – You have reached a VERY SHARP
Hair-Pin curve. Just past the turn slow down
as you enter the traffic circle. Follow the
signs around the circle to the second right
labeled “Bear Mountain, Route 6 &
9W.” On this road you will pass the Bear
Mountain Inn on your left.
Mile 9.2 – Stop light just past the Bear
Mountain Inn. Proceed straight ahead and transition
from Perkins Memorial Drive onto Route 9W. A
few hundred yards ahead you will encounter a
traffic circle. Follow the circle straight across,
the second right, following the signs for “West
Point, Route 9W.” Continue north on Route
9W through the hamlet of Fort Montgomery.
Mile 12.4 – Follow signs for “West
Point Visitor Center” and junction onto
Mile 13.5 – Bear right following signs
for “West Point Visitor Center.”
Mile 13.9 – Turn
right into entrance of the “West Point
Visitor Center,” and park your car. Enter
the Visitor Center to purchase your tickets
for a tour of West Point.
When exiting the West Point Visitor Center,
turn left back onto Route 218.
Mile 14.7 – Stop sign. Bear left onto
Route 218. Key Food Store is on your left.
Mile 15.6 – Carefully follow signs for
“Route 9W South”. You will go over
a bridge and follow the road as it bends to
the left forming a ramp onto Route 9W.
Mile 17.4 – You are leaving the hamlet
of Fort Montgomery. Get into the left lane and
slow down or you will miss the next step!
Mile 17.9 – The
road will be making a slow bend toward the left.
As you come around the bend watch for an old
sign for a “Trading Post” with an
abandoned garage immediately adjacent to it
on your LEFT. On your side of the garage is
a gravel area, the “official” parking
area for the Fort Montgomery State Historic
Site. Pull in, park your car and walk south,
in the same direction you were driving, to the
Fort Montgomery site. It is 0.2 miles further
down the road.
When you are finished with your visit at Fort
Montgomery, exit the parking area turning left,
south, onto Rouote 9W. Continue south, retracing
your earlier drive. At the traffic circle, proceed
around it turning right following the signs
for “Haverstraw, Route 9W,” the
second right. Drive south on Route 9W. You will
pass the Bear Mountain State Park on your right.
Further down the road, Iona Marsh and Iona Island
is on your left. The road will turn into three
lanes and you will head to the left and up hill.
You are driving up, over and around Jones Point.
Mile 24.4 – You are entering the hamlet
of Thompkins Cove.
Mile 26 – Slow
down as things get just a little tricky finding
the entrance road for Stony Point State Historic
Site. There are two ways in, each end of “Park
Road”. It is VERY poorly identified. However
at about mile 26.5 you will see a BROWN SIGN
on your right indicating the entrance is on
the left. Slow down and turn left at your next
opportunity onto Park Road. It can be very hard
to see, so be careful and proceed slowly.
No matter which end of
Park Road you are able to find, drive downhill
and follow the signs for Stony Point State Historic
Site. Drive through the gate, around the circle,
under the Memorial Arch, over the bridge, down
the road and into the Parking Area. If you have
handicap identification, as you pass the cottage
on the right take the road, driving around the
road block, and drive up the hill to the handicapped
parking area. If not, walk up the hill from
the parking area to the museum, battlefield
To leave, retrace your steps, proceeding straight
ahead at the yield sign where you re-enter Park
Road and drive uphill.
Mile 27.9 – You are at the Stop Sign
where Park Road meets Route 9W. Turn left.
Mile 28.9 – You are at a traffic light.
Turn right onto Route 210, “Central Highway”.
Mile 31.7 – Entrance for the Palisades
Interstate Parkway, South, is on your left.
Destinations — #5
Common Premium Outlets
| Located at the junctions of Exit
#16 of the New York State Thruway and Routes 6,
17 & 32 in Central Valley. As you can see
from the road, Woodbury Common is a mega-center
of factory outlets. At last count there were over
200 stores contained in the complex. It’s
designed as a walking friendly colonial village
with wide paved boulevards for the shoppers. If
you've never been, it's definitely worth taking
a day and doing some serious shopping. You might
be interested to know that Woodbury Common is
one of the most visited “tourist”
sites in New York. To reach Woodbury Common from
the area of this Driving Itinerary, at the Traffic
Circle of Route 9W at Bear Mountain, take the
Palisades Interstate Parkway. Follow the signs
for “Central Valley.”
Located across the river in
Putnam County. To reach Boscobel, from the Traffic
Circle on Route 9W, take the Bear Mountain Bridge.
At the eastern end turn left onto Route 9D,
north. Follow it and Boscobel will be on your
left after a few miles.
Venture into the 19th Century and experience
life as it was in the days of the New Republic.
Enjoy unsurpassed views of the Hudson River
and West Point and see “the most beautiful
home in America,” surrounded by exquisite
formal gardens and meticulously kept lawns and
grounds. Boscobel is a restored Federal period
house overlooking the river with period furniture
and decorative arts and gardens. Open daily
except Tuesdays from 10 to 5. Tours available,
last tour at 4:15pm.
Iona Island Marsh, as well as
one of the best birding spots in the Hudson
Valley, it has also been designated as a Registered
Natural Landmark. It is one of the few remaining
brackish water estuaries on the Hudson River.
Located just south of the Bear Mountain Bridge
along Route 9W, past the Bear Mountain State
Park Visitor Center, Iona Island Marsh is a
quiet backwater, sleepily swaying in the summer
breezes. Vast stands of cattails and other marsh
reeds protect the fry of some of the most important
game species of fish found in the Hudson. Kingfishers
and cranes dive and stalk their prey through
the reeds . Puffy clouds lazily float across
the bright blue sky with the Bear Mountain Bridge
in the background to the north.
It's a pleasant and very short drive down the
road, through the marsh, to the gates of the
Iona Island Naval Station, now closed to the
public. If you've a NY State Fishing License,
bring your pole and your bait and spend a quiet
and lazy summer afternoon. Or just come out
and walk the road, watch the birds angling for
a meal, the hawks gliding through the sky and
the songbirds scurrying about raising their
After you visit West Point,
it will almost certainly be early in the afternoon
and you will undoubtedly be a bit peckish. We
would suggest two alternative choices for lunch.
First, you are in the Village of Highland Falls,
across the street from the downtown Village
Center. Across the street are several interesting
cafes and bistros for you to have lunch in.
If you are into fast food, get back in your
car and follow our driving directions to get
to your next stop. However, as you drive through
Highland Falls, on your left you will come to
a Burger King franchise.
Or if you noticed an interesting little restaurant
as you can north through the hamlet of Fort
Montgomery, keep going and you will be driving
right past it again.
Our second suggestion, and possibly our favorite.
is to arrange something for a picnic at your
next stop at the Fort Montgomery State Historic
Site. As we mentioned, directly across the road
from the West Point Visitor Center is the downtown
Village Center of Highland Falls. There are
several places where you can pick up some hot
prepared foods or cold picnic fare. You can
also follow our driving instructions and leave
Highland Falls. When you reach the Stop Sign,
we indicate that a Key Food Supermarket is to
be found on your left, where you can pick up
supplies for a splendid picnic.
If you do decide to picnic at Fort Montgomery,
please be warned and aware that the site is
a “Carry In, Carry Out” site, there
are no facilities for your refuse and there
is no water available. Fort Montgomery does
have portable bathrooms on site for your use.
So plan ahead if you want to picnic at Fort
Montgomery. Make sure to bring with you everything
you will need, but as it is a brief although
flat walk from the parking area, don’t
weigh yourself down too much. And bring enough
bags for you to pack your refuse into to carry
back out with you. The view from the “Grand
Battery” is one of the best in the Valley,
so spreading a blanket on the ground and relaxing
while you eat is a great experience.
If you are picnicking, make sure to keep something
for later! At Stony Point, out at the lighthouse,
the view is simply spectacular and having something
to nosh and snack on as you sit taking it all
in is a really great idea too!
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