Saturday, July 9, 2016

In Washington's Footsteps

Plattekill, New York
KOA New York City/Newburgh

This morning we left early for a tour of West Point.  I checked the internet and found out that all tours had a vacancy so I didn't make reservations.  West Point is only 18 miles away.  Our travels had us following the Hudson River.

When we arrived, the parking lot was packed, but we managed to park right next to the door.  Bill had trouble getting into the line for the tour tickets.  There was a bus load of Asian's just standing in the way.  They were families and everyone was glued to their cell phones.  This should have been a clue to us.

We were planning to take the two hour tour but it had just left so we didn't want to wait for the next one and chose the one hour tour.  

The bus arrived and the tour guide announced that everyone needed to have a driver's license or passport out before getting on the bus.  No matter how many times she told everyone, they didn't listen.  She even held up a passport and the tickets but they would walk up to get on ignoring her request.

As we went to get on the bus, the Asian group just pushed and shoved their way on.  Grey hair didn't matter to them.  We were the last ones on the bus and the only seat left was the very rear one.  Sitting in the back seat limited your vision because there was a toilet next to us so we could only observe anything out the window on the drivers side.

The tour hasn't started yet, and I'm already in a bad mood.  The tour guide explained and demonstrated that everyone needed to keep their ID's out.  We were also told that she would tell us when we could take photos. You guessed it, I saw people taking photos.  Security came on and for the most part they had their ID's out.

The bus drove past the athletic fields.  This is Michie Stadium.  

We disembarked the bus and were told to go stand by the bleachers.  Half the group started wandering in all directions.  

This is as close as we came to any buildings.  The tour guide had a speaker system but it was impossible to concentrate on what she was saying with the kids (they were probably 10 and older) running around, the parents who were all talking and laughing among themselves and ignoring that the tour guide was speaking.  

This was the superintendents house that we could see across the field.   

The tour guide asked us to walk across the street at the crosswalk.  Most of the group had already walked across the street, everywhere but in the crosswalk.

She was trying to give the history and the symbolism of the Civil War monument.  Cadets could choose what side of the war they wanted to fight for.  She did say that the cannons were put in the ground with the barrels down to symbolize that they, the sons of the North and South, should never be in conflict with each other again. 

The day was cloudy and downright cold.  I wish I had brought my jacket.
Bill was smart enough to bring his jacket. The Hudson River is in the background.

In order to prevent the British from gaining possession of the Hudson, which would have divided the Colonies, Washington instructed the men to place a chain across the river. How I managed to get this photo without all the group climbing on the exhibits is beyond me.  

And we drove past this statue.  This is the worse tour we've taken in a very long time.  It was $15 dollars a piece for the one hour drive by.  Really makes that 12 hour trip to NYC we took on Thursday seem very cheap as compared to this one.

When we returned, we thought we'd see what the museum had to offer.  It was in an impressive building.  Maybe things are going to be better.  There was a lot of construction for the new visitor center and we had to walk behind a construction fence to the museum.  There was a building that we passed and I saw weeds and pine needles all over the sidewalk.  It just didn't look like what I expected from the Academy.  Where's the pride, I thought we'd see.
For the size of the museum, the small arms display was disappointing compared to other museums we've been in.

This is what the large weapons exhibit looked like.

There were maybe four or five cases of the sword display.  

Probably the most interesting exhibit was Napoleon's sword and pistols.

We decided since we weren't far from Washington's headquarters, we'd stop on our way back.  I remember Mitch, our New York City tour guide, reminding us that Newburgh had some good areas down by the river, and some areas that we should avoid.  Guess where the Headquarters were?  

Bill parked the truck on the street and I was a little worried it might not be there when we came back.  

One thing that surprised me was that this was a state historic site, not a national one.  We entered the building and there was a small museum and the headquarters tour for $3.00 a piece.  We had time to visit the museum before our headquarters tour.  I might also mention that the employees were in period dress.  

This museum also had sections of the chain but also the iron pieces that the chain connected to the logs.  It was much easier to picture how it worked with the logs.  

No photos were allowed inside the museum or the headquarters.  

Our tour guide was very good.  Even though there were 15 people in the tour, no one was trying to talk when she was talking.

The original house was just three rooms.  It was hard to see where the additions were made.  

One thing we did learn, Washington's original desk was the only piece of furniture that was original to the house.  Washington was the first person to give awards to enlisted men.  The purple heart originated in this very office.  It gives you cold chills to think that you've walked on the same floor that Washington did.  

We totally enjoyed the Headquarters.  If you're in the area, skip West Point and follow Washington around the area.  It was just about closing time, so we didn't visit the other sites nearby.  

Once again the day got away from us.  Tomorrow we head north, as the Escapees HOP has rented our site.  

Turtle Safely......

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