Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Travel Tuesday: Washington Headquarters in Newburgh, NY

One of my favorite parts of living in Hudson Valley is that you can hardly throw a stone without hitting some important relic or place that relates to the Revolutionary War. I have gotten a lot of pleasure out of exploring the different historical sites. I'm not so sure about my children as they seem to mostly tolerate my explorations.

Over the course of the American Revolutionary War, George Washington occupied several different headquarters as he moved up and down the colonies. He would settle where it was strategic and convenient. One such home was located on the west bank of the Hudson River in Newburgh, NY. There he spent several months with his staff writing letters, directing the war, and planning. Washington resided in this home for longer than any other headquarters throughout the duration of the war.

To get to the museum and headquarters, you have to drive through a rather unfortunate part of town. As I understand it, Newburgh used to be a gorgeous river town. You can see it in the decrepit Victorian homes that must have been stunning at one time. Sadly, the town has gone downhill in almost every way. You are safe enough parking by the museum, although the first time I was worried about my car. 

There is a separate museum by the original headquarters with artifacts and information to give you context about the war. The Hudson River was a really important part of the Revolutionary War and both sides tried to gain control of it so they could control access and hopefully prevail. 

For a small fee, you can go on a guided tour of the Headquarters. I think that is the only way one is allowed to see the interior. No photos are allowed of the interior, so you'll have to go see for yourself what it is like.

The home itself was rather small by our modern standards with all the rooms on the main floor, with a grand staircase going up to an empty attic. The interior of the home is set up so you can see how Washington would have set up his staff, what accommodations they had, and what kind of work they did, which mainly involved a lot of letters. I most enjoyed seeing the camp beds that the staff brought with them. Many of them were raised beds that had curtains allowing them a modicum of privacy when they were packed in the rooms like sardines. They had a bit of comfort instead of sleeping on the hard floor. 

I think this is a great place to visit to get a feel for the period and how daily life unfolded while trying to conduct a war with the superpower of the world at the time. 

If you go, I recommend that you visit the NY State Parks site to see the fees and hours operation. Try to go on a sunny day when you can enjoy gorgeous views of the Hudson River. 


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