New York's Hudson Valley Marks 1609 Voyage

Article excerpt

ALBANY, N.Y. -- When explorer Henry Hudson got as far north as he could go on the waterway that would later bear his name, he didn't stick around long or wander much beyond the riverbank.

"They did not venture far from shore," said William "Chip" Reynolds, captain of the Half Moon, a full-scale replica of the ship that Hudson, an Englishman, sailed for the Dutch during his 1609 voyage to the New World.

Hudson and his crew spent only four days at what would later become Albany, but others followed his route upriver, mainly Dutch merchants looking to trade for the fur of beavers trapped by local Indian tribes.

Those enterprising Dutchmen established Fort Orange (later renamed Beverwijck, or "District of the Beaver") 15 years after Hudson's voyage on "de Halve Maen." The English renamed the settlement Albany when they took control of Holland's New Netherlands colony in 1664, but the Dutch influence here and along the Hudson Valley lasted well into the 18th century, and plenty of remnants can still be found today.

Many communities between Westchester County and Albany are hosting festivals, concerts, exhibits and other events to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Hudson's voyage, along with a belated 200th anniversary celebration of Robert Fulton inaugural steamboat trip up the river in 1807.

Reynolds' Half Moon will figure prominently in several events, including a nearly monthlong cruise recreating the river voyage that Hudson took in September 1609.

Here are some of the signature events, along with listings for museums and historic sites hosting related exhibits. For a more extensive list, check the state's site Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial Commission, or the Albany County Convention and Visitors Bureau's site

ALBANY INSTITUTE OF HISTORY AND ART, Albany -- "Hudson River Panorama: 400 Years of History, Art, and Culture." Features hundreds of artworks, artifacts, interactive displays and rare documents from the institute's own collections. Through Jan. 3, www.albanyinstitute.org.

CHILDREN'S MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, Troy -- "Horseshoes & Waterwheels: NY's Tech Valley 1800s." Explores river's importance to the development of the Hudson Valley and the nation, using photographs, historical objects and video displays. Through Dec. 31, www.cmost.org.

THOMAS COLE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE, Catskill -- New exhibit featuring Hudson River views by the 19th-century artist considered the founder of the Hudson River School, America's first art movement. May 2 through Oct. 11 at Cedar Grove, Cole's home and restored studio. A series of monthly guided hikes will be offered to the local scenes in the paintings beginning June 6 and ending Oct. 3, www.explorethomascole.org.

TULIP FESTIVAL, Albany, -- A state capital tradition now in its 61st year, the festival celebrates Albany's deep Dutch roots and finishes today. Events include the crowning of the Tulip Queen, live music, food vendors, children's activities, arts and crafts, and 200,000 tulips on display, www.albanyevents.org.

NEW NETHERLAND INSTITUTE, Albany -- Traveling exhibit: "Light on New Netherland." More than two dozen panels tell the story of the Dutch colony, with period artwork by contemporary artist Len Tantillo and video featuring interviews with Charles Gehring, who has spent decades translating the state's thousands of pages of 17th- century Dutch colonial documents for the institute's New Netherland Project. Exhibit will travel from Washington, D.C. to Grand Rapids, Mich., over the next year, with stops on Long Island and Dutchess County this summer and fall, respectively. Check www.nnp.org for exact dates.

LAUNCHING OF THE ONRUST, Rotterdam Junction, mid-May -- The Onrust (Dutch for restless) is a full-scale replica of the first Dutch ship built in North America. Launched off Manhattan in 1614, the original ship explored the New York and New England coasts. …