Sunday, November 3, 2013

Autumn in the Hudson Valley

 Mom and me relaxing in the living room before breakfast at the B&B
We were too busy enjoying our breakfast to get any food photos, apparently!  It was great!
We asked where we might get some nice fall foliage pics and our host Duncan suggested we visit Olana, not too far from Hudson.  Of course, we managed to miss our turn and kept on driving.  We noticed a sign for the Clermont State Historic Site and decided to take a little detour. 
According to the Friends of Clermont website, "Clermont was built between 1740 and 1750, by Robert Livingston, Jr., on land acquired in 1686 by his father, just a dozen years after New Netherland finally became British New York.  A royal patent secured by Robert Livingston, Sr. granted him the privileges of a manor lord and 160,000 acres, stretching all the way from the Hudson River’s east bank to the border of present day Massachusetts."
"In October 1777, the Revolutionary War arrived on Clermont’s doorstep via a British armada sailing upriver from New York City to provide support for General John Burgoyne’s army, whose march from Canada was foundering north of Albany. That same force had already stormed two forts in the Hudson Highlands and burned Kingston, the first capital of the new New York State. The next target was the riverfront seat of the rebel Livingstons.  Learning of the imminent danger, Margaret Beekman Livingston — the wealthy (in her own right) wife of Clermont’s owner — took action, after refusing the offer of protection from a wounded British soldier recuperating at Clermont. (She steadily declined aid from an enemy of her country.)"
The site continues, "The British courteously gave her time to vacate, which she did, with most of her prized possessions, before burning the house to the foundations. But she returned, and, calling in favors from the governor who she helped to elect, succeeded in rebuilding her grand house — in the middle of the Revolutionary War."
 "Margaret’s son, Robert, is perhaps the most famous Livingston. He administered the oath of office to President George Washington, co-invented the steamboat with Robert Fulton, established the rights of a monopoly that lasted for decades and continued the line of Livingstons which lasted until Honoria (Livingston) McVitty gave the last of the Clermont lands to the state at her death in 2000."
On the road back to Olana, we pulled up behind this bus.  The Bread and Puppet Circus!  My people!  I wanted to know where they were going and what they were doing!  From their website: "The Bread and Puppet Theater was founded in 1963 by Peter Schumann on New York City’s Lower East Side. Besides rod-puppet and hand puppet shows for children, the concerns of the first productions were rents, rats, police, and other problems of the neighborhood. More complex theater pieces followed, in which sculpture, music, dance and language were equal partners. The puppets grew bigger and bigger. Annual presentations for Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving and Memorial Day often included children and adults from the community as participants. Many performances were done in the street. During the Vietnam War, Bread and puppet staged block-long processions and pageants involving hundreds of people."
 Lovely stone church along the road

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