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RI Archives: Rural Road Trips

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Travel Essentials

Amtrak Empire Service between Albany, Hudson or Rhinecliff, NY and Penn Station, NYC.

Amtrak 449 Lake Shore Limited between Pittsfield and South Station, Boston.

Bard Bus and Shuttle  On select summer weekends, Bard offers round-trip bus service from Manhattan’s Lincoln Center directly to the Fisher Center, exclusively for performance ticket holders: $30 round-trip. Reservations are required. Box dinners can be ordered in advance for $10. Bard also offers shuttle service from and to the Poughkeepsie Metro-North train station for select performances: $10 each way.

Mega-bus between Albany and Ridgewood, N.J. and Penn Station, NYC.

Metro-North Railroad between Wassaic, Dover Plains, or Poughkeepsie, NY and Harlem (125th Street)  or Grand Central Station, NYC.

Peter Pan Bus Lines  Boston/Albany route serving Albany, Great Barrington, *Lee, Lenox, *Pittsfield, Stockbridge, Williamstown, and Boston South Station and Boston Logan Airport  (*greater frequency, better fares). NYC/Williamstown route serving Williamstown, Lee, Stockbridge, Great Barrington, MA, or Canaan, CT and Port Authority Bus Terminal, NYC.

Roosevelt Ride Free Shuttle  Free round-trip shuttle service daily (summer through October) from the Poughkeepsie train station to Hyde Park, Val-Kil, the Vanderbilt Mansion, Top Cottage, and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum so Metro-North train passengers can tour historic sites without a car. For reservations and tour info, call the Wallace Visitor Center: 845-229-5320.

Weather Underground
The radar is especially useful for tracking snow, sleet and thunderstorms.

Gas Prices
The price of gas at many of the stations in your zip code and those immediately surrounding it.

[See more Excursion articles]

Stealing Beauty: The Olana Viewshed Tour

Rural Intelligence Road TripsYou don’t have to be erudite or sophisticated to be moved by a beautiful vista.  It’s one form of beauty that everyone agrees upon.  Yet the notion of protecting a view that’s comprised largely of private property, is new. 
 
On Saturday, October 24, The Olana Partnership, joins several private and governmental preservation initiatives, and Olana’s neighboring landowners in inviting us to celebrate and investigate the beauty surrounding Olana’s 250-acre property. This is a rare opportunity to trespass on private land, to walk across meadows, beside ponds and streams, through orchards and gardens in order to experience first-hand the variety and magnificence of the region the painter Frederic Church called “the center of the world.”
 
Church’s property, Olana, often referred to as the “crown jewel” of the Hudson Valley, is the focal point of the tour.  It is comprised of his Persian-style house, set amidst a 250-acre working farm and park designed by Church in the 19th-century Picturesque style.  His design repeatedly refers to the surrounding landscape, revealing and framing exceptional views, even echoing the shape of the river in a man-made pond near the house.  Preservationists argue that the grounds, now under restoration, constitute a masterpiece as worthy of protection as any of Church’s paintings. 
 
Each painting produced by Church and his fellow Hudson River School artists was, in its day, an event eagerly awaited by a broad public, much as a major motion picture might be today.  Once completed, the artist would take his picture on tour, at each stop drawing crowds who marveled at how magnificent their country was.  Today, the Hudson River School is credited with helping to launch the American Conservation Movement.

While the celebration of views was integral to the Hudson River School’s philosophy, the idea of the public recognizing them as national treasures, to be protected, is new. Efforts are presently underway to protect views in California’s Napa Valley, in the areas surrounding certain Civil War sites, in the environs surrounding Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Virginia.  Throughout the Hudson Valley, landscape historians, environmentalists, concerned citizens, art patrons, and land conservationists have joined forces to protect spectacular viewsheds, of which Olana’s is preeminent. 

The ten private properties featured on this year’s tour are located along the Hudson River and in the foothills of the Catskill range. They include an 1870’s Calvert Vaux-designed home, the former estate of the famous landscape painter Charles Herbert Moore, a bio-dynamic farm, and a restored 1743 barn perched above 436 protected acres.  Following the tour there will be a party at an 1850’s farm with 180-degree views of the Catskill range.  As an added incentive for those on the tour to join the Olana Partnership, the Olana bell tower will be open the day of the tour and may be climbed by non-members for an extra fee and by members for free.

Olana Viewshed Tour
5720 Route 9G, Hudson; 518.828.1872 ext. 103
Saturday, October 24, 10 - 4
Tickets and maps may be picked up on the day of the tour at the Wagon House Education Center at Olana

Viewshed tour only: $50/non-members; $40/members
Benefit party only: $100/non-members; $75/members
Bell tower tour:  $50/non-members; free/members
Olana Partnership Memberships: $40 - $100

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Posted by Marilyn Bethany on 10/21/09 at 04:26 PM • Permalink