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Links to Schenectady County historical treasures
Schenectady’s Stockade is the perfect base of operations to see some of the most historic and interesting places in America. The Stockade, which was the western most outpost of civilization in 1661, was later at the epicenter of American colonial history.
Easily reached from Boston, New York and Philadelphia in less than a morning’s drive, the Stockade is in the center of all the attractions of the Hudson and Mohawk Valley which were the highways and battlefields of Colonial America.. On the way you can stop for lunch at the Culinary Institute of America, before visiting FDR’s home at Hyde Park, or the US Military Academy at West Point.
Stay in a 195 year old inn or a charming bed and breakfast and see the largest collection of pre-revolutionary houses in America. See Broadway shows at Proctors, recognized as the premier Historic Theater in America. Take a 40 minute drive to New York’s “Summer Place”, Saratoga, and visit the Saratoga Battlefield and the field where Burgoyne surrendered and gave hope that America’s revolution would be successful. Visit the National Museum of Dance and the National Racing Museum before visiting one of the largest collection of antique cars in the world at the Saratoga Automobile Museum. Come back to the Stockade, take a much-needed nap and then have dinner in the Glen Sanders Mansion where survivors of the 1690 massacre fled for safety.
Tired of your car one day, take a walking tour of the Stockade, visit the 17th century Mabee farm, tour Union College and its beautiful Jackson Gardens, walk or bicycle the Erie Canal-way trail or visit one of the many nature preserves along the Mohawk. The bird watching is incredible, particularly during migration in the spring and fall. Dress up and enjoy an elegant meal and music at the Stockade Inn.
On another day take an 80 minute drive west to Cooperstown, the center of the Leather-stocking Region and the home of James Fenimore Cooper. There visit the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Fenimore Museum and The Farmers Museum where you can spend hours in a 1850 farming village … or go listen to the famous Glimmerglass Opera Company before returning to Schenectady’s Stockade to relax and have dinner at the Van Dyck where greats performers like Earl Hines, Teddy Wilson, Roy Eldridge, Dizzy Gillespie, Dave Brubeck, Mose Allison, Marian McPartland, Coleman Hawkins, Hank Jones and Thelonious Monk., have performed.
The next morning, drive an hour west to Bennington, VT and visit the Bennington Battlefield where Burgoyne’s army was thwarted in their last ditch attempt to resupply before the Battle of Saratoga. Stop at the Bennington Museum which has the largest collection of Grandma Moses works. Then based on your preference, go north to Hildene, Robert Todd Lincolns Home, or go south and visit the outstanding Clark Institute in Williamstown. This is one of the great art museums of America located in a beautiful pastoral setting. In either case it is a short and picturesque drive back to the Stockade where you can stroll along the Mohawk River in what has been called one of the most beautiful riverside parks in America.
If you have another day, grab a delicious breakfast at More Perreca’s, and drive one hour southeast to Stockbridge, MA where you can visit Chesterwood, the home of arguably America’s greatest sculptor, Daniel Chester French, who carved the Lincoln Memorial. Afterwards have lunch at the historic 200 year old Red Lion Inn before visiting the Norman Rockwell Museum. On the way back, stop at the Lindenwald, home of Martin Van Buren, the eighth President, and the first President of the US to be born a US citizen.
Further afield, but still an easy day trip, are the Adirondack Park and Lake Placid, the Catskill Mountains, Lake Champlain, Fort Ticonderoga, Fort Stanwix , the Oriskany Battlefield (the site of the bloodiest battle of the Revolutionary War, where General Herkimer and militia from Albany, Schenectady and the Mohawk Valley defeated the British Army coming down the Mohawk River from the Great Lakes) or working sections of the old Erie Canal in Rome NY.
If you love architecture and old buildings, history, beautiful pastoral scenery or museums there is no better place to spend a long weekend or a week than Schenectady’s Stockade. Of course, it is even better to live there!
“Story of the Schenectady Massacre”, by John J. Birch et al (on-line-book)
“Drums Along the Mohawk”, by Walter D. Edmonds
” Walls Have Ears”, by Giles Yates Van der Bogert (on-line-book)
” The Deerslayer”, by James Fenimore Cooper
” Schenectady’s Stockade”,by Don Rittner
” Enclave of Elegance”, by Dr. Bruce Maston
” Saratoga: Turning Point of America’s Revolutionary War”, by Richard M. Ketchum