The Hudson Valley is remarkably rich in both history and great writers. Combine the two, and you get the second annual Hudson Valley History Reading Festival, to be held April 12 at the FDR Presidential Library’s Henry A. Wallace Center in Hyde Park.
The library teams up with the Friends of the Poughkeepsie Public Library District to present four sessions, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at which authors of books on Hudson Valley history will discuss their work and then hold book signings. Copies of the featured titles will be available for sale in the New Deal Store.
About 300 people attended the first festival last year, says Lynn Bassanese, director of the FDR Presidential Library. “We decided to hold this festival to complement the success of our annual Roosevelt Reading Festival, which attracts hundreds of people every June,” she says. “Realizing how many wonderful authors live in the Hudson Valley and write about the riches of this wonderful place, we decided to spotlight some of them in an annual festival.”
Audience members pepper the authors with queries ranging from how they came to write their books to specific questions about facts. “Many of our audience members are familiar with the authors’ works, and they come prepared with questions,” she says.
Who is the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow? How did Washington Irving become inspired to write the tale? What other legends haunt the lower Hudson Valley? Kruk, a storyteller who has been performing in Sleepy Hollow since 1996, is an authority on the region’s most famous legend. “I write not as a scholar or a historian but as your storyteller,” Kruk says on his Web site. “I leap into this book, mindful of the sage advice given by the renowned Alabama storyteller Kathryn Tucker Windham. When asked which spooky tales we should tell, Kate declared, ‘The only ghost stories worth telling are ones that are true.’ ”
Do you believe that ghosts haunt the Hudson Valley? Dacquino does. His book seeks to uncover the truth behind three well-known local legends: Sybil Ludington, Chief Daniel Nimham, and George Denny. Through interviews with local experts, archival research, and visits to supposedly haunted locales such as Smalley’s Inn in Carmel, Dac- quino explores the lives — and afterlives — of these three figures.
Rose, who has penned many articles and books on Dutch and Hudson Valley cuisine (including some pieces for this magazine), created this “light-hearted cookbook that reflects the historical and culinary heritage of the Hudson Valley,” says SUNY Press. Rose offers simple, seasonal recipes for outdoor dining in the summer and for fireside pleasures in the winter, along with bits of food history and tips for using local ingredients. The San Francisco Book Review said, “The recipes are the highlight of this book. These are meals you might prepare at home for your family… If you’re interested in adding some recipes to your collection, this book will bring some fresh ideas.”
Musso’s second volume of “treasures” includes 55 sites with ties to our nation’s history. He covers such lesser-known locations as the West Point Foundry, where the Parrott cannon was made during the Civil War; an 18th-century tavern that was used as a military prison for the British spy who conspired with traitor Benedict Arnold; the theater that was instrumental in the creation of the popular television sitcom I Love Lucy; and the mansion that was so opulent it inspired the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses.”