It’s a known fact: The Valley is famous for fall foliage. This autumn, instead of admiring it from your backyard, view it from the nine newest sites along the Hudson River School Art Trail.
The brainchild of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site and the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, the trail began in 2005 with seven sites located here in the Valley. As of this past June, nine more were added, expanding the trail to a total of 17 locales. It isn’t a traditional trail, but rather a compilation of directions to the spectacular landscapes that were immortalized in art by the members of the famed 19th-century Hudson River School. “It’s a virtual trail that is a series of driving and walking routes,” explains Elizabeth B. Jacks, director of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site. “Some sites you can drive right up to and see out your window; others you have to get out of your car and take a nice hike.”
A 2011 photo of the same area
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Photograph by Kevin Avery
Fun new ways to commemorate your visit include taking a pencil rubbing of a brass medallion set up on a plaque at each site, or “checking in” to a site via the organization’s Web page. Five locations even have full-color reproductions of the famous paintings that depict them, for an easy comparison of the art and its natural inspiration.
“Everyone loves this project, even if you know nothing about art history,” says Jacks. “It’s just fun.” To follow the trail, visit www.hudsonriverschool.org.