COLOR­FUL CRUISE

NA­TURE LIGHTS UP THE HUD­SON RIVER FOR LEAF-PEEPERS

Yachting - - FRONT PAGE - By Kim Kavin

For land trav­el­ers, the Hud­son River can be a fore­bod­ing bar­rier, a water­way whose bridges are packed with im­pa­tient taxi driv­ers and ex­hausted com­muters, their blood­shot eyes glow­ing nearly as red as the traf­fic­jam tail­lights. They sit in cars head­ing to New York or New Jersey, cast­ing wist­ful stares at the boats be­low. Rub­ber­neck­ing quickly turns to long­ing. Please, they think, just a few mo­ments of peace on the wa­ter.

This is es­pe­cially true in au­tumn, when chang­ing leaves en­velop the Hud­son in a warm cas­cade of color. They achts­men on the wa­ter don’t ac­knowl­edge the mess of civ­i­liza­tion above. They cruise bliss­fully be­neath the Ge­orge Washington Bridge, then the Tap­pan Zee and, far­ther north, the Bear Moun­tain. Some stretches of shore­line they pass — es­pe­cially as Man­hat­tan fades in the dis­tance — are still as bu­colic as they were when ex­plorer Henry Hud­son sailed Halve Maen (Dutch for “half-moon”) here in the 1600s.

Towns that sprang up dur­ing Colo­nial times con­tinue to thrive. Fam­i­lies of­ten pack river­side parks. And some peo­ple swear that, around Hal­loween, they see au­thor Washington Irv­ing’s Head­less Horse­man on the Sleepy Hol­low river­front.

The fall is ar­guably the

pret­ti­est time of year to cruise here, with sum­mer’s hu­mid­ity gone and na­ture’s paint­brush dab­bing the tip of ev­ery tree branch. The scenery can be down­right ma­jes­tic, so much so that it still ex­cites artists the same way it did in the early 1800s, when Thomas Cole rode a steamship up the Hud­son to paint au­tumn land­scapes. The Hud­son River School of painters fol­lowed, with their works in­spir­ing Euro­peans to move to this breath­tak­ing new land.

So, bring ex­tra binoc­u­lars on the boat. And a cam­era with a panoramic set­ting. Soon, the leaves will fall and win­ter will roar, but right now, there’s peace to be found on the wa­ter.

The Hud­son River NEW YORK STATE

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