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August 21st, 2014

This Week in Orange County 8-20-14



Orange County has been named by National Geographic Traveler magazine as one of the top 20 places to visit in the world, and for good reason – the picturesque Hudson Valley offers scenic beauty as well as a wealth of arts and culture opportunities for the whole family. And summer is one of the best times to take advantage of all that Orange County has to offer residents and visitors alike.

The Hudson Valley Jazz Festival enters its fifth year in Orange County in 2014. Running from August 14 to 17, the festival will showcase the best jazz music the Hudson Valley has to offer with new and returning jazz musicians from across our region. With 20 events in four days, there’s sure to be something for every music fan. The feature show of the festival will take place at the Sugar Loaf Performing Arts Center, which I recently helped to partner with the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in a purchase agreement to keep this gem operating for Orange County families. In addition, jazz guitar legend Mike Jackson is scheduled to receive the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award. Our Orange County Department of Tourism contributed funds to keep the festival going strong, resident Steve Rubin originated the event, and Warwickinfo.net helped to promote it. Visit www.hudsonvalleyjazzfest.org to learn more.

George Washington’s headquarters in Newburgh was not only a military redoubt, it was the site of some of the most major political developments of our formative country in the waning days of the Revolutionary War. In March 1783 General George Washington, and his young nation, faced the prospect of a coup from the ranks of some of its most decorated officers. Several of Washington’s men planned to meet on March 11 at the New Windsor Cantonment, including John Armstrong, Jr., an aide de camp to General Horatio Gates and the likely author of a polemic calling on these men to mutiny if not paid the back salary and pensions they believed owed to them. A divided military would mean that the Americans could be easy prey to a recharged British expeditionary force. Equally as important, Congress and the rule of law would be fatally undermined by a military coup, undoing every precept of liberty and justice for which the young country had just fought. Fortunately, Washington ended the “Newburgh Conspiracy” peacefully and set a precedent for magnanimity that would lead him to choose the life of a gentleman farmer over that of a king. Learn more about summer activities at Washington’s Headquarters by visiting www.nysparks.com/historic-sites/17/details.aspx.

Speaking of the American Revolution, the Hudson River Chain, constructed from iron found at Sterling Forest State Park, prevented the British Navy from sailing up the Hudson River, where they could threaten American troops and supplies. The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference lists a number of trails crisscrossing the parkland, including the Appalachian Trail. Hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy the trails for free and exhibits are also available to see on the expansive, nearly 22,000-acre state park. And, just outside Sterling Forest State Park, don’t miss the New York Renaissance Faire on weekends through September 21. It’s the largest Renaissance fair on the East Coast and a trip back in time.

Museum Village in Monroe opened nearly 65 years ago, granting visitors to this open-air museum a taste of rural life in the 19th century. A Civil War exhibit exploring camp life among Union and Confederate soldiers is held every Labor Day weekend and is not to be missed. And “materializing” on September 12 is the latest round of Museum Village’s Ghost Tours. Explore the grounds in groups of 13 and see if you can detect the spooky spirits inhabiting the green and three buildings.

The United States Military Academy at West Point is our nation’s original service academy and offers visitors a history dating back to the American Revolution. Daily admission is free to the West Point Museum, where you’ll learn the history of warfare surrounded by some of the most eminent military minds on earth. While at West Point, don’t miss Music Under the Stars, a free Sunday concert featuring the West Point Band starting at sunset. And cap off the summertime relaxation at West Point with a fireworks show on August 31. Don’t miss a moment of the fun. For a full list of attractions, lodging, and events, please visit OrangeTourism.org.
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