Stony Point Battlefield

After visiting Fort Montgomery we decided to have lunch and then afterwards follow the trail over Popolopen Creek up to what’s left(virtually nothing) of Fort Clinton. However, we changed our plans and decided to visit the nearby Stony Point battle site, described on its website as follows:

…Battle of Stony Point, one of the last Revolutionary War battles in the northeastern colonies. This is where Brigadier General Anthony Wayne led his corps of Continental Light Infantry in a daring midnight attack on the British, seizing the site’s fortifications and taking the soldiers and camp followers at the British garrison as prisoners on July 16, 1779.

By May 1779 the war had been raging for four years and both sides were eager for a conclusion. Sir Henry Clinton, Commander-In-Chief of the British forces in America, attempted to coerce General George Washington into one decisive battle to control the Hudson River. As part of his strategy, Clinton fortified Stony Point. Washington devised a plan for Wayne to lead an attack on the garrison. Armed with bayonets only, the infantry captured the fort in short order, ending British control of the river.

The Stony Point Lighthouse, built in 1826, is the oldest lighthouse on the Hudson River. De-commissioned in 1925, it now stands as a historical reminder of the importance of lighthouses to commerce on the Hudson River. The opening of the Erie Canal in 1825 unleashed a surge of commercial navigation along the Hudson River, by linking New York city to America’s heartland. Within a year, the first of the Hudson’s fourteen lights shone at Stony Point and others soon followed, designed to safely guide maritime travel along the river. Many light keepers, including several remarkable women such as Nancy and Melinda Rose at Stony Point, made their homes in the lighthouse complexes, and ensured that these important navigational signals never failed to shine.

The site features a museum, which offers exhibits on the battle and the Stony Point Lighthouse, as well as interpretive programs, such as reenactments highlighting 18th century military life, cannon and musket firings, cooking demonstrations, and children’s activities and blacksmith demonstrations.

Cannon overlooking the Hudson River. I believe they fire it on weekends.

Stony Point Lighthouse.

Another view of the lighthouse giving only a hint of the spectacular view down and across the River Hudson.

Ken by the Lighthouse.

I reclaim Stony Point for the British Empire.

Taken with a Sony RX-100 M3.

Fort Montgomery Revisited

Cannon overlooking the Hudson River.

I recently went with a friend to Fort Montgomery.

According to the Fort Montgomery web site:

Fort Montgomery was the scene of a fierce Revolutionary War battle for control of the Hudson River. Visitors today can tour the remains of the 14-acre fortification, perched on a cliff overlooking the magnificent Hudson. On October 6, 1777, British, Loyalist and Hessian forces attacked Fort Montgomery and nearby Fort Clinton. The defending American Patriots, outnumbered 3 to 1, fought desperately until driven out of their forts at the points of the enemy bayonets. More than half of the Patriot forces were killed, wounded or captured.

Visitors can learn about this important military post at the site’s museum, which showcases original artifacts and weapons, large scale models of the fort and the attack, highly detailed mannequins frozen in poses of battle, and an action packed fifteen minute movie of the 1777 assault. Archeologists have revealed many of Fort Montgomery’s remains, including stone foundations of barracks, the gunpowder magazine and eroded redoubt walls. There is a spectacular view of the Hudson River from the Grand Battery, where reproduction cannon stand guard and are occasionally fired by the fort’s staff. The past comes alive at Fort Montgomery with living history demonstrations of artillery, musketry, music and camp life activities.

I’d been to Fort Montgomery before, but at that time the visitor’s center wasn’t open. This time of focused more on the visitor’s center and a few cannons that weren’t there the last time I visited.

The Redcoats are coming.

American Soldier.

Night of the Living Dead????

Another Cannon.

Still more cannons at the site of the Grand Battery.

For more on Fort Montgomery see:

Fort Montgomery – Overview
Fort Montgomery – Route 9W Bridge over Popolopen Creek
Fort Montgomery – Footbridge over Popolopen Creek.
Fort Montgomery – A view from the 9W bridge
Fort Montgomery – A view from Fort Clinton
Fort Montgomery – Large Boulders
Fort Montgomery – The Naval Battle
Fort Montgomery – Enlisted and Officers Barracks
Fort Montgomery – The Redoubts
Fort Montgomery – Barracks
Fort Montgomery – Powder Magazine
Fort Montgomery – Guard House
Fort Montgomery – Soldier’s necessary
Fort Montgomery – Regimental Gardens

Taken with a Sony RX-100 M3

A visit to the Bronx Zoo – Overview

We had visitors, including two children, last week. We decided to take them to the zoo. Many years had gone by since we’d last been to the zoo so it seemed like a fun thing to do.

Unfortunately we’d failed to take into account that it was the Easter holidays, schools were out and it seemed like everyone was visiting the zoo. Our trip to the zoo, which should have taken less than an hour ended up taking about two hours and the zoo itself was…well…a zoo. So many people.

Still we enjoyed it and the kids in particular seemed to have a good time. By the time we’d had some lunch we only had about three hours before the zoo closed so we didn’t see everything that we wanted to see. I think you’d really need at least a day for that.

Above the Zoo Center described by Wikipedia as:

…built in 1908, is a one-story Beaux-Arts building located in Astor Court. The exhibit houses blue tree monitors, Mertens’ water monitors, and western spiny-tailed monitors (Varanus acanthurus brachyurus) indoors, and has both indoor and outdoor enclosures for Komodo dragons, Aldabra giant tortoises, and southern white rhinoceros. The building’s animal frieze was carved by A.P. Proctor. In 2000, the building was landmarked. The building is east of the Children’s Zoo and south of Madagascar!.

The building was originally designed as the zoo’s Elephant House and has held all three elephant species over its history. The building has also been home to various rhinoceros species, hippopotamus, domestic bactrian camel, Malayan tapir, and North Sulawesi babirusa. The building also held Rapunzel, one of the few Sumatran rhinos held in U.S. zoos, until her death in 2005.

Taken with a Sony RX-100 M3.

Quaker Hamlet District of Old Chappaqua

The other day I went for a quick tour around the Quaker District of Old Chappaqua followed by lunch at the Jardin du Roi.

According to Wikipedia:

The Old Chappaqua Historic District is located along Quaker Road (New York State Route 120) in the town of New Castle, New York, United States, between the hamlets of Chappaqua and Millwood. It was the original center of Chappaqua, prior to the construction of the Harlem Valley Railroad and the erection of its station to the south in the mid-19th century. In 1974 it was recognized as a historic district and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

What is today Chappaqua was first settled around 1740 by a group of Quakers from Long Island. They built the still-used meeting house, the oldest known building in the town, around which the district centered a decade later. The other contributing properties, all timber frame buildings up and down the road on either side near the meeting house, are the surviving buildings from some of the farms established then and later. They have been preserved intact from that time.

Quakers, fleeing religious persecution in England as Dissenters, settled in British colonies during the 17th century. One group established a meeting on Long Island in 1645. By the early 18th century their offshoots had crossed Long Island Sound to Westchester County, where they established Mamaroneck and Purchase by 1727.

In 1730, further offshoots of those groups moved further inland, to Wampus Pond (now Armonk) and “Shapequaw”. Ten years later one of them, John Reynolds, established a 100-acre (40 ha) farm that included the area of the future district, along Quaker Road from Kipp Street to Roaring Brook Road. By 1747 there were enough Quakers in Shapequaw that they began petitioning the Purchase meeting to establish their own. Permission was granted shortly thereafter, and Reynolds donated two of his acres (8,100 m2) to the group so it could build a meeting house and burial ground.

The meeting house

By 1753 the meeting house was finished. In 1776 it would serve as a hospital for Continental Army soldiers injured at the nearby Battle of White Plains. Two years later a wing was built on it.

The original Reynolds farm was eventually subdivided. Other farmers, like Samuel Allen and Elnathan Thorn, built houses near the meeting house. By 1825 the area had become the community of what was now known as Chappaqua. The residents were largely self-sufficient farmers with side businesses as craftsmen.

That ended with the construction of the Harlem Valley Railroad (still in use today as Metro-North Railroad’s Harlem Line) in 1846. It followed the river valley, and so the station was built a mile (1.6 km) south of the meeting house. Gradually that area became developed and grew into the downtown Chappaqua that exists today. Allen built a couple of small houses across the road from the meeting house, and cabinetmaker Henry Dodge built a large house at what is today 386 Quaker, moving the older Thorn house in the process. That was the last development in the district related to the original Quaker settlers and their families.

As the railroad spurred the suburbanization of northern Westchester in the later 19th and early 20th centuries, the meeting house and associated farm buildings remained in use. However, the economy changed. With the railroad close by, the farmers switched to growing cash crops for the New York City market, and sold some of their larger landholdings.

Some buildings, such as the outbuildings on the Thorn–Dodge property, were destroyed by the 1904 tornado. New construction in the district did not replace any of the historic structures. In 1961 another wing was added to the meeting house. There have been few other changes to the older buildings since then.

Taken with a Sony RX100 M3.

Lunch with the royals

A while back we went for lunch to Florrie Kaye’s Tearoom in Carmel, NY. It’s a very pleasant place with a fine selection of teas and a number of British delicacies to eat.

This is the closest I’ve gotten to British Royalty (although I did once shake hands with the Queen of Spain). I wonder what happened to Philip? I thought maybe he’d been grounded for saying something stupid…again. My wife felt that he wasn’t allowed out after his car accident.

Another view of Prince Harry.

Interior view of the tearoom.

My lunch: A ploughman’s lunch with three cheeses; apple and strawberry slices; slices of pork pie; nice crusty bread, branson pickle and home made bacon jam.


Taken with a Sony RX-100 M3.