Leaving New York City is by no means to be equated with the end of the tourist's amusement; departure marks first and foremost a change of scenery.

On leaving New-York, the traveller finds himself in the midst of a fine and varied scene. The battery lies behind him, with Governor's Island and Castle Williams projecting beyond; still more distant opens the passage called the Narrows, with Staten Island on the right, leading to Sandy Hook and the Atlantic Ocean, which is 22 miles from the city. On the west side of the Bay are Bedlow's and Gibbet Islands, with fortifications; the point at the mouth of the Hudson is Powle's Hook, on which stands a small town in New-Jersey called Jersey City; and the village of Hoboken is seen a mile or more up the river. The hills of Weehawken appear beyond: and we pass the crowded line of buildings in Washington-Street, the North Battery, the village of Greenwich, and the Episcopal Seminary.

Theodore Dwight, The Northern Traveller  

If the traveller casts his eyes backwards, he beholds the long perspective waters gradually converging to a point at the Narrows, fringed with the low soft scenery of Jersey and Long Island, and crowned with the little buoyant islands on its bosom. If he looks before him, on one side the picturesque shore of Jersey, its rich strip of meadows and orchards, sometimes backed by the wood crowned hills, and at others by perpendicular walls of solid rock; on the other, York Island, with its thousand little palaces, sporting its green fields and waving woods, by turns allure his attention, and make him wish either that the river had but one side, or that he had more eyes to admire its beauties.
      As the vessel wafts him merrily, merrily along, new beauties crowd upon him so rapidly as almost to efface the impressions of the past.

James Kirke Paulding, New Mirror for Travellers  

The steamboat journey from New York City to Albany was completed in ten and a half hours in 1828 by the North America. Various sites present themselves to the passenger on the Hudson River: the dueling spot of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr is at Weehawken; a range of precipices known as the Palisadoes provides an interesting natural scene; at a distance of seven miles from the City there is a lunatic asylum; the state prison is at Sing Sing; Slaughter's Landing is a romantic spot; Sleepy Hollow is an area of interest due to the writings of Washington Irving; at Fishkill is the Matteawan wool factory. Since ships depart from New York City at a rate of two to three each day, the tourist is not restricted from landing at any site which catches his fancy by the fear of being stranded.


St. Memin, Drawing of steamboat passing West Point

West Point, the military academy and its environs, is a popular spot to make such an excursion; there is a "large and conspicuous hotel" for those wishing to spend the night.

If the traveller intends stopping her to visit the military academy and its admirable superintendent, I advise him to make his will, before he ventures into the landing boat. That more people have not ben drowned, in this adventurous experiment, can only be accounted for on the supposition that miracles are growing to be but every day matters. There is I believe a law regulating the mode of landing passengers from steam boats, but it is a singular fact that laws will not execute themselves notwithstanding all the wisdom of the legislature. Not that I mean to find fault with the precipitation with which people and luggage are tumbled together into the bat, and foisted ashore at the rate of 15 miles per hour.
There is a most comfortable hotel at West Point, kept by Mr. Cozens, a most obliging and good humored man, to whom we commend all our readers, with an assurance that they need not fear being cozened by him.
Indeed the whole neighborhood abounds in beautiful views and romantic associations, worthy the pen or pencil, and it is worth while to cross over in a boat from West Point to spend a morning here in rambling during which the West Point foundry, the most complete establishment of its kind in the new world, may be visited.

James Kirke Paulding, New Mirror for Travellers  


Thomas Cole, Sunrise in the Catskills, 1826

Also of great appeal is an excursion in the Catskill Mountains. This may take one day; it is possible to spend two or three agreeably.

Those who are fond of climbing mountains in a hot day, and looking down till their heads turn, must land at the village of Kaatskill, whence they can procure a conveyance to the hotel at Pine Orchard, 3000 feet above the level of the river, and have the pleasure of sleeping under blankets in the dog days. Here the picturesque tourist may enjoy a prospect of unbounded extent and magnificence, and receive a lesson of the insignificance of all created things. . . It is, we trust, needless to caution the tourist against falling down this dicey steep, as in all probability he would come to some harm.

James Kirke Paulding, New Mirror for Travellers  

Most enjoyable in the warmer months, when seasonable the Catskills provide the pleasure of society in a varied natural setting.

There is a large and commodious house of entertainment erected at the Pine Orchard, one of the peaks of the mountain, about 3000 feet above the river. It is visible from the steamboat; and the ascent to it is performed without fatigue, in private carriages or a stage-coach, which goes and returns regularly two times a day (cost: $1). . . The Pine Orchard is the resort of so much company during the pleasant seasons of the year, that the attractions of its scenery are redoubled by the presence of an agreeable and refined society. Individuals of taste and leisure, and still more parties of travellers, will thus often enjoy a gratification which is rarely to be found in a place naturally so wild and difficult of access.

Theodore Dwight, The Northern Traveller  

Tourists in the Catskills may ride in carriages to the cascades, a romantic spot where refreshments are available.


Stagecoach

Albany is the final destination before proceeding to the Springs. Albany is a gateway to the Springs as New York City is a gateway to the Grand Tour.

At Albany, wise travellers going to the springs, or to Niagara, generally quit the water, and take to land carriages; since no man, who is either in a hurry, as all people who have nothing to do are, or who thinks it of any importance to wear a head on his shoulders, would venture on the canal. Four or five miles and hours would do very well when people were not so busy with nothing as they are now, but body o' me! Fifteen miles per hour is indispensable to the new regime.

Rules on leaving Albany by land:
Whenever you come to two turnpike roads, branching off in different directions, you may be pretty certain they both head to the same place. In this country there are always at least two nearest ways to a place of any consequence.
Never inquire you way of persons along the road, but steer by the map, and then if you go wrong, it will be with a clear conscience.
Never stop at the tavern recommended by the tavern keeper at whose house you stopt last.
When you enter a tavern, begin by acting the great man--ask for a private room--call the landlord, his wife, and all his household as loud as you can--get them all going, if possible, and find fault not only with every thing you see, but every thing they do. As a good portion of the pleasure of travelling consists in passing for a person of consequence, these directions will be found of particular value in bringing about this desirable result.
Be careful when you go away, not to express the least satisfaction to landlord or landlady at your entertainment, but let them see that you consider yourself ill treated. They will take it for granted you have been used to better at home.
Always, if possible, set out in a stage with a drunken driver, because there is some reason to calculate he will be sober in time. Whereas if he sets out sober, it is pretty certain he will be drunk all the rest of the journey.
Always be in a bad humour when you are travelling. Nothing is so vulgar as perpetual cheerfulness.

James Kirke Paulding, New Mirror for Travellers  

 

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