Kingston, New York - With Pictures
With unexampled cruelty, you have reduced the fine village of Kingston to ashes, and most of the wretched inhabitants to ruin. I am also informed, you continue to ravage and burn all before you on both sides of the river… Letter to British Major-General John Vaughan from American General Horatio Gates
The Old Dutch Church
History of Kingston, New York
Settled by the Dutch in the sixteen hundreds, not old to those of you in Europe but old to those of us in the United States. The exact year of settlement seems to vary so it is safer to say during the sixteen hundreds. Located on the west bank of the Hudson River actually where the Hudson River and Rondout Creek come together. A large stockade was built to protect the settlers from the Indians. The Esopus tribe of Indians at that time lived in that area. Called by various names but the settlers finally decided on Kingston.
In 1777 Kingston became the first capital of New York State after the drafting of the State Constitution. The area of Kingston that formed the State Capitol is now known as the Stockade District. The Senate House where the Senate met is located in the Stockade District of Kingston.
The aforementioned constitution didn't sit well with the British so they sailed up river to Kingston and burned it down! After the war Kingston was rebuilt around the twelve pre-revolutionary buildings left standing. They can still be found there.
Governor George Clinton was inaugurated in Kingston and is buried in the Old Dutch Churchyard still in the middle of the Stockade District.
Farming and quarrying were popular trades in Kingston in the eighteen hundreds.
Location of Kingston
Patriots of the Revolution
Kingston, NY Today
Like many small cities Kingston is a mixture of neighborhoods but Kingston has the added distinction of having the Catskill Mountains as a backdrop. The Stockade District houses many small businesses and restaurants along with the Senate Building and four corners with original stone buildings which is said to be the only intersection in the United States with an 18th Century stone house on each corner! It gives you a true colonial feel standing there with those four buildings around you.
The Stockade District is also known as "Uptown Kingston" to the locals. Restaurants, beauty parlors, stores and nine churches can be found in this area. This is also the place where the Farmers Market is held every Saturday throughout the warm months. During the cold months the market is held inside the Old Dutch Church. Not only can you buy excellent, fresh produce, fresh maple syrup, organic meats, etc., but it's a good place to meet the neighbors.
A re-enactment of the burning of Kingston is held 'uptown' every year in the fall. A great site to see as the "settlers" chase the "British" with guns blazing. Well as fast as they can blaze being muskets. You can run with them if you're so inclined. I had difficult keeping up.
The blend of different styles of architecture also make the Stockade District an interesting area.
The Senate House has been converted into a Museum and houses many artifacts and original paintings from artists like John Vanderlyn, Ammi Phillips, Joseph Tubby, James Bard, and Thomas Sully. While the Burning of Kingston is free to attend there is an admission price for the Senate House. It is four dollars for adults, three dollars for seniors and students and children under twelve are free.
Stockade DistrictClick thumbnail to view full-size
Kingston Waterfront and Midtown
The Rondout or Kingston Historic Waterfront District - which was once known as the Strand and Kingston Landing, is down by the water (the Rondout) filled with some businesses and lots of restaurants. A place to get a boat for a river cruise and stop at the Kingston Lighthouse. You can watch the boats sailing and docking as you walk along the walkway on the Rondout Creek. Various events are held here each year including the Hoolie on the Hudson (an Irish Fest) and A Taste of Italy. There's also a Maritime Museum to peak your watery interest. A variety of antique shops and art museums can be found here as well.
Close by are several Bed & Breakfast Inns where you can stay in style. You can also visit the famous Clearwater Sloop, the boat built by singer Pete Seeger. The Clearwater is a 106 foot replica of an 18th Century sloop, built to raise awareness of pollution in the Hudson as well as a traveling environmental education vessel.
Midtown includes the Ulster Performing Arts Center, which continues to provide top stars and performances throughout the year. City Hall and the Kingston City High School are both in Midtown. Kingston City High School is nearing its one hundredth anniversary, the original building was built in 1915. It was built in the neo-classical style. City Hall on the other hand is a prime example of High Victorian Gothic municipal style architecture. Truly interesting to see as they sit across the street from each other.
There are a few restaurants but like any City this is an area in need of rebuilding to it's former glory days. A small Farmers Market has been started in this area not far from UPAC.
Have I told you everything? Certainly not but I think I've provided you with an introduction to a great city in a beautiful area.
Kingston Waterfront PhotosClick thumbnail to view full-size
Kingston Midtown PhotosClick thumbnail to view full-size
Celebrity Sitings in and Around Kington
Who are you likely to see in and around Kingston? None other than 007, Daniel Craig and his wife Rachel Weisz. I really did see them as have many others. Kingston is known for its celebrity citings.
Who else have I personally seen? Aidan Quinn. Yes, his blue eyes are THAT blue! Of course there are others I have not personally seen like Melissa Leo, William DaFoe, Vera Farmiga, and Imam. There are more but that gives you a taste of the celebrity in our area. Why? Well, we're only two hours from New York City, have beautiful countryside and since we are used to having celebrities in our area we do not hound them or make their lives difficult. A simple hello and it's on your way.
Anthony Bordain filmed an episode of his show "No Reservations" in a small marina bar in Kingston named "Rondout Bay Marina". (I've listed some of this in my hub Living in the Hudson River Valley and the Valley's Celebrity.)
Pumpkin Picking With My Grandson
Have you ever heard of Kingston, New York?
Other Places of Note in the Area
I hope you've enjoyed this little trip around Kingston. It is a beautiful, historic area with lots to offer any visitor from County Fairs to pumpkin picking. While some of these events are not in the City of Kingston they are not far away.
Back in 2011 the New York Times wrote an article about Kingston calling it a "Rest Stop on the Hudson" because of its wonderful restaurants. Groupon has included deals to nearby golf courses, batting cages, wine tasting, horse back riding and more.
The Kingston area is certainly a place to go to see the foliage turn or to ski the fabulous Catskill mountains. Ninety minutes from New York City and one hour from Albany puts Kingston in a spot that's handy to reach. If you're in the New York Area why not take a ride to Kingston and check it out?
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