Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Quad mural at the fair

During my visit to the Dutchess County Fair tonight, I saw a Quadricentennial display in one of the main buildings. On the wall is a Hudson River mural celebrating the Quad created by resident-artists in the Fine Arts Program of the Northeast Center for Special Care in Lake Katrine. The Ulster County-based center serves those who are challenged by traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries and related conditions.

The charming and colorful mural depicts the Hudson River and several local landmarks in Dutchess, Ulster and Greene counties. (I photographed a small section of it, above.) It is tucked away in a corner of the building that houses the Grange cafeteria, but on the opposite end closer to the carnival rides. It's well worth checking out.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

License plates

I read in the Burlington Free Press that Vermont residents have a new commemorative license plate design for the Quad.

The news story says that the official Quadricentennial commemorative plates, “Vermont Celebrates Champlain,” are being sold online through Vermont Life magazine (which is published by the state) and at various retail outlets for $25. The special plate, approved by the Legislature last spring, may be placed over front plates of Vermont cars now through June 30, 2010. A limited edition of numbered license plates are expected to be available by early fall.

The New York Quad Commission's Web site says a similar commemorative plate will be introduced for New York in 2009. We'll have to keep an eye out for it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Fulton anniversary

Starting last year, Clermont State Historic Site has been celebrating the 200th anniversary of Chancellor Robert R. Livingston and Robert Fulton’s development of the first practical steamboat. The Fulton anniversary is connected to the Hudson River's history and has been woven into the Quadricentennial commemoration. As the historic site writes on its Web page: "(The steamboat's) first official trip along the Hudson on August 17th and 18th, 1807 changed forever the way Americans understood travel and distance. The record-breaking speeds first altered travel along the Hudson River and later Westward Expansion and Trans-Atlantic immigration”

Clermont, which is the Livingston ancestral home, has more info on its Web site about the Clermont-Livingston-Fulton connection as well as how it marked the past year. Be sure to look at the "home" page for a new announcement of special events planned for later this month.

The historic site is owned by New York state and administered by the state Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation. In addition to the historic home and exhibition building, it has a small park with exceptional views of the Hudson River and is located off Route 9G just north of Tivoli and the Dutchess-Columbia county line.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sensitivity and celebration

Our sister newspaper, the Burlington Free Press in Vermont, reports that the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum began hosting an American Indian encampment last year in anticipation of the approaching quadricentennial celebration of the arrival of explorer Samuel de Champlain (the companion celebration to our region's ceremonies marking Henry Hudson's journey). The newspaper writes:

The Elnu Abenaki, based in southern Vermont, are dedicated to taking time to practice traditional skills in order to pass them to the next generation. Some take days or weeks from their modern lives to dress in buckskins, sleep in wigwams and cook over a fire -- singing, drumming and telling the stories their ancestors told.

Many Elnu feel the process brings them closer to their ancestors, tribe member Roger Longtoe said.

The value of their efforts extends to anyone interested in the history of the Champlain Valley, said Eloise Beil, communication relations manager for the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.

"If you're going to talk about life in the Champlain Valley -- we're the newcomers. There have been 10,000 years of Native Americans here beforehand," Beil said.

Finding the appropriate ways to recognize the people who were already here when the European explorers arrived is one of the sensitive issues tied to the Quad commemoration.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Quad souvenir

Here are two Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial "collectibles" I've seen turn up around the region. (These pins and sticker were handed out by HFCQ executive director Tara Sullivan during her recent appearance before the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce and meeting with our Quad coverage group at the Poughkeepsie Journal.)

Friday, August 8, 2008

It's here!

Well, Hudson Happenings has launched. The Web site was created by the Poughkeepsie Journal to share info about the upcoming Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial and the planned opening of the Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge linear park project, Walkway over the Hudson.

In the coming months, I expect that planning for this event will grow more intense and we’ll have lots of updates from around the region, including messages from some of the key people involved in that planning. Already, Ulster County has announced it will give out thousands of tulip bulbs next month so its residents can enhance their yards and celebrate the area’s Dutch heritage. Communities along the river are announcing plans for waterfront access enhancements. (Want to know more about that? Read about it Hudson Happenings.) It’s all so exciting! Stay tuned for more!