Friday, October 8, 2010

Touring Newburgh

Two weeks ago, when I attended the "Hudson Valley Ruins" lecture at the Newburgh Free Library, I met a lady briefly at the end of the event, and she was more than enthusiastic on sharing what Newburgh had to offer with me. She gave me her phone number, with the idea of her showing me around the area.

I gave her a call, and after a couple of rounds of phone tag, we met up at the Captain David Crawford House, home to the Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands. The house itself is something worth seeing, from the ornate front door with its antique hardware, to it being situated on a corner lot overlooking the Hudson River.

This lady, being a Newburgh native and holding a seat on the Historical Society's Board of Managers, was a wealth of information. I could ask her just about anything, and she gladly answered. If she felt she didn't have enough information, she was more than happy to the contact information of someone to get in touch with. She took  me all over Newburgh, pointing out houses and different neighborhoods, and providing information on each unique area, whether it be relating to the types of houses, architects involved, or the general use of the areas today. What I liked best was the fact that she didn't try to sugarcoat anything, or avoid places you probably wouldn't want someone to judge the area on. In fact, I think those areas are the best to see.

Aside from just wanting to get to know the area more, she also pointed out how many things there are to do in the area, reasons to just come spend a few hours or even a day there, such as the Ann Street Gallery, the Karpeles Manuscript Library, the Downing Film Center, and the Ritz Theater. Other places not to be left off the list of to-do's here are the restaurants and shops on Liberty Street and the Waterfront area. A friendly stop at Newburgh Art Supply and lunch at Caffé Macchiato were also on our itinerary.

What she really showed me is that the true essence of the area isn't in the historic buildings or quaint shops, but the people in the community. I can't even say how I came to talking to to her that night, but she went above and beyond making someone new feel welcomed.

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