If you're looking for a trip that will leave you entertained, excited and refreshed, head for New York's majestic Hudson River. The port of Jersey City is an excellent place to begin your cruise.There are two outstanding resort marinas there, each offering panoramic views of the New York City harbor and Manhattan's world-famous skyline. Liberty Landing Marina (201-985-8000) is located in Liberty State Park.
This full-service 520-slip facility has floating docks in the calm, deep waters of Morris Canal, just off the Hudson River, with striking views of the Big Apple.Newport Yacht Club & Marina (201-626-5550) sits directly across the Hudson River from downtown Manhattan and offers 154 slips surrounded by a luxury nautical village, which features great shopping, dining and entertainment. When you're ready to take a break from the bright lights of the city, cruise north to explore the rich history and natural beauty of the Hudson River.
This little village, approximately 36 miles north of New York City, sits where the Croton and Hudson rivers meet. As you cruise to the town you will pass the Palisades, a towering series of cliffs that stretch from New Jersey to New York, and glide under the Tappan Zee Bridge. Fall cruisers will be dazzled by brilliant foliage displays. Croton-on-Hudson is home to Croton Point Park, a 508-acre facility with outdoor activities and year-round events. Visitors can enjoy hiking, birding, fishing and swimming at the sandiest beaches on the Hudson. The town is also home to the Croton Point Nature Center. Half Moon Bay Marina (914-271-5400) is adjacent to the park. The 173-slip marina has world-class floating docks, manicured grounds, a picnic area and shopping and restaurants within walking distance.
Plan a stop at Stony Point, about 24 miles farther north, on the Hudson's west bank. This quiet community was the site of a Revolutionary War battle. The Stony Point Battlefield Historic Site rests on a knobby promontory that projects into the river and boasts the oldest lighthouse in the Hudson Valley. The lighthouse was built in 1826 and restored and relit in 1995. Tours are available for visitors. A stroll through town will calm and revive you. Stony Point has an abundance of peaceful parks, shops and restaurants.Dock at Stony Point Bay Marina & Yacht Club (845-429-0100) for a friendly welcome and terrific service. This 400-slip facility has all the essentials, plus a swimming pool, tennis courts, a well-stocked marine store and a facility for boat maintenance and repairs. There is a great selection of restaurants and bars that offer indoor or outdoor dining, right on the river. Grocery stores and a variety of restaurants are all nearby.
Travel another 19 miles north to the lovely city of Newburgh, also on the west bank of the Hudson. Along the way, cruise by Bear Mountain State Park, named for the mountain that resembles a reclining bear. Farther upriver you will spot the United States Military Academy at West Point on its scenic spot high above the Hudson. A few miles north is Pollepei Island with its brooding ruins of the 19th-century Bannerman Castle, built by a nostalgic Scotsman. This mysterious historical gem can be reached by boat tours from Newburgh.Dock at the Riverfront Marina (845-661-4914) in the middle of the Newburgh's renovated waterfront district. This marina has 120 gated slips and all the comforts to make your stay memorable. It is a walk away from first-class restaurants, art galleries and shops. Climb the hill from the marina to wander along streets lined with historic homes and churches.
Here are some tips when cruising the Hudson River with its natural beauty and many miles to explore:
Currents along the river can run from 1.5 to 2.5 knots and pay special attention to cross currents when entering a slip.
Look for floating debris which can be found lurking under water as well.
Give the right away to large ships, tugs, barges and ferries as the Hudson is a commercial shipping waterway. Boaters will have a safer trip by traveling just outside of the shipping channels when possible.
The roots of America's heritage run so deep in Boston it would take months to explore just the historical attractions and never experience the city’s other amazing offerings. And if you travel just north of Boston, you find several vibrant communities with their own rich past and unique charm. Cruise to the following three New England towns and discover spectacular scenery, 1600-era buildings, and gourmet eats along the Atlantic coastline.
Day 1: Portsmouth
Boston to Portsmouth, NH —53 NM
Settled in the early 1600s, Portsmouth remains a working seaport where tugboats nudge ships through the Piscataqua River currents. Its invigorating blend of historic buildings, sidewalk cafes and unique artisan boutiques have earned Portsmouth a Distinctive Destinations title from The National Trust for Historic Preservation. Strawbery Banke Museum in the heart of downtown is an authentic outdoor history museum and a main stop on bike tours of historical neighborhoods. Listen to spooky tales of ghosts, witches and murderers on a self-guided haunted walk to locations in the city’s sordid past including the Old Red Light District and African Burying Grounds.
Chef-owned restaurants and local pubs serving imaginative, locally sourced dishes highlight the culinary scene. There are more restaurant seats than residents! Black Trumpet Bistro & Wine Bar is housed in one of the early 19th century buildings of the old Merchants Row. A shiny patina on the walls is believed to be remnants of linseed oil used for candle making. The wine bar overlooking the water has a curated selection of 12 organic wines by the glass, as well as craft cocktails. The chef, a James Beard award semi-finalist, creates a varied seasonal menu that includes soft shell crab and crispy duck breast.
Started in the early 1800s, Portsmouth’s brewing industry is booming today. Loaded Question, one of many small craft brewers, snugged into the historic west end Button Factory, has a quaint taproom and a spacious outdoor garden.
Wind back the clock in old-world luxury at Wentworth by the Sea, an imposing 19th century resort that commands the island of New Castle, one of New Hampshire’s oldest settlements. Dine on mussels and lobster rolls at Longitudes overlooking the marina.
Nestled on the shore where the Merrimack River embraces the Atlantic, Newburyport is a travel gem whose unique charm and stunning scenery is anchored in a rich maritime heritage characteristic of coastline communities.
Adorned with seasonal flower baskets, historic Federal mansions line the brick sidewalks leading to the harbor of this enchanting sea captain’s town. Less popular than other classic seacoast stops, the compact downtown has a relaxed pace through quaint little shops, boutiques and art galleries lined up along the main streets or tucked into side alleyways. Amid the upscale shops is long-standing Richdale, a retro convenience store selling a bit of everything including penny candy and imported spirits.
Like many coastal towns, dining options are varied. The Grog Restaurant has a cozy pub ambiance and reliably good fare. Located in a huge (it has more seats than locals) old warehouse, Black Cow adds dishes like pumpkin ravioli, poke bowls and Mussels Cioppino to its standard American menu. For fresh-catch seafood in a lobster shack atmosphere, stop by Bob Lobster to watch the sunset over Plum Island Marsh.
For a once in a lifetime experience, climb 55 winding stairs to an eight-foot diameter room atop Newburyport Lighthouse to experience an unforgettable meal with a view.
Cape Ann, the “Other Cape,” offers superb seafood and lovely beaches sans the tourists that crowd Cape Cod. The Cape is home to Rockport, a quaint artists’ colony filled with colorful galleries, and Gloucester, America’s oldest working seaport. The area has a wild and unique nature as much of its rambling 41 square miles of land and water remain undeveloped.
Steeped in fishing lore, Gloucester’s lively waterfront is the homeport of Wicked Tuna, a long-running reality TV series. The show follows a group of salty fishermen whose livelihood is catching bluefin tuna the way it’s been done for centuries—by rod and reel, one fish at a time.
From the famous Man at the Wheel Statue and the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Memorial on Western Avenue, stroll eastward along Rogers Street through the historic district.
For “the bread of the fishermen” try Virgilio’s Bakery & Deli which offers 22 sandwiches on 18 different still-warm breads. They’ve been serving the local favorite, the St. Joseph’s Sandwich, since 1961.
Do not pass up Turtle Alley Chocolates whose tag line is, “Life is Short. Sin a Little.” Savor the signature turtles, bold salted caramels with lavender and rosemary, or peanut butter cups with bacon.
The Cape Ann Museum showcases the work of painters, sculptors, and craftspeople including Winslow Homer and Edward Hopper, who have been inspired by the scenery and character of the area.
Just south of the city center, Harbor Loop circles past mounds of lobster traps, a historic dory shop, the Whale Center of New England and Maritime Gloucester, a working waterfront, maritime museum and sea pocket aquarium. The site includes the country’s oldest continuously operated marine railway and a fully restored public pier.
Huge crowds descend on the area on Labor Day weekend for the annual Gloucester Schooner Festival. This capstone to the summer is steeped in maritime heritage and jam-packed with events and opportunities to get up-close and personal with these elegant vessels.
GENTLE GULF BREEZES carry the echoes of long-ago battles won and lost, the soulful tunes of travelers on Mississippi Blues Trail, and the enticing aromas from the multicultural flavors of coastal cuisine. The rich history of the Mississippi Coast is best experienced by spending time in the small communities dotting the 62 miles of shoreline.
Day 1: Bay St. Louis
Bay St. Louis to Pass Christian — 5 NM
This quaint seaside city overlooking its namesake bay has blossomed into an eclectic artist community whose residents might include descendants of Native Americans, rapacious pirates or Confederate generals.
Old Town is perfect for strolling. Start at the Mockingbird Café housed in an 1868 building boasting a rare three-sided gallery. They serve breakfast, brunch and lunch daily. The Belfast Breakfast drink—a cold brew blended with Jameson and Irish cream topped with whipped cream and cinnamon—may be a jump start or a sudden end to the day!
Blues Hall, built in 1894, is one of the stops on the acclaimed Mississippi Blues Trail. Lucky visitors might catch an open mic evening held on a stage that hosted noted gospel, jazz and R&B artists such as Etta James, Irma Thomas and Professor Longhair.
A stop at the Daiquiri Shak for one (or two) frozen drinks with names like 190 Octane might provide the courage to join other brave souls in the marsh mist for a Ghost Boat Tour by TheMysticGhostRide Company. Both the boat tour and the Ghost Cemetery Walking Pub Crawl are filled with eerie legends of the Bay told like never before.
Where to Dock: Bay St. Louis Municipal Harbor
On the eastern side of Bay St. Louis lies the sleepy summer town of Pass Christian. Spend a few hours sunbathing on the softest, cleanest beach sand along the shoreline or biking the Pass Christian Scenic Drive Historic District. Majestic live oaks and historic dwellings, charming cottages and elegant mansions line the two-mile drive. Beach cottage eatery Sea Level serves burgers, dogs, seafood tacos and 45 snowball flavors at umbrella shaded picnic tables.
Just a mild wind eastward is the tiny community of Long Beach whose colorful past includes pirate Captain Cleytus Pitcher who supposedly buried treasure near the border of Pass Christian in the early 1800s. According to local legend, his alcohol-fueled crew burned down his tree house with Pitcher still in it. Besides still-unearthed pirate riches, culinary treasures are discovered at Parrish’s Restaurant & Lounge. Menu choices from bouillabaisse to Wagyu tomahawk steaks and house made dessert creations are served against a spectacular sunset background.
Gulfport, the state’s second largest city and a working seaport since 1902, is now a world-class maritime terminal. A lively downtown amid ancient live oak trees and dignified old homes with sagging porch swings offers plenty of snacking, sipping and shopping options.
Irresistible aromas lure you into Coast Roast Coffee & Tea for a rich brew from beans perfected in their 100-year-old roasters. For steaks, short ribs and seafood, head over to Rack House Steaks & Spirits. Bar-side are 30 wines by the glass and more than 100 bourbons, ryes, whiskeys and scotches. Many restaurants serve the state’s signature dessert: Mississippi Mud Pie, a gooey chocolate glaze over melted marshmallows on a crusty brownie base.
Fishbone Alley, a funky little side lane, backs up to a cluster of pubs. Local artists adorn the alley walls with colorful murals celebrating Gulfport’s thriving arts scene. To work off some of those earlier treats, wrestle with a one-arm bandit on Casino Row and stay for one of the many shows.
Much of the city’s return to its pre- hurricane(s) glitz and glamour is due to the gaming houses that range from backwater barges to deluxe resort- entertainment complexes. The Casino Hopper Trolley stops at blackjack tables, city attractions, restaurants and beaches.
Kick off your morning with Crawfish Étouffée-N-Grits with a biscuit and homemade strawberry jam at Fill-Up with Billups before heading out to the many museums.
The ceramics of George E. Ohr, self-proclaimed “mad potter of Biloxi,” and other innovative ceramic artists are displayed at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art. The small but colorfully engaging Mardi Gras Museum is housed in an historic antebellum building. The Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum’s extraordinary photographs chronicle the first Native American settlements through generations of immigrants, all part of the region’s melting pot culture.
For a genuine waterman experience and a real shrimping expedition, The Biloxi Shrimping Trip highlights the fascinating world of sea creatures including catching, cooking and eating local shrimp.
Atlantic bottlenose dolphins like to race boats 12 miles south to the six barrier islands notoriously used by pirates, privateers and smugglers throughout most of their history. Hidden booty has been unearthed as recently as the 1980s. Cat, Horn, Petit Bois and Ship Islands are included in the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Cat Island contains bayous and marshes, home to several species of birds and alligators. USA Today named Ship Island "the hidden gem of Mississippi” for its spectacular beaches. All facilities, including the storied Civil War era Fort Massachusetts, are open to boaters.
The largest, Horn Island, was a creative source and favorite subject of famed Gulf artist Walter Anderson. It’s worth an overnight on the hook to listen to the song of the cicadas and reflect on the enduring mystique of the Mississippi Coast.
AS YOU AMBLE THE WHITE BEACHES of the Alabama Coast, you leave footprints on sands that once were the tops of the Appalachian Mountains. Transported south at the end of the last Ice Age, the sand is composed of pure white quartz crystals that create the legendary white sugar grains of Alabama beaches. A casual seaside village, an unspoiled natural island and a genteel cosmopolitan city thrive along the history-rich coastline.
Day 1: Orange Beach
A dynamic beach town surrounded by water in all directions, Orange Beach is a fishing wonderland nicknamed the “Red Snapper Capital of the World.” From the bayous to the reefs, and all the way out to the oil rigs, catches include several delicacies beside snapper. The abundance of fresh seafood dishes is found everywhere from shore shack to posh resort.
Unable to drag those toes away from the sand? Make tracks for The Gulf, a casual chic seaside hideaway with a unique shipping container design. Hang out at the bar or a communal table sipping and nibbling in the fragrant salty air.
For eclectic Southern and French-inspired dishes, head off the beaten path to Cosmo’s on Canal Road. Live music on the wooden deck makes Cosmo’s a happy hour favorite. Their Banana Leaf Wrapped Fish is on Alabama tourism’s list of “100 Dishes to Eat Before You Die.” Leave room for Soul Lovin’ Puddin’ or Peanut Butter Pie to finish.
Work off some of those Puddin’ calories on one of the 15 trails at Hugh S. Branyon Back Country Trail Complex. The hiking path winds among six distinct ecosystems within its 6,180 acres. For a more leisurely day, soak up the sunshine on one of the many public beaches.
Orange Beach Marina offers two retail stores and two award-winning restaurants. In a fully protected harbor off Terry Cove just minutes from the Gulf at Perdido Pass and the ICW, it accommodates yachts to 130 feet. Nearby Saunders Yachtworks is family-owned and offers a full-service boatyard.
As a barrier island, Dauphin is part of a complex estuarine environment that includes sandy beaches, tidal marshes and shallow lagoons rich in sea life. Attractions on the east end of the island include historic Fort Gaines, the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Indian Shell Mound Park and Audubon Bird Sanctuary. On the west end are beautiful shimmering beaches, public golf courses and parks shaded by ancient oaks.
Dauphin Island is among the top four spots in North America for viewing spring bird migrations. A wide variety of species rest and recuperate on the 137 acres of the Audubon sanctuary whose unique geographic features include forests, marshes and dunes.
For thousands of years, the abundance of food, fresh water and other essential resources made this area a popular seasonal settlement for indigenous people. Indian Shell Mound Park is one of the best-preserved archaeological sites in the south. The mounds are believed to be the remnants of seafood meals consumed by Native Americans between 1100 and 1550. Today, Southeastern tribes maintain an ancestral connection to the ancient mounds’ original occupants.
A few blocks from the park is Light- house Bakery. Housed in an historic home, the front porch is a perfect setting for breakfast or one of their infamous cinnamon rolls with pecans. From there, it’s a short walk to The Hippie Fish boutique for not-too-touristy shirts and jewelry.
Any time of day is perfect for a smoothie, a fresh fruit bowl, an amazing waffle or ice cream at Foxy’s Waffle Bar and Sugar Den. Their motto: ALL CHILL! NO FRILL!
The sunsets on Dauphin Island are totally spectacular. View them from one of the local eateries or pick up the highly rated steamer pot from Skinner’s Seafood on Bienville Boulevard and dine on board as the sun sets.
The 235-slip Dauphin Island Marina sits at the base of Dauphin Island Bridge between the ICW and Mobile Bay. The full-service marina amenities include fuel, maintenance and a restaurant.
Mobile is one of America’s oldest cities, well known for its miles of streets canopied by majestic oaks. The city’s oldest living resident, the massive 300-year-old Duffee Oak, is just one of the city’s many centenarian live oaks. Beneath the hanging branches, large homes with sweeping front porches are adorned with hanging plants, swings and rockers with colorful pillows, and often a huge cat curled around itself.
Mobile celebrated the first Mardi Gras in the New World in 1703, long before the party began in New Orleans. Here it’s a family-oriented festival where Moon Pies are thrown along the parade route. Whether or not you’re in town for Mardi Gras, the Mobile Carnival Museum provides not only an excellent look into the history of one of the country’s oldest festivals, but also the design of the colorful costumes and the elaborate floats.
Beyond the usual must-see tourist stops—the blooms at Bellingrath Gardens, the retired battleship USS Alabama or the comprehensive GulfQuest National Maritime Museum— Mobile offers several unique adventures.
Treasure hunters and bargain chasers flock to the 800 booths spread over 30 acres at the daily Mobile Flea Market. For genuine treasures, the Mobile Museum of Art houses more than 6,400 pieces of American, European and Asian decorative items ranging from contemporary artwork to classical antiquity.
Three centuries of ghosts, hauntings and dark secrets are woven into Mobile’s history. Hear tales of darkness, death and dismemberment on a Dark Secrets Tour of antebellum mansions, overgrown gardens and a church with a mysterious past. The historic Church Street Graveyard is considered one of Alabama’s most haunted cemeteries.
With so much cultural and ethnic diversity in its past and present, Mobile is an excellent place to gain an under- standing of life in the South during the Civil War era. Begin with a narrated tour of the Bragg-Mitchell Mansion, built in 1855. Then take the time to explore more than 40 stops along the Dora Franklin Finley African American Heritage Trail. The historical stories highlighted include early Creoles of color and survivors from the Clotilda, the last African slave ship to enter America in 1860.
Need a break from all the shopping, history and culture? Braided River Brewing Company offers a range of seasonal brews and limited releases. Or, spend the day along the miles of shimmering sand on Mobile Bay accompanied by a colorful beach umbrella and the latest mystery penned by a local author.
The downtown district’s historic buildings, fronted with lacy cast-iron balconies, surround shaded city squares. Art galleries, boutiques and eateries serving traditional Southern cuisine with a sophisticated twist are concentrated along Dauphin Street.
Tuck into A Spot of Tea for daily breakfast, lunch and brunch. While known for its Bananas Foster French toast, (another on one of the state tourism’s “Top 100” lists), the chicken salad is equally notable.
Just down the street is The Noble South, an airy eatery with whitewash walls and orange metal chairs. The brunch menu has irrestibles like Fig Crepes with maple syrup, lemon anglaise and honey roasted pecans.
NoJa, an inviting Mediterranian restaurant housed in an 1840s townhouse, offers seasonal dishes and scrumptious desserts including a Ginger Donut crowned with popcorn ice cream and caramel sauce.
For classic seafood such as shrimp etouffee and gumbo, try Wintzell’s Oyster House which began as a six-stool oyster bar in 1938 and is now a Gulf Coast tradition. Get in the spirit with their signature Dragon Drink, inspired by Vernadean, a beloved fire-breathing Mardi Gras float.