Expedition Overview

Expedition Overview

  • Sail through the rolling hills of upstate New York at the height of fall, taking in a magnificent palette of autumn colors.
  • Kayak in important nature reserves and wildlife refuges including Constitution Marsh Audubon Center and Sanctuary.
  • Visit the former home of artist Thomas Cole, considered the founder of the Hudson River School art movement.
  • Learn about the Clearwater, a traditional sloop commissioned to engage young people in environmental stewardship, and enjoy a chance to cruise under its sails.



During fall in New York’s Hudson River Valley, history, art, and music thrive against a dazzling backdrop of autumn hues. Sail the Hudson River, discovering the role it has played in the nation’s history and culture. Watch for birdlife in the wetlands of Constitution Marsh, and hear Washington Irving's classic tale retold in the village of Sleepy Hollow. See the striking open-air art installations at Storm King Art Center, and visit the home of the founder of the Hudson River School art movement. Learn about conservation efforts as we kayak in pristine wilderness areas illuminated by the fall colors.

This trip is operated in collaboration with Lindblad Expeditions.

Day 1: New York City, New York

Arrive in New York and embark the National Geographic Sea Lion. Sail out of New York Harbor and up the Hudson River this evening.

Meals Included:Dinner

National Geographic Sea Lion for the entire voyage

Day 2: Hudson River Valley/Constitution Marsh/Bannerman Castle

Appreciate the beauty of the Hudson River Valley as the day begins, enjoying a quiet cruise through the undulating countryside. We’ll cruise slowly past West Point Military Academy, originally George Washington’s Revolutionary War headquarters. Then set out by kayak to explore the bird and wildlife sanctuary of Constitution Marsh Audubon Center and Sanctuary, which stretches along the east bank of the river. Watch for belted kingfishers, northern harriers, and other birds and wildlife while we paddle, or simply stop for a moment and relish the stillness of the quiet wetland. Later, take Zodiacs around Bannerman Castle on Pollepel Island. Fashioned after a Scottish castle, this enigmatic ruin was once the summer home—and storage facility—of a successful turn-of-the-century munitions dealer. Hear about its storied past and efforts to preserve it.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3: Catskill/Rogers Island or Hudson

Arrive picturesque village of Catskill, passing the photogenic Hudson-Athens Lighthouse on the way. Visit the former home of renowned artist Thomas Cole, recognized as the founder of the Hudson River School of landscape painters. On a tour of his house and grounds, now a National Historic Site, learn about the life of this early 19th-century environmentalist and see his studio and paintings. Later, we’ll paddle kayaks through the waterways of Rogers Island Wildlife Management Area or take a walk in the charming city of Hudson.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4: Kingston

In Kingston, learn the story of the Clearwater sloop, originally commissioned by singer Pete Seeger in the 1960s as a way to bring attention to poor state of the Hudson River. Now named to the National Register of Historic Places, the sloop was among the first vessels to provide science-based environmental education, and played a critical role in cleaning up the Hudson. Conditions permitting, board the sloop and sail out of Kingston Harbor for a unique experience on the Hudson. Later, stop by the Hudson River Maritime Museum to see exhibits on a variety of regional subjects, including the conservation of this great waterway.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5: Esopus Island/Cruising the Hudson

Explore the shores of Esopus Island by kayak and Zodiac and hear the colorful tales of its past. The island’s most famous resident was the mystic Aleister Crowley, who camped here for 40 days in solitude during the waning days of the First World War. Visit the

Esopus Meadows Lighthouse, nicknamed the Maid of the Meadows, built in 1839 to warn boatmen of the surrounding dangerous shallows of the Hudson River. Enjoy an afternoon on the Hudson, following the river as it meanders through splendid fall scenery.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6: Storm King Mountain

Storm King Mountain was a regular subject of Hudson River School painters, as they depicted the natural beauty of the mountain while wrestling with the approaching industrialization and commercialization of the Hudson. Visit the Storm King Art Center, a celebration nature and innovation. Here, works of art are displayed across 500 stunning acres, and sometimes crafted out the landscape itself. Then ascend Storm King Mountain itself to take in magnificent views of the river and the changing leaves.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7: Bear Mountain Bridge/Fort Montgomery/Sleepy Hollow

Rise early for a chance to photograph Bear Mountain Bridge in the morning’s golden light. If conditions permit, set out on a morning kayak excursion to Fort Montgomery, where Popolopen Creek meets the Hudson River. On our way south, we pass Iona Island, part of the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve. Arrive in Sleepy Hollow, the “drowsy, dreamy” town that is the setting for Washington Irving’s famous tale. Hear a re-telling of Irving’s legend before a walk along the 13 Bridges Trail. In the late afternoon, stop for a walk in the lovely Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and visit the gravesite of Washington Irving.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8: New York City

This morning, return to New York City and disembark the ship.

Meals Included:Breakfast