It was a crisp fall morning on the Hudson River as we followed a barge being towed past the city of Hudson. The fall colors on the hills and the mist emanating from the water created the perfect atmosphere for some early morning photography of the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse from the ship. After breakfast, we divided into two groups, and each group visited Olana. A National Historic Site, Olana was Frederic Edwin Church’s house. One group did a long hike up the hill in addition to visiting the grounds at the house. While visiting Olana, many walked a path with views of the Hudson River. Each group also visited the Thomas Cole National Historic Site, which includes the house, Cole’s old studio, and a reconstruction of his ‘new studio.’ We were exceedingly lucky because the current exhibition in the new studio is comprised of original painted studies for Cole’s extremely popular series of paintings entitled Voyage of Life.

In the afternoon, we visited the Churchtown Dairy, a farm that practices regenerative organic farming. For us, the stars of the dairy were the goats, cows, pigs, and a barn cat. Many guests were intrigued by the milking process, and others were taken by the adorable piglets. Our last stop was Warren Street, the main shopping street in the city of Hudson. A stop at the Wine Merchant offered a taste of red and white wines, and everyone was encouraged to visit shops that were of interest as they walked back to National Geographic Sea Lion. Drinks and hors d’oeuvres were served on the sun deck before recap and dinner.