On May 30, 2013, I wrote about a high school teacher who took a class to Greece and wondered how that teacher would go about creating a visit to New York State. He used a travel agent because multiple paths through Greek history exist and he could pick the one he wanted. One might think that something similar could be done in New York but consider the following examples.
The Historical Society of Rockland County has numerous bus trips throughout the year. They sell out and are well received. They also are mainly in Rockland County which the Society, of course knows well. After that post about Greece, I received a private email which I am authorized to share. The Society would like to expand its bus programs beyond the county but encountered problems.
I read with interest, as we at Hist Soc of Rockland have a committee planning local bus trips. I have been particularly interested in setting up another NY one.
The first trip I organized was in 2010 when a historic book reading club asked me if we at HSRC would arrange a trip to see D&H canal. It was a great trip…Kingston Maritime Museum, D&H Canal Museum, a personal visit to farmer home with remnants of canal in backyard, and his food stand in Accord….
Increasingly difficult to price affordably due to increasing bus prices, getting small enough buses that can go on small streets, …Economy of scale.
2012 we had fab tours of each of the county’s 5 towns that we repeated due to demand. 1/2 day, ended with a lunch. That worked very well.
2013 Kykuit & Hist Hudson (in Westchester), Bergen County (across the border in NJ) highlights are full day. Half day trips are Oldest churches, local cemeteries, Pipe organ tour.
We have an upstate NY trip planned, but not set yet. Trying to tackle it as our first overnight; need a volunteer willing and able to take on the responsibility. Watervliet Arsenal, Albany NYS Museum, Iroquois site in Fonda, Auburn and Seward, were some of the ideas of places to patch together.
Too many ideas, too little time, but we WILL get there!
Our committee thought I LOVE NY should have canned NYS bus trips. They need us “up there”, and there is a lot to see!
Please keep me/us informed. Call me nuts, but I think the advancing swell of the baby boomers implies an increased interest in history.
Cathy Quinn Oswald
Here are some takeaways from the email:
1. Lack of canned bus trips/paths
2. Time consuming to create one’s own trip/path
3. Market for staycations: New Yorkers visiting the sites of New York
4. Expense of buses.
A retired teacher group based in Rochester contacted me about creating a War of 1812 bus trip. I put him in contact with some people. After all the back and forth, the trip ended up being a one-day car visit to a single site. How hard should it have been to find a War of 1812 bus tour during the War of 1812 Bicentennial?
The Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society decided to have a trip to the Hudson Valley in celebration of the 225th anniversary of New York ratifying the Constitution and becoming the 11th state. The trip included visits to Ulster, Dutchess, Orange, and Putnam counties. I attended one event in Poughkeepsie. The executive director of the society lives in Florida. He put in a lot of time, a lot of time, with the Dutchess County Tourism Department putting together the American Revolution in the Hudson Valley path they would take July 26-July 28. Fortunately his daughter was working as an intern this summer in Washington’s Headquarters in Newburgh, Orange County, and she also put in a lot of time helping to organize the tour. Hours, upon hours. Is that the way we want out-of-state tourist groups to visit New York?
As an experiment, let’s see how many of the sites the Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society visited will be participating in the Ramble, the Path to History precursor in the Hudson Valley, in September. Let’s see if it will be possible to visit them in a coordinated weekend program as the Society did.
So here is yet another challenge:
1. Let’s create paths.
2. Let’s create American Revolution paths especially in New York City, the Hudson Valley, the Mohawk Valley, and the Champlain Valley so groups interested in the American Revolution like the Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society or perhaps teachers can more easily tour our state.
3. Let’s ask Albany to update the Path through History website so instead of it only asking people to shop individual sites and then create a path (have to you tried doing it?) it can list defined paths for each region for each theme as the regions create them.
4. Let’s present tour operators with planned paths that can be promoted to groups so people can easily select and modify paths in the geographical and thematic areas of their choice.
I have a dream that one day the Rochester retired teachers group, the Historical Society of Rockland County, the Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society and all the other potential visitors and tourists to and in New York State will be able to tour the state easily. Is that so much ask as we near the one-year anniversary of the Path through History project?
PS The post on the high school teacher going to Greece concluded with:
“At the upcoming NYSHA conference which I am attending, the State Historian, NYSHA, APHNYS and other history related agencies will meet privately to discuss the direction of history themed activities in the state. There certainly is a lot to talk about and I look forward to the results of that discussion.”
Does anyone know what was discussed?
Photo by the National Park Service.