Editor’s Note: The following text is a verbatim transcription of an article featuring stories by Captain William O. Benson (1911-1986). Beginning in 1971, Benson, a retired tugboat captain, reminisced about his 40 years on the Hudson River in a regular column for the Kingston (NY) Freeman’s Sunday Tempo magazine. Captain Benson's articles were compiled and transcribed by HRMM volunteer Carl Mayer. See more of Captain Benson’s articles here. This article was originally published August 31, 1975.
The Hudson River Dayline — long a tradition of a quiet, but delightful way of viewing the many sites along the shores from New York City to Albany — is still traversing the picturesque river.
The Dayline vessel, once a familiar visitor to the Kingston shores at Kingston Point, still affords residents and vacationers to our area of this delightful and relaxing mode of travel.
Of course, now, you can’t board the vessel at Kingston Point or Albany. You'll have to get down to New York City, get on board there for the 150-mile, 9-hour journey from Gotham up the Hudson to the vicinity of Poughkeepsie and then back to New York City.
Gone are the days of the “Peter Stuyvesant”, “Hendrick Hudson”, the “Alexander Hamilton” and other ships of the Dayline fleet.
But the beauty of the voyage is still there providing some of the most remarkable riparian views in America during its ambling trip up the Hudson and back.
And you can take advantage of these daily trips — now through mid-September — by boarding the "Dayliner” at Pier 81, West 41st Street, in the Big Apple.
The first port of call on the way is Bear Mountain State Park where passengers can disembark, if they wish, for a four-hour stay. The park has many recreational facilities plus the Bear Mountain Inn, which offers food and overnight accommodations.
Another stop-over is West Point, site of the U.S. Military Academy. Steeped in historical lore, "The Point” highlights include a military museum, the Cadet Chapel and Trophy Point, one of the best observation sites along the majestic Hudson. For those who wish to view "The Point,” a sightseeing tour bus meets the “Dayliner.”
River passengers can pass up both stops, however, and stay aboard while the vessel journeys farther upriver to Poughkeepsie. There is no stop at the Bridge City, however, and the Dayliner makes a U-turn and begins its homeward trip to Pier 81, stopping along the way to pick up downriver passengers at West Point and Bear Mountain.
It you've never had the opportunity to sail the Hudson on the big liners of yesteryear, the lure of the river is still there and even though it means a trip down to New York City first, you'll be in for a wonderful treat for this lazy, but very satisfying way of viewing the Hudson.
Captain William Odell Benson was a life-long resident of Sleightsburgh, N.Y., where he was born on March 17, 1911, the son of the late Albert and Ida Olson Benson. He served as captain of Callanan Company tugs including Peter Callanan, and Callanan No. 1 and was an early member of the Hudson River Maritime Museum. He retained, and shared, lifelong memories of incidents and anecdotes along the Hudson River.
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