May 19, 2019 – New Windsor, NY
Address: 90 Plum Point Lane – New Windsor, NY 12553
Kowawese Unique Area at Plum Point is a 102-acre park owned by New York State and managed by the Orange County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation. This park offers the public an idyllic natural resource for family recreation, i.e. boating, fishing, hiking, historic Revolutionary War cannon batteries, plus one of the most dramatic views of the Hudson River gorge that can be found. The park is open daily from dawn to dusk.
Located on the western banks of the Hudson River, this site boasts magnificent vistas of the Hudson River Valley, the surrounding Hudson Highlands and a 2,000 foot sandy river front.
Amenities include: Beach (swimming is not permitted), Fishing, Boating (car-top boats only), Benches, Picnic Tables, Grills, Parking and Interpretive Center (available for rentals) and nature trails.
Kowawese, pronounced Kow-a-way-say, it meant “place of small pines” to the Woarenecks, a tribe associated with the Lenape Nation that once lived in this area of the Hudson Highlands. In 1685, it was the first place settled by Europeans in Orange County when Scottish immigrant Patrick MacGregorie built a log cabin and trading post here.
During the American Revolution, patriots attempted to prevent the British from passing upriver by placing 106 chevaux de frise (upright logs tipped with iron points) between Plum Point and Pollopel’s Island. Caissons from several chevaux de frise still rest at the river bottom. Also that year, a 14-gun battery, Manchin’s Battery, was set up on the bank to protect Pollopel’s Island. However, these obstructions did not stop a British flotilla from burning Kingston in 1777.
Later, the landscape was radically reshaped when sand and gravel was quarried there and hauled off on barges until the 1970’s. Visitors walking through the wide trails of the park might still be able to see remnants left over from the quarry operations that once occupied the site.
In the late 1980’s, New York bought the Kowawese site for $13.3 million to preempt construction of 530 riverside condominiums. It was still inaccessible until 1995, when a sturdy, two-lane concrete bridge was built over dual railroad tracks. Now, nature has reclaimed Plum Point, with new growth covering the berms of gravel left from years ago. Bald eagles winter in the area and, depending on which quiet trail you hike, you’re likely to see black walnut trees, white oaks and cottonwoods that leave the park covered in white fluff in the spring.
A truly beautiful spot along the Hudson River to relax and grill some food. The park is small and fills up quickly on nice days. Getting there early is imperative in order to grab a prime spot with a table and grill. There is nothing like grilling breakfast by the Hudson River. The Hudson River views are awe-inspiring and make this park well worth the visit.
Hudson River views, mountain views, picnic tables and charcoal grills, scenic landscape.