Puzzled about where exactly to book your remaining, precious summer vacation days? If your travel dreams involved the Hudson River Valley in 1896, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle was there to help. In a handy guide titled “Where to Pass Vacation Days. Points About the Thousand and One Resorts Which Seek Your Summer Patronage,” the Eagle passed on tips for travelers to “the Rhine of America.”
The visitor was encouraged to travel through the “picturesque and legend-laden region” via a “silent, swift steed” — aka a bicycle.
Hot spots recommended in the Hudson River Valley included Yonkers, deemed a nice day trip by bike and “easily reached by the breadwinner who leaves his wife and child there during the hot season.”
Historic Newburgh, with a “situation unsurpassed by any of the towns on this river’s banks,” boasted modern hotels as well as country houses for “quiet people.”
Highland House, a “famous resort for Brooklynites” was located in Garrison and described as an hour and a half from New York — presumably by train and not bike.
Looking for a pick-me-up? How about a sojourn further inland to Pawling with “fine air that is as invigorating as the elixir of life”? The Eagle recommended a stop at the Dutcher House as “the tired man becomes an athlete in this place and the invalid an enthusiast.” While so many great hotels of the 19th century succumbed to fire or demolition, Dutcher House, built in the 1880s, survived and is now an apartment building.
Looking to travel outside of the Hudson River Valley? The Eagle had vacation suggestions for Long Island, New Jersey and beyond. If you still needed help, you could also consult the Eagle’s resources in person.
To ease the vacation hunt for Brooklynites, in 1893 the Eagle established a free information bureau. Readers could look through the advertisements in the paper for houses, hotels and resorts and then head to the Eagle offices to sort through brochures to find out all the particulars and, in some cases, peruse photos of the accommodations.
By 1894, more than 10,000 people used their services in planning their vacations, according to the Eagle. By 1908, it was reachable by phone. Ads were still popping up for the information bureau in the 1950s.
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