Situated halfway up a rocky ledge in the Hudson River Valley with an eagle's view of the water below, West Point was a strategic stronghold during the Revolutionary War and today is the proud home of the United States Military Academy. Essentially, the Academy makes up the entire town and it's built like a fortress.
The Academy takes on about 4,400 cadets each year and has graduated some of the greatest generals this country has ever seen. MacArthur, Eisenhower, Grant, and Lee were alumni of this revered institution. The Academy shares its pride with the public through its Visitors' Center and adjacent museum which is well stocked with items of military history. Once open to the general public for unsupervised viewing, museum tours are now only by escort since the September 11th tragedies. During the tour, you'll see the stained glass windows of the peaceful Cadet Chapel, the Plain where the cadets gather in formation each day at precisely 12:20 p.m., and Trophy Point, which overlooks the Hudson River.
Constitution Island is open to the public, but can only be reached by boat. Once part of the West Point fortress and a stronghold during the Revolutionary War, this island is occupied by a mansion today. In the 19th century, the mansion was occupied by two sisters who taught Bible classes at West Point and it is here their memories are preserved. The Great Chain placed across the Hudson in the Revolutionary War is also preserved on the island. A ferry carries passengers from West Point's South Dock to Constitution Island mid-week during the summer months, but reservations are required. Also originating at the South Dock, Hudson Highland Cruises take passengers on a sightseeing cruise of the Hudson and the splendor of the gorge that it carved out over the centuries.
West Point is a place of strength and pride? from the Academy itself, its fortress-like buildings and its military cadets to the rugged highlands that it sits on. It is as it was then ? a strong and steadfast emblem of American spirit.
West Point is located off Route 9, about 15 miles south of Poughkeepsie. For more information on West Point, look at the navigational sidebar on the left-hand side.