Also built on the Blooming Grove Turnpike in 1755 was what’s known as the Edmonston House, remarkably beautiful and looking as though it might have been built by the same man, William Bull of Hamptonburgh, NY, who did the Ellison’s place. Another Revolutionary War headquarters, Edmonston House is now a museum and home of the local historic society. Reenactments, 18th-century crafts demos, all kinds of historical presentations take place at Edmonston House, indoors and out. The historic significance of the Vails Gate area is further enhanced by the New Windsor Cantonment, commemorating the winter home of the U.S. Continental Army from the end of 1782 through April 1783, the Continental Army’s final encampment before the cease-fire was declared.
Vails Gate NY is still a densely populated hamlet, but there are local parks and the Stewart State Forest when you want to get away from it all. As New Windsor is right on the Hudson River, the Kowawese Unique Area, a 102-acre park with almost a mile of sandy river beach, was created to give the public access to the banks of the river at Plum Point. Boating, picnicking, hiking, nature study and fishing all go on happily at Plum Point, and there’s a Visitor Center available for rental April through November. Don’t have your own boat? River Rose Cruises depart from Newburgh, just north of Vails Gate.
There are seven large ponds (and lots of smaller ones) at Stewart State Forest, which boasts 22 miles of major trails on its 6,700 acres and lots of wildlife in its forest, wetlands and fields, including bobcats, grebes, deer and heron, woodcock and warblers. Schunnemunk State Park lies to the southwest of Vails Gate, 3,300 acres of meadows, glades and mountaintops with 360-degree Hudson River and Hudson Highlands views.
With the river, the mountains and the proximity to NYC, Vails Gate is a wonderful spot for a lot of reasons!