West Point, the nation's oldest and foremost military college -- which celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2002 and is the oldest continually used military post in the U.S. -- has produced some of the greatest generals and leaders this country has known, including Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, Douglas MacArthur, George Patton, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. (Edgar Allan Poe, however, dropped out!) West Point is one of the nation's most esteemed and rigorous science and engineering colleges. The most popular attraction in the entire Hudson Valley, West Point is no longer as visitor-friendly as it once was, however, due to heightened security concerns. In fact, whereas visitors once were free to roam the campus among the orderly cadets in their dress blues, for the foreseeable future the only way to visit is by organized 1- or 2-hour (June-Oct only) tours on a bus. It makes stops at the famous Cadet Chapel, which possesses stained-glass windows that were gifts of graduating classes and the largest church organ in the world, with more than 21,000 pipes; the Cadet Cemetery; and Trophy Point, where cannons captured from five wars are gathered in remembrance. The massive campus (home to just 4,000 student soldiers), with its Gothic Revival buildings perched on the west side above the Hudson River, is undeniably handsome, especially in fall. Tickets for all tours must be purchased at the visitor center. It's advisable to call ahead to confirm the tour schedule. Behind the visitor center, the West Point Museum is the oldest and largest collection of war memorabilia and war trophies in the U.S. See an atomic bomb, the cannon that fired the first American shot in World War I, Hitler's Lilliputian presentation pistol, and uniforms and artifacts that trace the history of warfare. For war and history buffs, it will be fascinating; for others, considerably less so. Allow 2 to 3 hours for the entire visit.
- © Frommer's 2013
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- Recommended 2010
- visit website
- tel: 845/446-4724
- Rte. 218
- Highland Falls, NY 10996
- 1-hr tours Apr-Oct Mon-Sat 9:45am-3:30pm, Sun 11am-3:30pm; Nov Mon-Fri 10am-2:30pm, Sat 10am-3:30pm, Sun 11am-3:30pm; Dec-Mar daily 11:15am and 1:15pm. 2-hr. tours June-Oct daily 11:15am and 1:45pm; Nov 1:45pm only. No tours on Sat of home football games or during graduation 3rd week in May. Museum daily 10:30am-4:15pm
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