North of Cornwall-on-Hudson , Route 9W leads to the small city of Newburgh. Once a thriving whaling port and later an important factory town manufacturing everything from lawn mowers to handbags, Newburgh spent much of the late 20th century in a very sorry state. Many of its buildings were boarded up, and residents joked that the place was so untouchable they couldn’t even get the county legislature to build a toxic dump here.
More recently, however, Newburgh has benefited from a downtown renewal plan, and boasts a revitalized waterfront, Newburgh Landing flush with restaurants, bars, and shops, and where you can catch a narrated two-hour river cruise with Hudson River Adventures (845/220-2120, www.prideofthehudson.com , May–Oct.). Come on a summer’s evening and you’ll find lots of strollers here.
At the far edge of downtown, on bluffs overlooking the Hudson, is Washington’s Headquarters (84 Liberty St., at Washington St., 845/562-1195, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Wed.–Sat. and 1–5 p.m. Sun. Apr.–Oct., adults $4, seniors $3, children 5–11 $1), where the general spent the last six months of the war while his officers and troops waited farther south. It was from this headquarters—originally a farmhouse built by the Hasbrouck family—that Washington issued a victorious order for a “cessation of hostilities,” bringing about an end to the Revolutionary War on April 19, 1783.
Now run by the National Park Service, Washington’s Headquarters has been restored to reflect his stay, and the place has a very personal feel. Its small, whitewashed rooms are simply furnished with cots, firearms, and facsimiles of Washington’s account books, along with the desk he once used. The general remained in the house for about a year after the war ended, waiting for the British to leave New York. During much of that time, he was restless and bored, and resentful of the public demands upon his time.
Surrounding the house are a wide lawn and high stone wall. At the entrance is an excellent visitors center, while near the bluffs is the 53-foot Tower of Victory, built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the war’s end.
History buffs might also want to visit the 1830 Captain David Crawford House (189 Montgomery St., 845/561-2585, www.newburghhistoricalsociety.com , 1–4 p.m. Sun. Apr.–Oct., $5 admission), just a few blocks away from Washington’s Headquarters. The home of the Historical Society of Newburgh, the house is filled with period antiques, Hudson Valley  paintings, and an intriguing series of photo exhibits that document Newburgh’s more prosperous days.
Several other Revolutionary War sites are located within a few miles of Washington’s Headquarters. Most interesting among them is the New Windsor Cantonment (Temple Hill Rd./Rte. 300, New Windsor, 845/561-1765, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Wed.–Sat., 1–5 p.m. Sun. Apr.–Oct., adults $4, seniors $3, children 5–11 $1), where the general’s 7,000 troops, accompanied by some 500 women and children, waited out the last months of the war. Here they lived in log huts during a long, hard winter—a situation that almost led to rebellion.
Today’s cantonment re-creates the lives of the Continental Army’s soldiers and camp followers. Inside the visitors center are two floors of exhibits and a slide show. Outside, a military drill including the firing of muskets and cannons is staged every afternoon.
Four miles north of Newburgh is the 1714 Mill House (Mill House Rd., off Rte. 9W, Marlboro, 914/236-3126, www.gomez.org , 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Wed.–Sun. Apr.–Oct., adults $7.50, seniors $5, and students $2), the oldest extant house of a Jewish family in the nation. Continuously occupied for more than 275 years, the Mill House has been home to fur traders, merchants, Revolutionary War soldiers, farmers, artisans, and statesmen.
The house was originally built by Louis Moses Gomez, who bought 6,000 acres along the Hudson after fleeing the Spanish Inquisition. Several Indian paths converged on his property, and Native Americans once gathered near his home to hold ceremonial rites. In the early 20th century, Dard Hunter, a renowned craftsperson and papermaker, lived in the house.
Commodore’s (482 Broadway, 845/561-3960) is an old-fashioned ice-cream parlor that’s also a good spot for a simple lunch. The place is famous for its handmade chocolates.
Yobo’s (1297 Union Ave., 845/564-3848, $15) serves a wide variety of dishes from China, Korea, Indonesia, and other Asian countries in an artificially-constructed atmosphere of babbling brooks and waterfalls.
One of the area’s most popular Italian restaurants is Il Cena’Colo (228 S. Plank Rd., 845/564-4494, $20), which serves Tuscan-style and Northern Italian fare. Among the tasty specials are oyster stew, fried baby artichokes, and gnocchi with venison sauce.
In downtown Marlboro, near the Gomez Mill House just north of the Orange-Ulster County border, is the lively Raccoon Saloon (1330 Western Ave./Rte. 9W, 845/236-7872). On the menu is an enormous selection of tasty burgers and beers, along with homemade ketchup and ice cream.