destination profile

Beacon

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Introduction

By Jeremy Thornton

Beacon, NYThis little town set in the hills of the Hudson River Valley is on the move! Beacon's residents have been working hard to let outsiders in on its hidden charms and pristine environment, and word is starting to spread.

The town got its name from the nearby mountain where Revolutionary War troops lit beacon fires as signals. That mountain has always shaped the town's history. In the first half of the 20th century Beacon was an area hot spot. A cable car ran up the side of Mount Beacon to a casino, restaurant and dance hall at the peak, 2,200 feet up and inaccessible by road.

The inclined railroad, built in 1902, was called the "eighth wonder of the world." People came from near and far to eat delicious food, dance at the club, gamble their money away and enjoy the gorgeous view. It's said that on a clear day, a person could see the Manhattan skyline in the distance. In 1908, the Beaconcrest Hotel was built next to the casino.

Presently, many of the town's citizens are working to revive the tourist industry that came screeching to a halt after a fire burned the casino and a second fire destroyed the cable car. Today, visitors can enjoy a major art institution, several galleries, extensive antiquing and strolls along the river, as well as points of historical interest and river cruises.


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