Summer Fun in the Hudson Valley 2011


(page 14 of 16)

m/v mystereThe M/V Mystère will take off from Poughkeepsie’s Waryas Park

Photograph courtesy of Empire Cruise Lines

Anchors Aweigh!

After three years of providing historical tours along the Erie Canal, Capt. Jeffrey Pyle, his wife, and his brother — who together own Empire Cruise Lines — began looking for a new home for their vessel, the 60-foot, refurbished M/V Mystère. Pyle sent out inquiries to dozens of ports and regions throughout New England and the Midwest, but without success. Eventually, he contacted City of Poughkeepsie Mayor John Tkazyik. “I heard back right away, which was refreshing after dealing with municipalities all along the Eastern Seaboard,” recalls Pyle, a Poughkeepsie native. “If you’d asked me a year ago, would we be in Poughkeepsie, I’d never have thought it.”

Though the boat hails from upstate, everything about Empire Cruise Lines is Hudson Valley-focused, down to the food and drink served onboard. “Whole local flavor is really what we’re going for,” says Pyle. What that means is seasonal, locally sourced brunch, lunch, and dinner menus from two popular Poughkeepsie restaurants, Lola’s Café and Crave — all prepared by Culinary Institute grads. “Food is the center of attention on Empire Cruise Lines, not an afterthought like on most tours,” says Pyle. “It took us four months to settle on menus.” In addition to the high-quality grub, the line will offer beers from Hyde Park Brewery and wines from several Valley wineries, including special blends just for the Mystère.

The boat sets out from Waryas Park, which is within walking distance from both the Poughkeepsie train station and the Walkway Over the Hudson. There are a number of options, including weekend dinner cruises, Sunday brunch cruises, and two-hour weekday afternoon sightseeing tours. The Mystère will also host a number of themed party cruises, starting off with a season-opening Cinco De Mayo fiesta; the boat is also available for private parties.

More cruising:

Hudson River Adventures
Cruises on the Pride of the Hudson from Newburgh to West Point; additional trips to Bannerman Island.

Hudson Highland Cruises, Inc.
The historic 1917 Commander departs from Peekskill, Haverstraw, and West Point and heads north to Garrison Landing.

Hudson River Cruises
The Rip Van Winkle launches from Kingston and heads south to the Hyde Park area. Check out the new $10 Hudson River water taxi service from Kingston to Rhinecliff, which includes a close-up look at the Rondout Lighthouse.

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