The stretch of river between Manhattan and Albany is just 150 miles long. But what the Hudson lacks in length, it more than makes up for with outstanding scenery, history, and riverside activities. All of the major cities and towns were founded during Dutch and English colonial times, and the Hudson Valley played a pivotal role in the American Revolution. It has spawned one of the first major American art movements (the Hudson River School) and during the Gilded Age was a playground for the rich and famous. Framed by the Catskills and the Taconic Mountains, the river valley is also a scenic treasure that's particularly lovely in autumn when most cruises operate.