Autumn in the USA is a time for many traditional harvest-related activities. Our New York City Fulbright Scholars and their families were able to participate in seasonal festivities through the Enrichment Program. On a beautiful fall morning, the group drove up to Storm King Art Center, a famous 500-acre outdoor sculpture park and museum that celebrates the harmonious yet dramatic interaction between sculpture and the surrounding landscape. They were guided through the museum to learn about the art, its engineering, local history, and to appreciate the beautiful fall foliage that surrounded them. Guides encouraged the visiting team to look at each work from a variety of angles and really consider the different emotions that they evoke. After a period of solo exploration, the group came together for an outdoor lunch at Storm King’s picnic grounds.
The Fulbright group at Storm King Art Center in New Windsor, NY
The Fulbright group departed from Storm King and drove to Pennings Orchards. They picked apples, went on a wagon ride around the beautiful grounds, and enjoyed apple cider and donuts. Children were able to meet pygmy goats, and climb haystacks; while adults appreciated the marvelous landscape and the farmers market.
Fulbright scholars on a tour at Storm King Art Center
“We had wanted to go upstate in the autumn and see the beautiful views of the trees and the hills in those colors! And it was a perfect mix of culture and nature for us, keeping it interesting both for the kids and for us. Very engaging!” -Agustina Del Campo from Argentina; Columbia University
Fulbright scholars and their families enjoying a wagon ride at Pennings Orchards
Fulbright Scholars and their families began their adventure at The House of Seven Gables where tour guides divided them into small, interactive groups. The house, a Jacobean style mansion built by the sea in 1668, is a unique piece of New England history. Scholars learned about the property, its inhabitants, and enjoyed taking pictures of the property.
Exploring the House of Seven Gables gardens.
The groups then ventured to Pickering Wharf, a beautiful spot on the harbor filled with restaurants and small shops, where scholars ate lunch and had the option to explore the USS Friendship. This ship is a replica of the Salem East Indiaman Friendship, launched in 1797 with 15 voyages to Batavia, India, China, South America, the Caribbean, England, Germany, the Mediterranean, and Russia.
View of Salem Harbor.
The journey of our Fulbright crew continued to The Peabody Essex Museum, one of the largest and most dynamic art museums in the nation. Scholars were able to experience the museum at their leisure. They then walked to the Salem Witch Museum. At this final destination on the tour, scholars learned about the Salem Witch Trials of the 1600s and the different varieties of witches.
“Strandbeast” special exhibit from The Netherlands at the Peabody Essex Museum.
Fulbright scholars and their families took a road trip in October 100 miles north to Gettysburg, PA. This small town is infamous in American history. During the American Civil War in the 19th century, the Battle of Gettysburg, also known as the High Water Mark of the Rebellion, was the pivotal moment that led to Union victory. While Confederate General Robert E. Lee attempted his second invasion of the North, the bloodiest battle of this war was fought in Gettysburg. It also served as the inspiration for President Abraham Lincoln‘s famous Gettysburg Address.
Fulbright Scholars and their families pose in front of one of the many famous monuments at Gettysburg
The scholars ate lunch at the visitors center and were given an educational tour from a Licensed Battlefield Guide. They retraced the steps of the battle and looked at monuments dedicated to the soldiers who fought at Gettysburg.
A glimpse into battlefield life
After the battlefield tour, scholars and their families visited the Gettysburg Foundation museum. The artifacts held within the museum offer insight into the lives of important key figures of the Civil War, such as President Abraham Lincoln and Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
Scholars ascending above the beautiful fall foliage
Who said Fulbright Scholars only engage in academia? Our DC area Scholars were given the opportunity to experience the beautiful monuments in the city on a Segway tour. A Segway is a two-wheeled motorized personal vehicle consisting of a platform for the feet mounted above an axle and an upright post surmounted by handles (check out the pictures!). On their two-hour tour, they visited and learned about famous landmarks such as the White House, the US Capitol, the Smithsonian Museums, and other attractions located in the heart of our nation’s capital!
Scholars on Segways in front of the White House
Although Segways might seem difficult to command, our scholars found that they were surprisingly easy to drive after a quick practice lap. With a bit of encouragement, they soon were zipping through the historic streets of DC. It was a wonderful way to tour the city without tiring out too quickly.
Scholars on Segways in front of the Washington Monument
After the tour, the scholars munched on a delicious Italian lunch. They were all thrilled with the Segway tour and DC’s monuments!
Fulbright Scholars eating after a great Segway tour
What’s more American than a good game of baseball? Fulbright Visiting Scholars and their families were able to experience this great American pastime in Baltimore. Before heading to Camden Yards, the home field of the Baltimore Orioles, Scholars and their guests were invited to a private tour of the Sports Legends Museum. Fun fact: the building used to serve as a passanger terminus for the country’s first commercial railroad before becoming a museum.
Group in front of the Sports Legends Museum
At the museum the group learned about the complicated rules of baseball through a guided tour. Children of the Fulbrighters were even able to try on some baseball gear in the hands-on section of the museum.
Mike Gibbons shows participants a catcher’s mask
Then it was off to the field to see the Baltimore Orioles take on the New York Yankees!
Group waving from the stands
On a sunny day in early May, Visiting Fulbright Scholars and their families located in the greater New York City area trekked to a famous neighborhood in their host city. Although not publicly known for tourism, Harlem proved to be a rewarding and unique area to visit.
Tour guide, Anthony Bowman, answering the scholar’s questions after the church service
The group was guided by a specialist in African-American history through the vibrant streets of Harlem. Beginning at the famous Apollo Theater, Fulbrighters learned about events such as the Great Migration and the Harlem Renaissance. Eventually the scholars landed at their midway destination, the First Corinthians Baptist Church, where they listened to beautiful Gospel hymns and listened in to a service on the need for justice in the black community. Reverend Lekisha related this necessity to the social unrest unraveling in Baltimore.
Scholars and their families walking down 116th Street in Harlem
After the moving experience at the church, the group toured a part of Harlem known as “Little Africa,” named for the presence of West African immigrants. In this area, scholars passed the mosque Masjid Malcom Shabazz, where they seized the opportunity to discuss Malcom X’s philosophy of unifying Muslims from all cultural backgrounds.
Anthony talking about the evolution of Jazz
At the end of the outing, scholars were treated to discover American “soul food,” with delicious samplings such as fried chicken, candied yams, macaroni & cheese, and sweet tea. Overall, scholars were amazed at how safe and lively the streets of Harlem were, which is typically stereotyped as a poor and dangerous neighborhood of the city.
Fulbright Visiting Scholars in the Greater New York City area were fortunate enough to go on a sailing adventure on the Hudson, one of the rivers that surrounds the island of Manhattan that creeps through the state of New York.
Fulbright scholars learning how the Sloop’s crew navigates along the Hudson River
To begin the day on the water, scholars and their families were taken to the old capitol of New York, Kingston. This city was once a transportation hub for railways and ships. The group then had a three-hour long sailing experience with local non-profit, Clearwater, an organization that influences environmental policy and heightens awareness about ecological issues. The Fulbright crew learned about the river’s relationship to New York City, its role in supporting local ecosystems, and the environmental issues it faces. They also had the chance to drop a fishing net into the water, man the sails, and navigate the Hudson. Beyond the beauty of the Hudson Valley, Fulbrighters also saw an American Eel!
Fulbright scholars helping to raise the sails of the Clearwater
After getting back their land-legs, the group took a stroll on the longest pedestrian bridge in the world, known as the Walkway Over the Hudson. The participants were astounded at how beautiful their ecosystem was, especially considering that the big city was only a few miles away. With a landscape that gorgeous, who wouldn’t want to preserve its wonder?
The Fulbright group on Walkway Over The Hudson
Dutch scholar Mathijs Van de Sande, Irish scholar Ailbhe Kenny and her husband Richard getting their bearings