A Plum of a Place

Najiyah is a freshman at Newburgh Free Academy where her English Language Arts teacher is Virginia McCurdy. She is one of three top-scoring high school students in this year’s Writing about Place.

You also may enjoy middle school writing about Black Rock ForestKnox’s Headquarters State Historic Site, and Bull Pond; elementary school students’ poems; and an essay about Mount Beacon by another ninth grader. Check back for more student writing coming soon.

Plum Point is a place where people can relax and enjoy the view of the Hudson River and the mountains behind it. It is also a place to fish in the river that glitters like a thousand diamonds. I can see boats passing by, and their reflections on the water. I can listen to the soft, gentle, serene waves as I read a book on the nearby benches. At Plum Point, I have many memories.

My mother and I once found a turtle on the side of the road near Newburgh. We took it home and kept it in a bin filled with water and rocks for two days. I soon realized that we shouldn’t have kept it in captivity. The turtle seemed stressed. It wasn’t moving and it wasn’t eating, so my mother and I took it to Plum Point to let it go. We put the turtle in a crate and walked it to the water’s edge where we released it. That was the first time I’ve ever seen a turtle move so fast. It ran/crawled under the waves and it was gone.

Plum Point is also where I went walking on the trail with my cousin, Ishmael, and my little sisters, Ramani and Dezire. The trail was surrounded by trees. A lot of them. They were mostly green and tall. Some were laying on their sides. The trail is made of dirt, and dirt leads to a lot of bugs. As I walked further along the trail, there were train tracks under the cliffs. I could also hear the faint sound of birds singing and insects making noises. I could also hear the sound of dirt and pebbles under my feet crunching with every step I took and the occasional scream of my little sisters who saw spiders walking along the ground.

When I lived in Florida, I went to the beach almost everyday. My favorite part was the ocean. At Plum Point, I could do some of the things I did when I went to the beach in Florida. However, the beach of Plum Point is different. At Plum Point, the sand is brown and there are rocks scattered everywhere. In Florida, the sand is white. There were seashells near the shoreline.

Building a throne made of rocks along the beach of Plum Point is another memory I share with my sisters. We began near the shoreline. We used a huge rock that was already embedded in the sand as our starting point. We took medium-sized rocks and layered them on top of each other. Then we used smaller rocks to fill up the spaces so the whole structure couldn’t collapse. After we finished, we attempted to build a moat around the throne, but we failed.

Plum Point is really important to me. The beach and the river serve as a substitute for the beach and the ocean I left behind in Florida. The trail brings something new to the picture. This setting is a place where people can get away from the responsibilities of life and it’s also a great place to bring family and friends to create your own memories with them.

Kowawese Unique Area at Plum Point is a 102-acre park in New Windsor. It is owned by New York State and managed by the Orange County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation. This park is great for family recreation, including boating, fishing, and hiking and features historic Revolutionary War cannon batteries and dramatic views of the Hudson River gorge. An interpretive center with a deck and great views  is available to rent for gatherings under 50.

Photos Painted turtle courtesy of NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation.
Kowawese Unique Area at Plum Point by Steve Stanne, Hudson River Estuary Program, NYS DEC, 2010.