A pristine look at the challenge of pleasure cruising on New York's Hudson River is presented from the view of Julian O. Davidson. An avid mariner as well as a fine artist, Davidson frequented Hudson locations, capturing some significant early looks at the less populous regions of New York. Iona Island is one such spot, and its beauty survives today as part of a protected ecological reserve and National Natural Landmark status. It is a known nesting location of American Bald Eagles.
In Davidson's time, the island, once connected by railroad, became an excursion destination, complete with docks, a hotel, picnic grounds and an amusement park. The hill area in view is known as Courtland Hill. While most of the island is marshy, the Snake Hole Creek is a fresh water source which rises from the center of the island to flow off the southwest. Two sharp schooners are maximizing the blustery day with efficiency off the shore, and a small excursion steam pleasure vessel is on approach to the island. A luminous glow carries softly in the sky with interesting diversity to the clouds. With the prevailing conditions, it's sure the sailors are giving full attention to their ships.
The island progressed into the hands of the United States Navy in 1900, and they established an ammo depot that was in use through World War II. It became part of the Palisades Park Commission in 1965. More than 25 species of birds also nest with the Bald Eagles amongst the 405 plant species, some in woods undisturbed for centuries.