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NFT: West Point

Pork Chop : 7/6/2020 12:30 pm
I'm dropping my son next Monday for his first year at West Point. He's transferring from the University of Washington where he was in a frat, so it's going to be a dramatic adjustment to his sleep and drinking schedule.

There's a two week delay in the first summer basic training due to the virus. All new cadets will be tested day 1, and they are planning in-person classes starting in the Fall on schedule. If there's anywhere that can control campus and students, it's West Point.

Does anyone have experience (especially as a parent) with West Point? I know he won't have off-base privileges for a while, but I think there are times when we can go and see him. He has a few days at Thanksgiving and two weeks over Christmas.

He's pumped about it, we couldn't be more proud of him. He's a big Giants fan, so hopefully there's going to be a weekend that we can go to an Army game and a Giants game when he can leave campus in the next few years.

God bless your son  
Sec 103 : 7/6/2020 12:41 pm : link
and best of luck in what is a trying and challenging program.
Thank your son for his service to this great nation.
Congratulations to your son.  
Dave in Hoboken : 7/6/2020 12:42 pm : link
I know I wouldn't be able to do that.
Bill L : 7/6/2020 12:42 pm : link
Since most class sizes historically have been very small, you're right in that they have a good handle on how to reduce density. And, for the first summer, while it's not quite a bubble, it's probably as close as one can get to being in one. Outside personnel (except maybe in the dining hall are limited. It's been a few years for us, but, the first summer after you drop him off, there is basically one 15 minute phone call after the first 3 weeks and then that's it until the "March Back" at the mid to end of August point (pre-COVID calendar). One that day, you can visit and spend most of the day but you are limited to staying either on grounds or in Highland Falls. There is another visit or two in the fall where you can spend a weekend with him, but you cannot go further than 90 miles away. Unfortunately, for us, Albany just exceeded that time period. Mostly, we spent the time at the Palisades Mall or at Woodbury Commons. I can't recall if he could stay overnight with us but I think he could not and we met up the next morning. Buffet (which there are none anymore) at the Thayer Hotel was customary for us.

If you are quasi-local, then my advice is to get season tickets to Army Football (although, I am not sure that's doable this year). Then you can see him every game; meet at the game (at half-time they can leave the cadet seating and go sit with you) and then tailgate until about dinner time when they have to return (can't leave the grounds).

Deservingly proud  
steve in ky : 7/6/2020 12:43 pm : link
I don’t have any firsthand experience other than years ago a friend of a friend went there and I remember them saying it was hard.

I’m sure he will do well, I wish him the best.
"time period"  
Bill L : 7/6/2020 12:43 pm : link
actually exceeds that distance. It's a 90 mile radiance from the Academy.
Absolutely American  
fuzzy : 7/6/2020 12:50 pm : link
A memoir published in 2004 is a good read about the 4 year experience at West Point. It profiles those who strived and those who struggled. I found it a good and enlightening read.
My brother graduated from West Point  
BigBlueDownTheShore : 7/6/2020 12:58 pm : link
And was chosen to do the exchange program with the Naval Academy for a a semester and took part in the prisoner exchange before the Army Navy game.

I wasn’t around when he went to school there (I was on the West Coast), but there are definitely a handful of days family is invited to attend certain events.
Sincere congratulations to you & the family.  
Spider56 : 7/6/2020 12:59 pm : link
Good luck and god bless. Ditto on the football games .. October Saturdays at Michie stadium are the best.
Thanks for the great responses  
Pork Chop : 7/6/2020 1:25 pm : link
We are really proud of him, and looking forward to spending time there. We are in Seattle, so it's going to be a few times a year at most. I can justify some work travel to Newark, so I might see him on extended stays. I'm planning on at least one football weekend a year and then something in the Spring.

Thank your son for me....  
rnargi : 7/6/2020 1:48 pm : link
I appreciate his decision and courage to defend our country. Bless him, and you must be very proud. Congrats!
Don't visit Newburgh  
Bob in VA : 7/6/2020 1:54 pm : link
I grew up there and know a number of West Point grads who would venture up there for the bars and whatever else. Strongly advise your kid that when he has the opportunity to leave campus with his buddies that there is no need to stop in Newburgh; Beacon or Poughkeepsie are better, especially for the bar scene.
ATL_Giants : 7/6/2020 2:14 pm : link
What a great school.
Won't be easy, but stick it through.
The best time to visit, IMV,  
SomeFan : 7/6/2020 2:31 pm : link
is during football season (assuming there is one). There are many nooks and crannies at WP where tailgating takes place before but mostly after games.

In the spring, visiting on Saturdays during parades is good too. BTW, cadets generally hate the parades.

During Beast Barracks and during the school week when classes start is not really a good time to visit of course and he would likely not be able to see you anyway unless the rules have changed.
I am not sure what leave is these days but  
SomeFan : 7/6/2020 2:36 pm : link
back in the day it was one or two weekends a semester for plebes. A "weekend" was from Saturday afternoon to Sunday at 1800. It may be different now and Covid may make them say - no leave.
my son graduated in 2015  
haper : 7/6/2020 2:54 pm : link
Congratulations, I'm sure you are very proud.

I have no idea what constraints have been put in place for covid, so pls read my post w that in mind. And I have information based on my son, I have no idea what might have changed since he graduated.

One thing to keep in mind is West Point is an active military base and must adhere to proper guidelines and threat assessments. I would go up at times and it was easy to get on base, other times the security was very strict but I was never turned away. Just make sure you bring a photo government-issued ID. The other thing to remember that while half the corps have not made their commitment to the military yet (that happens the first day of class their 3rd year) they live a military life. Things change quickly, they're not given much notice and rarely given the opportunity to ask questions why.

So as I said, you can visit whenever you want as long as your son is available. They have a lot of on their schedule, especially plebe year, but they're not on lockdown. For example, I was able to play golf on the military course on campus with my son a few times his plebe year. There are a lot more restrictions on the plebes, the most relevant to your question is a limitation on where they could go. In general, they are allowed into Highland Falls and a few other nearby places at certain times (weekends, etc). No offense to any BBI folks that live in Highland Falls, but good luck finding a good meal or anything interesting to do there. Plebes were allocated 1 pass per semester to really leave, usually started Friday night and ended Sunday night. The number would increase for each year to the point it was unlimited his senior year (again, assuming something else wasn't going on that required him to remain on base). Cadets can also earn additional passes, but I believe there is a limit. Also, cadets get a pass if they were to attend an away athletic event a West Point team was playing in. For example, if you live in Maryland and the Army lacrosse team was playing John Hopkins your son could get a pass for that weekend if he attended the game.

The recommendation to get football season tickets is a very good one, that's what we did and saw him often during the fall semester. My son played baseball, so we traveled up there for a ton of games during the Spring semester.

Thayer Hotel is on campus and offers a finer dining area but also a grill room where we often ate. My son also liked to eat at the Hacienda in Highland Falls and I'm pretty sure that is within the travel limits of plebes. He also liked to order delivery from a sandwich place called Schade's in Highland Falls, it might be nice to see if you could open an account for him (they didn't offer this in the past but maybe they do now).

I remember how lost I was trying to get info, so feel free to reply w any other questions.
Pork Chop  
Lines of Scrimmage : 7/6/2020 4:10 pm : link
Congrats to your family and son I hope the journey is great experience for all.

I will say receiving mail is really helpful especially during the summer.

Start planning now if you are going to attend a game or plan to visit in the fall semester but there is so much unknown right now. The reality is you may not see him till Christmas break since he may very well just go home with a more local classmate as Thanksgiving travel could be problematic. Until then get those pens ready.

Congratulations and good luck  
Matt M. : 7/6/2020 4:23 pm : link
You have a lot to be proud of.

I'm trying to get my son to consider USNA. Right now, it's a losing battle.
Military life is not for everyone.  
Giant John : 7/6/2020 4:47 pm : link
My congratulations and best wishes.
Congratulations...what a proud moment for you and your family!  
Tom in NY : 7/6/2020 7:30 pm : link
I grew up a few miles away from West Point.
As was mentioned earlier, the Thayer Hotel is the best place in Highland Falls. If you're willing to drive a short distance, there;s a local restaurant with multiple locations, Cosimo's, that I would highly recommend. There's one in Central Valley, and another in the Town of Newburgh (dramatically better than the city). I'd also recommend Schlesinger's Steak House in New Windsor (great cigar bar as well).
Bear Mountain State Park is a 10 minute drive down Rt. 9W from the Point...great to place to walk around. I would also suggest, if they have fans this year, attending a football game in early/mid October. The foliage is perfect at that time, and it is an amazing view.
I’m not sure if it’s the same but you can take the Ferry  
Bill L : 7/6/2020 7:44 pm : link
To Garrison and the country club there has a nice restaurant.

Which reminds me...when you drop him off on R Day, take the time to do some of the events. Buy a coat at the coat factory, take a Ferry ride up the Hudson, eat at the Officer’s Club...

If you’ve never been, and it sounds macabre, but tour the West Point cemetery. It’s an awesome, somber place with great history. The West Point museum just outside the Highland Falls gate is also worthwhile. And, even if you don’t eat or stay there, take a walk around the lobby of the Thayer Hotel.
Congratulations and  
Bleedin Blue : 7/6/2020 8:00 pm : link
Good Luck to your son!! Congratulations to you and your family, I’m sure you’re all very proud of him!!!
Congrats, you should indeed feel  
BlueLou'sBack : 7/7/2020 10:23 am : link
deservedly proud.
2021 Army Navy  
theold5j : 7/7/2020 9:37 pm : link
Is at the Meadowlands.
RE: my son graduated in 2015  
haper : 7/8/2020 9:08 am : link
In comment 14929365 haper said:
but they're not on lockdown.

One exception to this is Beast Barracks. In fact, it was the longest time we weren't able to contact my son while he was at the academy or active service.
You can track down a good meal  
JonC : 7/8/2020 9:45 am : link
at a few places in Cornwall, and in Cold Spring and Beacon across the Hudson River. Cold Spring is very walkable and gives you beautiful views of West Point, Storm King mountain, etc.

Depending on how much free time you have there's nature and hiking all around Bear Mountain, the Gunks are a short drive away, and there's hiking outside Cold Spring. Other than the museum, there's not much to do in Highland Falls.
Sept/Oct are the best time of year in the area  
JonC : 7/8/2020 9:48 am : link
a game at West Point, a drive and hike anywhere in the Hudson Valley are musts. From Tarrytown or Nyack all the way up to Hudson, NY there's tons to see and experience in the river towns and the mountains.
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