We recently traveled to upstate New York along the Hudson River which is beautiful this time of year. Far away from the traffic of New York City the Catskills burst with the reds, yellows, oranges and coppers of the season. It made for a scenic drive and if you are a history buff you will enjoy touring the marvelous sites in the Hudson River Valley, all in close proximity.
Bridge over Hudson River
Hyde Park, New York is the birthplace of our 32nd president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt who led our country out of the depths of the Great Depression and during WWII. His childhood home Springwood, the FDR Presidential Library and his gravesite are situated at one location. Unlike contemporary presidential libraries which are grand and modern, the FDR Library is a modest stone building which opened in 1941. It is the only presidential library built and occupied by a sitting President. FDR had an office there which he utilized during his hometown visits.
FDR Presidential Library
Springwood - Home of Sara Delano Roosevelt, FDR & Eleanor Roosevelt
Val-Kill is the home of Eleanor Roosevelt, our most famous first lady. During their marriage Eleanor and Franklin lived with his mother, Sara Delano Roosevelt. Can you imagine? Eleanor resided at Val-Kill when Franklin was in Washington DC and it became her permanent residence after his death. This charming home on a creek is where she and Franklin often entertained, picnicked, went swimming and discussed what else … politics.
Val-Kill - Home of Eleanor Roosevelt
Stone Cottage at Val-Kill
Top Cottage, situated atop a hill in the woods was a peaceful getaway for Franklin. It is the site of the famous hot dog picnic attended by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (a/k/a Queen Mother) of England in 1939. FDR met with other dignitaries there too on the stone patio, including Winston Churchill.
If you enjoy seeing how the top one percent lived during the gilded age, then the Vanderbilt Manson is a must-see. This country cottage is just one of several ornate homes built by the famous Vanderbilt Family. The property extends for hundreds of acres along the banks of the Hudson River.
My favorite was the Wilderstein Mansion, a Victorian mansion overlooking the Hudson River. It was the home of Margaret ‘Daisy’ Suckley, a distant cousin, companion and confidante of Franklin Roosevelt, who resided there until her death at age 99. FDR’s famous dog, Fala was a gift from Daisy and she was with the President when he passed away in April 1945 in Warm Springs, Georgia.
After you have fulfilled your historical cravings, I suggest a visit to the Culinary Institute of America, the elite academy for future chefs situated on a beautiful campus. Tours provide a first-hand look at culinary classes that whet your appetite, so be sure to book a reservation at one of the three restaurants on campus where dinner is beautifully prepared and served by CIA students.
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