Updated: Jul 23, 2019
One of my most visited destinations in Dutchess County is The Vanderbilt Estate in Hyde Park, NY. My aunt and uncle have lived in Poughkeepsie for the past 20 years and they first introduced it to me during my first year at Marist College. I’ve since been back so many times I’ve stopped keeping track!
Just to give you a little background on the history of the location. In 1940 President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared the prior estate of Frederick and Louise Vanderbilt a national historic site. He saw the potential that this location had to provide public enjoyment in nature while exploring what it was like to live as a millionaire during the gilded-age.
Here are some activities to try out if you decide to stop by sometime soon!
The Mansion: Central to the estate is the Vanderbilt’s mansion itself. This architectural masterpiece is still filled with original furnishings. Although the mansion is undergoing renovation right now, there are still tours available to see the inside.
The Gardens: Surrounding the mansion are landmarks to explore including the garden. This is no regular garden, this is luxurious garden complete with intricate statues, fountains and foliage. I highly recommend visiting this part of the estate in the spring when flowers are in bloom and the fountains are turned on.
The Trails: There are a number of unique paths you can take on this property all varying in their levels of challenge. These include wooded paths along the Hudson River as well as trails that pass by all of the historical buildings. From my experience, I’ve found that it's possible to do a number of trails in one visit. If you’re looking for a more leisurely walk I recommend sticking to the trails that pass by the mansion and gardens. However, if you’re up for something a bit more challenging, I would make your way to the paths through the woods and along The Hudson.
The Roosevelt Shuttle: The National Park Service has since claimed a collection of other sites along Route 9 The Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Sites. While The Vanderbilt Estate is my personal favorite destination, there are a number of other sites to explore nearby that are filled with just as much history. This shuttle can take you between The Vanderbilt Estate, Eleanor Roosevelt's National Historic Site, and FDR’s Top Cottage.