Last Friday the Mister and I hit the road, after the allergy test from hell, for the Hudson Valley and Hyde Park. It was my birthday weekend and I wanted to see the home of FDR and the Presidential Library and Museum dammit! Yes, I am a history nerd. In fact I have a BA in History to prove it. Plus the last time I was in Hyde Park I was maybe 10 and we’d missed visiting said sites by an hour. So it was time to return.
We stayed at a lovely B and B called The 1832 Hyde Park Bed and Breakfast. We also met the hosts amazing dog Ranger.
Our first night in town we headed up to Rhinebeck, NY which is one of those fancy pants towns in the Hudson Valley full of health centered folks and artist types. Which is fine. But also means pricey when you are looking to get good eats. We did find a place called Arielle’s and they had one of those prix fix menus…which was good because man we couldn’t have eaten there otherwise! We crashed early that night as I had a full day planned for Saturday!
Miracle of miracles the mister got up and out of bed before 11am on a Saturday. In fact we were in the car and on our way by 9:10am! I was very impressed to say the least. In fact we were so good we managed to catch the 9:30a tour of Springwood (FDR’s childhood home).
We had a lovely tour of the house by one of the volunteers. Which in all honesty might have been better if the tour was given by one of the park’s rangers. But it wasn’t and we lived.
Eleanor actually had the room next to his that connected by a door. Apparently she stopped sharing a bedroom with him after he contracted Polio. Yeah I’m actually thinking it was because she knew he couldn’t keep it in his pants (yes I went there)! But she did stay will him to the very end so good on her. I wouldn’t have, but apparently that’s “what was done” back then.
We also took a turn through the stable, garden, and then headed to the Presidential Library and Museum. The first ever Presidential library to be exact. FDR had high hopes to return here after his second term to write his memoirs and to perhaps live at Top Cottage (a house he built to “get away from it all”) which was a few miles from Springwood. But we all know that didn’t happen as he died while in office. But the library was pretty cool. There was a lot of information from his days as prior to becoming President and of course EVERYTHING he did as President. I have to say it certainly was impressive! Imagine a President who actually does what he says he’ll do? I can’t imagine such a thing.
By the time we left the library it was near 2pm and we were HUNGRY. Thankfully we were smart and bought lunch fixings the night before. So we drove over to the Vanderbilt Mansion and ate our sammiches and purchased our tickets for the tour. I had been on this tour years ago and remember it being much longer and you also were able to walk into the rooms a bit more…but apparently that is no longer the case. Of the two tours this was the lamest.
We headed on back to the B and B to relax a little before dinner and then headed out for some of the best Indian Food I have ever had.
After dinner it was time to pass out early again. All that fresh air will do that to you! The following morning we packed up and headed out to one more stop…Val-Kill Cottage. This was Eleanor’s “get away from it all” aka her mother-in-law place to go. It was located 2 miles away from Springwood, and a mile hike from Top Cottage. We managed to make the 10am tour and this time we had one of the rangers showing us around and I feel I got far more out of it.
We were able to see where the former First Lady stayed during and after her years in the White House as well as learn a bit about some of the famous folks who came to visit her here. Including JFK when he was looking for her endorsement for President. Which he eventually got after making some promises relating to Civil Rights, which Eleanor held very near and dear to her heart.
I know it wasn’t something my husband wanted to do, but I’m glad we went. I’d love to go back and spend a little more time at the Presidential Library some time. I’m sure we will. But maybe we’d make it a day trip this time around.
If you’d like to see more pictures from the trip visit the Facebook page and take a look at the pictures there. If you’d like to give the page a “like” while there well, that would be mighty kind of you too.