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April Vacation 2011: We Went Here

It may take me a few days to share all the places we went in New York last week so I hope you will stick with me through all these posts and photos. If I play it right I should be able to drag this out for a while . . .

Anyway, the whole reason I wanted to go to this part of New York was to visit Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s home in Hyde Park. I’ve driven by it every year going back and forth to Rhinebeck and last year I read Jean Edward Smith’s lengthy biography on FDR and that made me even more determined to visit his home. As an added bonus, last week was National Park Service Week and admission was free. We still had to pay to visit his library and museum because that is run by the National Archives but still, free admission to the mansion was a very nice surprise.

The place did not disappoint. The grounds are beautiful. And the mansion is mansion-y.

Our tour guide, a local college student doing an internship, was entertaining and did a great job explaining things about FDR and ER and their time in Hyde Park. I knew a lot of it already (did I mention the biography I read was long?) but it was a nice refresher on all things FDR.

President Roosevelt and Mrs. Roosevelt are buried on the grounds and the tomb is surrounded by a beautiful garden. I imagine it’s truly spectacular in the summer when the roses are in bloom.

The library is the only presidential library actually used by a sitting president. His office is still intact, there are lots of photos, and there are relics of his life.

Like this Silver Buffalo from the Boy Scouts of America. I don’t know much about this award but Dale was impressed and asked me to take a picture of it for his dad.

And Eleanor Roosevelt’s knitting needles. I had to take a picture and show you, of course. The card says that she knit a lot during meetings. Smart woman, that ER.

Aside from the mansion and the library, the grounds are lovely. The view behind the house to the Hudson River is spectacular and it’s easy to see why FDR loved spending time here.

As you can see, Dale enjoyed our visit, too.

I think FDR was a great president in a very difficult time in our country’s history. Truly, the more I learn about him (and I learned a lot because [did I say this already?] that book was long) the more I admire him.


This Post Has 19 Comments

  1. We have also driven by several times and I’d love to visit. If you are interested I have a copy of No Ordinary Time (about ER, FDR and the WWII home front) that I’d be happy to send your way. P.S. it is LONG.

  2. So glad you both had the chance to visit at your leisure and really take it in. Too crazy to even attempt Rhinebeck weekend.

  3. Sounds fascinating. Visiting the FDR Memorial in Washington, DC was one of the most moving experiences I’ve ever had. I’ll have to put the library on the list!

  4. Eleanor was such a fascinating woman. The books of her life are some of my favorite reads. She had a huge impact on history. Thank you for sharing pictures of their home.

  5. Is the bronze Eleanor knitting? Somewhere I saw photos of mittens she had made for her children. Have you read any of the mystery books by one of FDR’s and Eleanor’s sons? Eliot, maybe? Fascinating window into that time in D.C. and in the White House in particular — and scurrilous to exploit his mother that way. We read the books, nonetheless.

  6. Sounds like a day well spent 🙂 I find the Presidential homes fascinating, would love to visit FDR’s at some point!

  7. So glad that you got to go. I think that it’s one of my favorites among the presidential homes I’ve visited because it’s all pretty much as it was. I like that I’m seeing his (and her) actual stuff rather that replicas of the time. I bet that the rest of the places you went were equally wonderful and I may be able to guess a few.

  8. I was wondering the same thing about the bronze – is she knitting?
    Thank you for sharing her needles – they are beautiful, aren’t they? I’m so glad you had such a lovely visit!

  9. My husband and I visited FDR’s home in Hyde Park a couple of years ago, and we snagged a friendly tourist to take our picture with FDR and ER just as you took Dale’s. We THOROUGHLY enjoyed that visit. We are definitely history buffs, having met in college because we were both history majors. I found a link in Knitty to Eleanor’s mitten pattern if anyone is interested:

    Carole, did you eat at the Culinary Institute while you were there? We ended up only being able to go for a quick lunch, but it was delicious!

  10. Funny, I had the very same thought about the bronze Eleanor!! Great minds and all that. Very cool destination!

  11. So jealous! I’ve been itching to get inside that house ever since I realized I was passing by it to and from Rhinebeck.

    Love the statues in the garden.

  12. What a trip! I’d love to visit that area some day. How fortunate you are to be surrounded by so much history! I’m glad it fulfilled your expectations. Happy day, Carole!

  13. Instead of reading a *long* book about FDR, I got a copy of the episode of “The American Experience” about him on DVD from my library. There were many pictures of ER knitting in it, and I noticed in one that she was working on a top-down sweater on double-pointed needles. I am waiting for the rest of your posts—I hope you went to Susan B. Anthony’s home or saw something about Elizabeth Cady Stanton. (I’m having a menopausal moment and can’t remember the names of the little villages! Frustration!) Thanks for taking us on your trip wtih you—

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