When my mom agreed to spending a few days with me on the east coast, we selected a place of historical significance to explore. Having already conquered most of the city’s tourist hot spots and already traveled to D.C. and Boston, my mom came up with the idea of heading north to Poughkeepsie. Yes, you read that right (as you did in the title as well), good ‘ol Poughkeepsie.
It’s true that not many folks would choose to spend their Friday off in the quaint little town, but that we did. So, after bringing my mom along to the Friday November Project workout, we made our way to Grand Central and hopped on the Metro North – Hudson line. I may have overestimated how advanced other cities would be with their public transportation or even taxi system. Let’s just say I was a little sketched out by some of the vehicles and drivers. This was no New York City.
After briefly stopping by our hotel, we hailed a taxi to travel back up to Hyde Park. Back when I was planning this trip, I thought we could easily walk the three miles to Hyde Park. What I didn’t plan for was the fact that there were no walking paths (only a small highway) and the fact that it would be snowing on the first day of spring. (I blame the groundhog). In all honestly, it would have been better to have had a rental car so that we could actually drive to the three houses – Hyde Park, Eleanor’s Val-Kill, and the Vanderbilt Mansion, as well as around the outer lying areas. But, the smooth two hour train ride was relaxing and allowed us to read, nap (as if), and soak in the snowy sights along the Hudson.
>> Eleanor & Franklin D. Roosevelt at Hyde Park <<
Home to the Roosevelt family and more importantly, Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882–1945), 32nd President of the United States (1933–1945). While Val-Kill was the home of Eleanor Roosevelt, she spent a good 40 years living on the property with her husband and family.
Our tickets for the home weren’t scheduled Saturday morning, but with the bleak weather forecast, we decided to switch it around and take a Friday afternoon session instead. Fun fact: FDR actually created the presidential library while he was still in office. To some that may seem narcissistic, but it was a great way to keep all his mementos and legacy running.
Because we arrived a bit early, we had the chance to wander the museum and soak in the history of the four-term president. I could have spent hours in that place and think it was definitely worth more than the house itself.
It was quite the information-overload, but oh so interesting. They even had the same office where FDR did some of his famous fireside chats used to inform Americans of the progress of the country.
>> Hyde Park in all it’s snowy glory <<
While I won’t make this a history lesson, I did find FDR’s battle with Polio very intriguing. After he contracted it in 1921, he worked very hard to maintain a strong appearance. No pictures were to be taken of him looking frail or between wheelchair and podium. He even would take time to drag himself down and back along this driveway to prove to himself that he could still function on his own.
>> FDR’s living room where many meetings and family gatherings occurred <<
4097 Albany Post Road, Hyde Park, NY 12538
Located on Route 9 (90 miles north of NYC)
Cost: $18 joint ticket (FDR Home + Presidential Library)
Top Cottage – $10 Closed Nov. ’14 – May 2, ’15. Open Sunday, May 3, ’15 – Oct. ’15
Earlier I mentioned something about a hotel. Well, after finishing our tour of the museum and house, we decided against staying the night and headed back into the city. A much better plan as we weren’t left stranded by the weather and had a great deal more options for food and entertainment. Funny enough, it turned out to be a full-blown Roosevelt weekend. My mom had stopped by the birthplace of Teddy Roosevelt (located here), we worked out with NP at the Sarah D. Roosevelt Park (here at Houston and Chrystie), and visited the FDR Presidential Library.
So, if you don’t think you will ever make it north to Poughkeepsie, I hope you enjoyed this historical tid-bit 🙂