My husband and I recently visited the Poughkeepsie area, located north
of New York City. We found many fascinating attractions in and around
this Dutchess County city.
If you visit the area, here are some don’t miss attractions:
1. The home of Frederick Vanderbilt.
Located on the Hudson River in Hyde Park, this grand mansion sits on a
600-acre estate. Vanderbilt, from one of the richest families of the time, spared no expense on the mansions and grounds. Even though the family spent only a few weeks per year there, close to 60 servants were required to keep it running year-round. The house is spectacular and resplendent, as befitting a multi-millionaire (check out the Gold Room).
I also enjoyed the romantic story of Frederick’s love for his wife Louise - he married her despite his family’s objections and they remained deeply in love until her death at 82. For more info, see: Vanderbilt Mansion.
Below: The Vanderbilt Mansion
2. The estate of Eleanor and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Travel back in time to the home of our 32nd president, also located
in Hyde Park. At the Henry A. Wallace Visitor and Education
Center, we watched an informative orientation video, and then we toured
the Presidential Library and Museum, which had several exhibits,
including a gallery devoted to the beloved Eleanor. We also enjoyed
touring the Roosevelt home, Springwood.
See FDR for fees and info.
3. Locust Grove
Locust Grove is the former home of Samuel Morse, inventor of the
telegraph and the Morse Code. (I didn’t realize it, but Morse was also
an accomplished painter. Some of his work is exhibited in the Visitor’s
Morse purchased the property in 1847 and lived there until his death
in 1872. In 1901, the Young family bought Locust Grove and in 1975,
daughter Annette Innis Young set up a private foundation to preserve
the family’s estate and possessions, including furniture, paintings and
papers. Although there I wish that there had been more of Morse’s
possessions in the home, the well-preserved house and furnishings give
visitors a unique look into life in the last century.
This 150-acre site also offers handsome gardens, over three miles of
walking trails, and a small lake. There’s no fee to visit the grounds, and free self-guided tour guides are available at the visitor’s center. For fees to tour the house, visit:
At the 300,000 square-foot faculty Dia:Beacon, Riggio Galleries, the
work of modern artists like Andy Warhol are on display. The gallery’s
offerings are surprising and eclectic, such as sculptures made of car
parts and a piece made from colored lights. My favorite was “One
Hundred Fish” by Bruce Nauman – made up of 100 bronze fish spilling
water into a fountain.
5. The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Gallery
At the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Gallery, on the Vasar College Campus,
we found a wide range of art. Our enthusiastic guides, Courtney and
Robin, were students at Vasar. They showed us art from ancient Egypt
and through 20th Century art. Their passion for art was obvious, and they
were especially proud of the Teaching Gallery, where professors from
the college could request certain pieces to be displayed for their
class study. At the time of our visit, an exhibit by Japanese woodblock print artist Yoshu Chikanobu was featured. Although this exhibit has now moved on, try to see it if you find it elsewhere. The vivid colors and depictions of historic Japanese scenes are captivating.
For hours and more info see: Gallery. Admission is free.
For more information on the area, visit Dutchess County.
All photos Copyright 2007 Brenda Potter Reynolds. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.