One of my favorite examples of European architecture is located right in Hyde Park, NY
It was built by William Frederick Vanderbilt in 1898 and is representative of the ‘Guilded Age’ Vanderbilt appropriately referred to the property as ‘Hyde Park’, but locals call it ‘The Vanderbilt’. Uh…and in case you can’t tell from the name or the glorious pictures….he was rich. His family was considered American royalty. It was the first house in Hyde Park to have electric, which was accomplished through hydropower. This 211 acre estate, now operated by the National Park Service, is located right on the picturesque Hudson River. On a clear day, you can see the ridge of the Catskill Mountains. You can make them out in the photo below…
Back in the day, the Mansion was only ‘lived in’ during Spring and Fall, and for a few Winter weekends. They had a staff of 60, mainly from local farm families, to run the house and manage the grounds. The Vanderbilts, spent the rest of their time in Newport, Rhode Island and New York City. They spent their money on sailing yachts, breeding horses and racing cars. In 1938, Vanderbilt’s niece, Margaret Van Alen, inherited the estate upon his death. In 1940 she donated it to the Federal Government and it has been open to the public ever since. Many families and couples come with blankets and picnic baskets to lay lazily on the lawns admiring the gorgeous views. Tourists come in busloads to tour the mansion, the grounds and the gardens. It is a place where locals go for walks on the trails and down by the river, alone or with their dogs. To me, this is a wonderful local place to spend an afternoon, but I am always surprised as we walk the grounds, how many tourists we pass, speaking to each other in foreign languages. It is fun for us to guess where they are from. China, France, Russia, Italy, New York City…(it is a different language). This visit, I will focus on the details of the Mansion and the view from the back of the house along the river. There is so much more here, including the Italian Gardens, that we will save for another visit. In the summer, free concerts on Wednesday nights are held on the lawn.
You can see how massive the house is…look at how tiny the people look in the photo on the right! The Mansion is made of Limestone, but I think it is time for a cleaning….
The round portico on the back is stunning! Imagine standing on the balcony as soon as you wake up in the morning. It looks out over the Hudson River…those views are amazing! I hope Jeeves remembers that I take my breakfast on the balcony!
I really love the small details that remind me of Europe…
The wrought iron banister….
The ornate iron lamp sconce…
The plant stand on the portico…..
And a close up of the details on a planter….I love the cherub and the handle…This particular visit, we brought Madison, who always has a great time when she goes. You can tell because she looks so happy when we are running around…after the squirrels!
She also enjoys chasing the squirrels. She is a very good hunter. In fact, she treed this poor squirrel, who had no where to go but up! As far as she was concerned, she accomplished what she set out to do. I am quite sure the squirrels don’t look forward to her visits! Can you spot him?
Grounds are open daily from 9am to dusk, admission is free. Mansion is open daily from 9am-5pm. Admission $8 adults, age 15 and under,free. For more information, visit the National Park Service or HVNet. For detailed directions, click here. Vanderbilt Mansion 519 Albany Post RoadHyde Park, NY 12538845.229.9115 map it