Lest you think that our Dutchess County weekend was all about the sheep and the wool, I provide photographic evidence to the contrary! Mom and I were able to squeeze in some culture amidst all the shopping, in the form of a visit to FDR’s boyhood home/adult home/resting place at Hyde Park.
We were very lucky to even get onto the grounds to take the tour, as the National Park Service had only reopened the home from its furlough two days before. Below, a litany of my favorite pictures from our brief time there, if you’re up for a lot of scrolling – but what an incredible experience. I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves history, politics, architecture, or all of the above!
It was a perfect morning for a tour of the grounds where FDR was born and raised, where he retreated as an adult during his Presidencies, and where he was buried.
FDR’s Presidential Library (the only one opened by a sitting President) has been recently reopened. I love the Dutch colonial influence in the local stonework and also how the roofing echoes the tones in the masonry.
A new and unique installation behind the library, designed by Winston Churchill’s granddaughter. It was made using old fragments of the Berlin wall to represent people breaking free from the decades of oppression associated with WWII and Communism.
The main home – not too shabby, eh? Again with the Dutch colonial influence, and intentionally much more “homey” than the Vanderbilt mansion up the road.
The palms indicate wealth, which the Roosevelts surely had. Also, I just liked the juxtaposition of autumn-colored ivy against a plant associated with the tropics!
Not to belabor the comparisons with the nearby Vanderbilt mansion, but the home at Hyde Park had much smaller dimensions, more in keeping with its role as a real family estate. In general and by comparison, the rooms on the main floor of Hyde Park were darker and filled to the brim with mementos, knick knacks, and furniture.
The main library wing. I wish you could have seen the parquet floors!
Presidents like board games, too!
I’m a moth to a flame for beautifully set tables. As the placard indicated, FDR’s chair was always askew relative to the table to ease his transition to/from his wheelchair.
The main staircase featured such a beautiful banister; the woodwork throughout the home, while on the heavy/dark side, really lent an air of richness.
Yes, I would like this oven/stove! That is all.
And this butler’s pantry!
FDR’s boyhood room, which each of his sons used in succession as they became the eldest boy at home.
FDR and Eleanor’s original bedroom. Chintz wallpaper explosion! Seriously, though, I liked the bed furniture, which the placard in the room said had been made by Val-Kill Industries, run by Eleanor and her friends.
FDR’s adult bedroom. It was very interesting to reflect on the fact that FDR experienced all of the major stages of his life in this home, each of which could be said to be represented by another room down the same hallway.
The bat phone, next to FDR’s bed. Seriously – it was a phone with a direct line to the White House.
Eleanor’s bedroom. Two things immediately struck me: the simplicity/plainness of the furnishings, and also the fact that this room was sandwiched between FDR’s bedroom and his mother’s bedroom. Very telling.
More locally-sourced stonework. Swoooooon!
The view from the back porch. Neither it nor the weather that morning could have been more gorgeous.
I believe those were the stables in the background.
Some of the plantings in the Rose Garden begun by FDR’s mother, Sarah.
The joint tombstone marking the burial place of both FDR and Eleanor in the Rose Garden.
The original driveway to the home, which was just beautiful with the wind moving through the trees.
And with that, I’m on the road again for another vacation! Lucky me, and Happy early Halloween everyone!