For a rewarding day or weekend trip that won't strain your budget (but will enrich you in many ways) take a trip to New York's Dutchess County, about two hours by car from Long Island.
Located in our state's beautiful Hudson Valley, Dutchess County has much to recommend it, whether you're interested in art, scenery, history, sporting activities, or gastronomic delights.
Some of the attractions not to miss on a trip to Dutchess County include:
The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum - Located off Route 9 in Hyde Park, the Roosevelt family home, with its new Wallace Visitors' Center, is a national treasure that should inspire all Americans. A film at the center depicts the life of FDR and his wife Eleanor, and a house tour guided by a National Parks ranger gives glimpses into the daily life of our thirty-second president. In addition to the tour of the house where FDR and Eleanor lived, there are separate tours to Top Cottage, which the president used as a retreat, and Val-Kill, where Eleanor lived after his death. The tour will also make you appreciate of the courage and determination of FDR in overcoming disability. The basic tour of the main house and library is $14 for adults. Children 15 and under are free. For further information call (800) FDR-VISIT, or go to www.nps.gov/hofr.
Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site - Just a little ways up Route 9 from the FDR residence is the home of Frederick and Louise Vanderbilt, a fabulous "summer home" for the owner of the New York central Railroad and his wife during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The only mansion from the "Gilded Age" that is run by the National Parks Service, this fabulous home was once on the selling block during the Great Depression for about $200,000! The tour, also by a park ranger, costs $8 for adults, free for children 15 and under. Admission to the grounds, with a spectacular view of the Hudson, is free, as are the stunning Italian gardens. For further information, call (845) 229-9115, or log on to www.nps.gov/vama.
The Culinary Institute of America - Also located on Route 9, south of the FDR complex, is the country's premier educational institution devoted to the food industry. Its lovely riverside campus serves over 2,000 students preparing for careers as chefs, bakers, caterers and restaurant managers. The school has public tours ($5 per person) that allow you to see students learning how to create masterpieces in their kitchen classrooms, and there are five restaurants open to the public, from a casual caf to gourmet Italian and French restaurants. The Escoffier Restaurant, open for dinner only, features outstanding French dishes and unusually attentive service. Reservations are necessary. Call (845) 471-6608, or go online at www.ciachef.edu.
In addition to the attractions above, which can be seen in one day, there are numerous other historic and scenic sites and outdoor activities that would make you want to stretch your visit. Options include hiking in state parks, cycling, horseback riding, fishing and boating. You could also visit a winery, or go apple picking in the fall.
If you decide to stay over, a comfortable and convenient choice would be the Inn at the Falls, a bed and breakfast inn located in Poughkeepsie, minutes away from Route 9. The inn has beautiful grounds, large rooms, and a hospitable staff. For information, call (800) 344-1456, or go to www.innatthefalls.com.
For further information on your "royal" visit to Dutchess County, call (800) 445-3131, or contact them online at www.dutchesstourism.com. Enjoy!