The Hudson Valley is known for incredible vistas from Breakneck Ridge in Cold Spring to the Rondout Lighthouse in Kingston. With so much to see, it isn’t easy to choose one location to explore. With a Hudson Valley Scenic Drive, you don’t have to narrow your choices. Here’s some stops to see to help get a taste of the beauty of New York’s Hudson Valley.
Thanks to our guest author, Erin Keane, for writing this post
Located on Route 9, otherwise known as Broadway in New York City, Hyde Park is just north of Poughkeepsie. Once you drive north of the City of Poughkeepsie, keep an eye out for sweeping views of the Hudson River. You’ll pass historic Marist College and The Culinary Institute of America campuses before arriving at your first location, the Vanderbilt Mansion.
The Vanderbilt Mansion Historical Site
New York has many historic homes to tour – the Hudson Valley is no exception. The 54 room Vanderbilt Mansion Historical Site was built in the Beaux-Arts architecture style in 1898 as a weekend and seasonal spot for Vanderbilt family members. It is a beautiful home that overlooks the Hudson River. The grounds include a lovely garden with statuary and fountains. There’s a wide stream that winds its way through the property and a long, shaded path on the Hudson River. Also, the fields are a perfect location for a picnic. And there’s a large area beside the river to watch ships and boats pass by.
Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site
Head south on Route 9 to continue your Hudson Valley scenic drive to your next stop – the home of the 32nd President of the United States of America, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Springwood is the main house and the birthplace of FDR. Purchased by his father in 1867, the estate is now a National Historic Site. The site includes the main home, FDR’s presidential library and museum (the first ever built) and Top Cottage, where the Roosevelts entertained foreign dignitaries.
The entire site covers 898 acres beside the Hudson River. The estate’s grounds, including the Rose Garden where Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt are buried, are free.
Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site
As FDR’s mother lived at and presided over Springwood, Eleanor found she needed her own place. So FDR gifted her the money to build Val-Kill. A small cottage, it’s where she spent time in a home that she could run as she liked. Now the Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site, the home on the Val-Kill property is a more intimate space than Springwood. It is located two miles from Springwood and is accessible by a leafy, rural trail or car.
Continue your Hudson Valley Scenic Drive and heading south on Route 9. A short drive brings you to the Culinary Institute of America.
The Culinary Institute of America
America’s first culinary college,The Culinary Institute of America opened in 1948. Initially based in Connecticut, a new campus opened on the banks of the Hudson in Hyde Park in 1970. Today, the culinary school offers sweeping views of the Hudson River and provides many dining opportunities. Focusing on local products and dishes inspired by the area, the American Bounty Restaurant offers dishes inspired by the area. The Bocuse Restaurant, named after chef Paul Bocuse, serves classic French cuisine. There are also other restaurants on-site including the Ristorante Caterina de’ Medici & Al Forno Trattoria and The Apple Pie Bakery Cafe. Walk the campus after your meal to help digest the delightful fare.
The Village of Wappinger Falls
Make a stop in the Village of Wappinger Falls to see cheerfully painted buildings from the 1800s. As you cross the bridge over the falls, you will see the Grinnell Library built in the Romanesque Revival style in 1902. It’s free and open to the public.
Mesier Homestead and Park
Just past the library is The Mesier Homestead. Founded in 1741, the homestead belonged to Peter Meiser, who owned a store and was a member of the Wappingers Tea Party of 1777. Mesier Park is a shady spot with a beautiful gazebo and park and the perfect place for a picnic. Also you can head down the hill for a varied selection of food choices.
Have you ever visited the Hudson Valley? What’s your favorite thing to do?