Poughkeepsie: The Houses of FDR and the Vanderbilt’s

The Northeast isn’t known for its mountain and beaches like the west nor is it known for its great plain like the Midwest. Instead, it’s known for its quaint historical towns littered with historical estates that rivals that of the chateaus of Loire Valley in France. Having grown up in New England most of my life and then moving to New York for college and eventually staying for my career, I’ve seen and done my fair share of tourism and historical walks. You cannot visit Massachusetts without doing the Freedom Trail, remnants of the American Revolution. Likewise, you also cannot visit the Hudson Valley without visiting the buccaneers’ home from the Industrial Revolution.

As my boyfriend has entered this marathon-obsession, he drags me to the Mohonk Preserve where he will run/walk, huff and puff for 50 miles. Meanwhile, I decided to take a tour of the area since I finally had access to a car to drive myself and my dog. Did you know that the Hudson Valley is extremely dog-friendly?

After dropping my boyfriend off at the start line at 5AM in Mohonk of the western side of the Hudson River, I drove back to Poughkeepsie where I passed out until it was time to have brunch. Recently, I don’t do much research before traveling that I blindly depended on my smartphone to pick places for me. After scouring a few locations of Foursquare, I picked Babycakes where I met up with my roommate and her boyfriend, who decided to join my excursion out of the city line.

Brunch was a simple but wonderfully fluffy egg white omelette. Who knew egg whites could be so fluffy?
Getting ready for a day out in Poughkeepsie

After this rather expensive brunch (it did have outside seating so I could have the meal with my dog by me), we hopped in and drove to our first adventure.

Right off Poughkeepsie, there are signs everywhere leading towards FDR’s home. If you stick to Route 9 going north, you’ll see signs that lead you straight into the Hudson Valley, akin to the Loire Valley. Locust Drive, Eleanor Roosevelt’s home, FDR, the Vanderbilts, and many of the farms are still there to visit.

Our first stop was FDR’s home. The main center is dog friendly so feel free to take your dog and check out photos of the area.
FDR Center

The surrounding estate is free range for dogs! My dog and I wandered off the path towards Roosevelt’s Trail where we followed the sound of trickling water and finally leading to an ice cold man-made waterfall. How quaint! In the far distant at the bottom of the hill, you could see a family of deers roaming as well.
Rambling through Roosevelt Trails

We had booked a tour time so I headed up the short hill to join the rest of the group. Did you know that the sweet maple tree that lined the main entrance (no longer used) are over 200 years old? They lead to the main house, which dogs weren’t allowed so I settled outside sketching and tanning.
FDR Estate

From the side of the house, you’ll see that you’re on top of a hill, overlooking the Hudson Valley. What I would do to have spent winter here sledding down the hill!
FDR Home

On the other side, you’ll pass the Rose Garden where FDR’s grave sits in the center. As it was perfectly warm weather, beautiful colored flowers sat around the edges. Like life, these beauty fade each year and eventually, when it’s spring again, they bloom again.
FDR Grave and Rose Garden

After our tour of FDR, we drove a short 11 minute away to the home of the Vanderbilt. If you drive in, there’s this beautiful stone archway that envelops you, leading you down a small hill to the tiny stone bridge. I felt like I was in a movie set!

People were having picnics, walking their dogs, walking around aimlessly, it was a beautiful hot day just to do that. We parked and walked towards the house to see once again, like FDR’s home, the Vanderbilt’s home sat on the edge of a hill overlooking the Hudson River. On the other side, you could see other estates looking down on the river like lords of the land. The house is not as beautiful or majestic as the summer cottages in Newport, RI, but indeed, it towered over the hilltop like an ominous master.
Vanderbilt's Home

Like any buccaneer, they longed to show off their richness by not just house and estate, they brought back quaint European gardens. This was the first time, I’ve seen a replication of an Italian garden, lined with red bricks and little herbs and flowers.
Vanderbilt's Italian Garden

I was spent by the end of the afternoon, heat and sun beating on me. I went back to pick up my boyfriend 13 hours after I dropped him off. Like my dog, he, too, was exhausted and sunned out. For one day, I did a lot. I look forward to visiting more houses in the Hudson Valley.
Pooped out from a day of fun