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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

New England Adventure-Days 9 & 10

I’ve decided I could become an Emily Dickinson and live out my life writing from this spot....

We requested breakfast at 8:00 along with another guest who had to be at his Spanish Immersion class by 9:00.  We enjoyed our conversation with him.  He was taking his family to Mexico to visit his ancestral homeland for three weeks at Christmas time and wanted to improve his rusty Spanish.  The day was going to be beautiful--so clear....

We had to cross the river to get to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt family home and Presidential Library/Museum in Hyde Park, NY.  We arrived about 9:40....

At 10:00 we saw an introductory film.  Then at 10:30 the National Park Service guide gave a witty and educational tour of Roosevelt’s family home followed by a self-guided tour of the museum.  Here is one of the rooms in the home....
....and Roosevelt's desk....

It was one of the most interesting historical tours I’ve ever been on.  Franklin’s and Eleanor’s lives crossed so many people’s lives—both famous and ordinary—and covered so many years of history I found myself reading just about every exhibit and watching every video there was.  Finally, we took a very late break for lunch at the café on the grounds and then posed for this picture with the President and Mrs. Roosevelt, which a kind, elderly gentleman offered to take for us:
You can read more about the FDR home HERE and about the Presidential Library and Museum HERE.

It was close to 3:00 by the time we got over to Val-Kill about a mile away, the house that Eleanor lived in after Franklin died.  Eleanor originally had it built in 1926 as a factory on the grounds of the Roosevelt estate to house furniture making and other crafts for the area farmers to work in during the off-season.  When it failed to be a profit-making venture by 1936, Eleanor converted it into a residence for herself to use when she needed to get away on her own from either the White House or her mother-in-law who still ran the estate house.  You can find out more about the Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill HERE.  

The next tour at Val-Kill was not to start until 4:00.  In the meantime, they suggested we walk over to Stone Cottage, the house where their son, John Franklin, lived with his family for a time....

Edna Gurewitsch, the author of "Kindred Souls: The Devoted Friendship of Eleanor Roosevelt and Dr. David Gurewitsch”, was to talk about the photography exhibit on display there by her late husband and about her friendship with Mrs. Roosevelt.  Mrs. Gurewitsch would also sign copies of her book later after the house tour.   However, the talk ran late and she was to be somewhere else so she and her party did not come back to the gift shop to sign the books. When the staff realized they would not be able to get her attention, I ran after her and had her sign my book in the parking lot--which is not like me at all, which shows how much I'd been taken by her presentation.  

The cottage was extremely cozy.  I can see why Eleanor chose to live there rather than in the big house....

Because Hyde Park is on the opposite side of the Hudson River from our B&B we decided to drive to the point across from the B&B and see if we could take pictures.  We managed to find a road that took us near the river where we got out of the car next to a Poughkeepsie recycling facility and because we didn’t see a no-trespassing sign we followed a path that led to a bridge across the train tracks (the passenger line ran along the east side of the river) and then down to the river.  The sun was very low in the sky causing a glare across the water so it was hard to see, even if we were in the right spot.   

Before we headed back across the bridge to the west side we went in search of a place to eat and settled on an Applebees.  We both had the new Bruschetta Burger which was quite tasty. 

I spent the rest of the evening reading the book I bought on Eleanor Roosevelt and David Gurewitsch’s friendship.

Day 10 – Monday, October 16, 2006

It was the day to head home.  We woke up to fog and no view of the river.  Our room was in the front over the porch in the center of this photo...

We had breakfast alone at 8:00—the other couple in the B&B were not to have their breakfast until 9:00.  Our hostess talked about her trips down Route 15 to visit her family in the Charlottesville, VA, area where they’d moved to some years ago after her father retired.  She’d lived in this house since 1964 when she was 22 and expecting her first child with her first husband.  She and her second husband started the B&B 10 years ago in order to afford to stay in the house.  She said they pay $10,000 a year in real estate and school taxes!  She told us about the family farm near Catskill, NY, that she rents out called Cauterskill Creek Farm.  I’d love to rent it for a week during the summer!

We were on the road by 9:00 and home by 2:30, having stopped in Harrisburg for lunch.  I read the "Kindred Souls" book on the entire trip.  Eleanor Roosevelt was a remarkable woman.

We arrived home to leaves covering the driveway....

....and Poetry, our Calico Cat, eager to see us.  We had a wonderful time, but it was good to be home.


  1. I have never been to New England and am dying to go. We just do not that is kind of history. Such beautiful building. You must be loving every minute. Clarice

  2. I hope you will get to go--especially in the Autumn when the leaves are so brightly colored!


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