Sunday, August 31, 2014

FDR's Life At Hyde Park

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd President of the U.S. was born here in Springwood Estates, Hyde Park in 1882.  Being an only child, he was pretty spoiled by his doting mother Sara.  He never really owned this home, as when his father died, he was too young to inherit it, so it was left in his mothers name, never to be officially his.  The home and his Presidential Library are right down the street from where we are parked.  Yup ... we're hobnobbing with the rich and famous!!
This part of New York isn't quite like that however.  We are actually out in the country where it's quiet except for the crickets.  This is more like mountain country than glitz and glamour!!  

The grounds are part National Park and part Presidential Library with CIA or FBI ... whatever they are guarding the place.  Entry is $6.00 if you have a National Park Pass.
While not full of gold chandeliers, the entire house was definitely NOT male oriented.  There was a lot of pink and many floral drapes and wallpaper.  FDR was born in the bedroom upstairs and grew up here.  After his father passed away, he lived in this home with his bride when he married Anna Eleanor, who was annoyed by the frequent and long visits of his mother.  
This is probably the fanciest room, with a piano and flowery drapery treatments, along with pictures everywhere.  FDR's love of ships shows in his collection of pictures hung on the entry walls.  In fact, every wall was covered with pictures!!
The dining table expands to seat 20 and Eleanor entertained her friends and close associates here.  We were not allowed to enter the servants quarters or the kitchen area.  
This was Franklin's bedroom where he stayed with his Scotty dog Fala.  Having been caught in 1918 in an affair with Eleanor's social secretary, they began to live separate lives.  His mother threatened to cut off his money supply if he filed for divorce due to the scandal, so they remained married.  In 1921 he contracted polio which paralyzed him from the waist down.  An elevator was installed in the house to allow him access to the second floor as well as handicap access ramps.
Franklin especially loved his bedroom because of the view he had of the Hudson River, running along the back of the estate.  Trouble is the trees have grown so tall that it can't be seen even from the second floor.  We're definitely in the country!!
This was Eleanor's room.  Very small (mom got the big bedroom) and slightly appointed, she said she never felt comfortable here, whether because of her mother-in-law or the affair.  She finally built her own house Val-Kill across the valley.
This is the guest bedroom where the Queen of England stayed when they visited the U.S.
Franklin died in 1945 and was buried here in the garden, along with Eleanor who passed in 1962.  She was known worldwide for her women's rights issues and efforts to eradicate racial prejudice.
Some of the flowers in her garden were bigger than I've ever seen, along with some amazing varieties!!  Also in the above image you can see the greenhouse and the top of the horse stables.  There's just not room enough here for all the pictures!!
Franklin's father loved horses.  This is a picture of some of the ribbons his horses won from 1929 through the 30's.  
Next to the house is a huge Visitor's Center and the first Presidential Library.  Wear comfortable shoes ... it's MUCH bigger than it looks.  By half way through, I was looking for a place to sit down!!
Outside is a beautiful bronze of FDR and Eleanor.  
Inside you will find more information than you can process about the depression and how he brought the country out of it with his Public Works Programs.  He served as President for almost four terms.  This is his office in the Library where he held many fireside talks and conferences.  Although he used the modified wheelchair in this pictures, there are only about 4 images of him sitting in it.  He chose to wear braces and use a cane to get around.  Most people didn't know he could not walk.
Many of the rooms are filled with advertising pins and posters since he ran for four terms!!

Your tour begins with the depression where 25% of the population was unemployed.  Among other things, he dealt with the dust bowl by planting millions of trees across the U.S. from Texas to Canada to help block the winds from eroding the soil.  
If you walk the grounds, stay on the pathways if you want to keep your shoes clean.  These visiting beauties were everywhere ... this one trying to get a bite from this apple on the ground.  
The President's neighbor was Thomas and Sara Newbold whose cousin Beatrix Ferrand was a world renown garden designer.  This is the oldest remaining garden which you can visit.  The house is being used as the National Park Headquarters.  There was a geocache here that we picked up.  Really, geocaches are everywhere!!!
Dinner was at the Eveready Diner ... amazingly good food at a good price!!
You can tell by the smiles all around ... Barbara and her vanilla soda with ice cream they stick on the side so you get more soda ....
And Tom with his huge root beer float!!  
Since it's nearly impossible to see the Hudson River from the road because of the lush growth of trees and shrubs, we drove to a small park, squeezed through a concrete train underpass and just parked on the lawn, since every single space was marked Handicapped.  It's a County Park with a huge building where you can sit in chairs on the porch and watch the river go by ... uphill.  It's another one of those anomalies.  In the far far distance is the Poughkeepsie bridge.  Between here and there is the Culinary Institute of America.
As you can see, the cloud cover was coming in pretty good.  Storms are expected the next two days.
I didn't see these two catch anything, but I did see a HUGE fish jump out in the water.  I suspect they will have fish dinner tonight!!
There's plenty to see here in Hyde Park, but with a storm coming in, we might just call it and stay in the rigs ... or we might go see the REAL rich and famous ... the Vanderbilts!!

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