Past PerfectKelly Seiz | June 3, 2015 | Comment
The Hudson Valley is rich with history, having played an important role in the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. From our national landmarks to our independent museums, every town has a story to tell. Some of the more notable historic centers include the lifelong home of Franklin D. Roosevelt in Hyde Park, site of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum, where guided and self-guided tours lead you through 300 acres of grounds, gardens, and trails rife with presidential history. Appropriately close to her husband’s residence, Eleanor Roosevelt’s Val-Kill Cottage is the only national historic site dedicated to a first lady. The 90-minute tour includes an introductory film preceding a showing of the permanent exhibit, “Eleanor Roosevelt and Val-Kill: Emergence of a Political Leader.”
The Hudson Valley is home to other presidential histories as well, including Washington’s Headquarters, which doubles as the nation’s first publicly owned historic site. Guided tours are available of the home where General Washington denied the possibility that he reign as king following the war and circulated a letter that strongly influenced the writing of the Constitution. From the political to the architectural, Hudson Valley history involves a vast array of subjects. The Fred J. Johnston Museum in Kingston is the 1812 home and showroom of the 20th-century antiquarian and preservationist. The Federal-style house is artfully furnished with the late figure’s personal antique collection, including furniture, glassware, pottery, needlework, and artwork. The legendary, ornate Rockefeller estate, Kykuit, is located on a hilltop in Sleepy Hollow, having been meticulously preserved for more than a century.
Several tour options are available, from the “Classic Tour” that covers the basics to the “Grand Tour” that exhaustively covers the details. To take a closer look at our central body of water, the Hudson Valley’s namesake, check out the Hudson River Maritime Museum in Kingston. Discover the grand steamboats, tug boats, and ice boats on a group tour, or attend one of the events hosted by their Follow the River Lecture and Film Series. For a kid-friendly experience, try the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum in Poughkeepsie. Exhibits focus on nature, science, literature, art, music, and the surrounding community, with a new immersive play space, an aptly-named Imagination Playground, and an exact replica of an Ice Age Mastodon found only three miles away from the museum.