Historic Homes to Visit in the Hudson Valley
The Hudson Valley of New York is steeped in history. First as a vital source of income for the earliest settlers, then as the pivotal region in the American Revolution, and then as the trade route that made New York City and energized the ascent of the United States. In response to the outpouring of history from the region, and the sweeping bucolic majesty of the valley, the first true American art form was born with the river as its focus in the Hudson River School of Art. Across the centuries, the architecture of history has left its mark. Surviving structures remind us of times dazzling with the hope of a great expanding continent, or a world convulsed by war. Flecked across the valley, the homes and haunts of some of history’s most vaunted figures have been preserved for our curiosity.
We encourage you to visit these 5 historic homes in the Hudson Valley:
1. Olana – Greenport, NY
The saying goes that there are few places in the world that truly live up to your expectations upon arrival. Before your first visit to Olana, make sure you arrive at the top of the hill with the mansion just as the sun is going down over the Catskills. You will find that there simply cannot be a better sweep of the valley floor than from the top of that hill. Sited due to its perfect vantage point by the great painter Frederick Edwin Church, and built in a Near Eastern cum Victorian style, the house itself is built to dazzle. Tickets for tours are available online, and the grounds are free to walk across. Click Here for Details >
2. Thomas Cole House – Catskill, NY
The first American art form, The Hudson River School of Art, was founded through the efforts of Thomas Cole. In the early days of the steam ferry up the Hudson River, a young Thomas Cole rode north from New York City, and exited somewhere near present day Catskill, NY. His reflections on the hikes, and days spent thereafter have become the foundation of the American canon of art. Following success as a painter, Cole made Catskill his home, building his home on a hill affording excellent views of the scenery that had inspired his art. It was in his studio in Catskill that he also trained his one and only student, Frederick Edwin Church, whose own home, Olana, was built within view across the river. Click Here for Details >
3. Vanderbilt Mansion – Hyde Park, NY
Sited along the great river that first made the Vanderbilt family fortune with steam ferries, this Vanderbilt mansion is a testament to a time of unparalleled growth, and deep divisions in society. Built at the height of the Gilded age, the mansion at Hyde Park is a dazzling and sumptuous display of wealth. The Hyde Park home of FDR stands just to the south, having been a parcel of land purchased from the Vanderbilts. Click Here for Details >
4. Clermont – Germantown, NY
The colonial home of the prominent Livingston family that teamed up with Robert Fulton to begin the first ever successful steam boat business along the Hudson River. The Livingstons enjoyed a personal wealth almost beyond imagination in the late 18th century, with land stretching for tens of thousands of acres. Today, the home is a year round museum and testament to an age of explosive growth. Click Here for Details >
5. Hyde Park – Hyde Park, NY
Through the misery of the Great Depression, and across the abyss of World War 2, Americans grew used to the sight of their jovial, masterful president sitting at ease on the grounds of his great country estate along the Hudson River, known as Hyde Park. F.D.R grew up very near to the present estate, and sought it out as a refuge, and an alternative to life in Washington throughout his presidency. Today, the house has been preserved as a museum, and his artifacts and life have been commemorated in his, the first ever, presidential library. Click Here for Details >
The homes of great Americans line the shores of the Hudson River as the story of New York state spreads across its fertile valley fields. These great houses, echoes still ringing from the past, mingle with the present of a great valley that is humming with a life that grows stronger every day.