The Hudson Valley’s always been valued for its breathtaking scenery. From the 19th century on, a country home allowed the American aristocracy to entertain in a style meant to impress. Those fortunate enough to be invited guests treasured the lavish décor, dancing and feasts with elaborate table settings.
The tradition continues, as the Great Estates are now mansion-museums. There are holiday Whodunits just for children at Staatsburgh and Locust Grove. Visit one or all; each has its own charm. A visit to a beautifully decorated estate will indisputably get you into the holiday spirit!
Tours offered Thanksgiving weekend, November 27-29 & all December weekends:
• Wilderstein Historic Site. FDR's cousin Daisy’s 1888 home is adorned by celebrated area florists and designers, becoming a magical holiday wonderland. Rhinebeck. 845-876-4818. www.Wilderstein.org
• Locust Grove Estate: “World War I: The Home Front”: The mansion rooms glitter with trees and elegant garlands. Poughkeepsie. 845-454-4500. www.LGNY.org
Thurs. - Sun., Nov. 27 - Dec. 20, & Dec. 26-31: “A Gilded Age Christmas” at Staatsburgh State Historic Site. Much like Scrooge, you can visit a Christmas past at the lavishly decorated Mills family mansion. Experience Christmas, Gilded Age style, as the manor is sumptuously decorated with gigantic trees and elegant floral arrangements! Staatsburg. 845-889-8851. http://nysparks.com/historic-sites/25/details.aspx
Nov. 27 - Dec. 31: The National Park Sites in Hyde Park are all decorated for Christmas! The first two are open daily; Val –Kill is open Thurs. – Mon. Closed Christmas and New Year’s Day.
• Vanderbilt Mansion (Open House 12/6; free tours). 845-229-7770. www.NPS.Gov/VaMa
• Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Springwood (Open House 12/12; free tours). 845-229-9115. www.NPS.Gov/Hofr
• Eleanor Roosevelt's Val-Kill (Open House 12/12; free tours). 845-229-5302. www.NPS.Gov/ELRO
Sat., Dec. 12: The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum hosts its Children's Reading Festival, Holiday Open House, photos with Santa and making of Holiday Cards for Troops. 9am-5pm. Wallace Visitors Center. 845-486-7770. www.FDRLibrary.Marist.edu
Wed. - Fri., Dec. 16-18 & Sun, Dec. 20: Holiday Candlelight Tours at Mount Gulian Historic Site. Tour the homestead aglow in candlelight, decorated with fresh greens, ribbons and bows, and sparkle. Beacon. 845-831-8172. www.MountGulian.org
As the holiday season opens, our Great Estates have hung up their ribbons and bows, set up the Christmas trees, and created a festive atmosphere. The historic homes are dressed in their finest, reflecting periods in American history from the Revolutionary War to the Gilded Age, up to World War II. Five mansions and a Colonial homestead offer open houses and tours.