A Peek at American History

Our 32nd president, Franklin D. Roosevelt

If you are looking for a fun and educational trip this summer then hop in your car and head west — then south.

Nestled in Hyde Park, N.Y. are two great places to visit. The first is the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.

The trip just takes about two and a half hours from Springfield. Take the Mass. Pike west to the Taconic Parkway and then head south. (Be careful on the Taconic — the speed limit is 55 m.p.h. and there were a lot of people pulled over on this stretch.)

The presidential library

This library is the first presidential library and the only one used by a sitting president. FDR designed it himself and it opened in 1941.

You don’t have to be a history fan or even a Democrat 🙂 to appreciate the wealth of information contained in this place.

The house where FDR was born

You also can tour the home where FDR was born. He spent much of his boyhood here and it is great to hear the stories provided by the tour guide about the home. For example, the King and Queen of England were some of the notable guests there.

FDR's and Eleanor Roosevelt's grave

You see where FDR began and his end. It is a moving visit to recall how this man led the country through the Great Depression and World War II. And it is sweet to watch Eleanor, his wife, grow and become a champion for civil and human rights.

FDR and his First Lady

After a visit to Hyde Park you feel as if you are better acquainted with the pair…

Our new friends

And the scenery in the Hudson River Valley is gorgeous. This is the view from the back of FDR’s home.

Blue skies smiling at us

Allow several hours to soak in everything at the museum. And even if you have to get up early, try to get to the museum shortly after it opens at 9 a.m. Those tours are not crowded. We had only eight people on our tour at 9:45, while a noon tour seemed to have about 40.

After learning so much and knowing that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, we took a break for a late lunch and ate at a very nice diner on Route 9.

Burgers, shakes and fries!

And we had time to catch the last tour at the Vanderbilt Mansion which is just a few miles north of FDR’S place.

The back porch of the mansion

 Again, a well-trained tour guide from the federal parks department does a great job of informing and entertaining.  The house is filled with Italian antiques and has a huge foyer. However, truly it is the ground with its gardens and view of the Hudson that are awesome. You can walk the ground for free.

The view from Vanderbilt's house along the Hudson
There are four levels of gorgeous gardens, too.

There are many other great places to see along this historic corridor.

You can do these two in a day or stay overnight and head to Cooperstown or West Point (free band concerts on summer Sunday evenings).

Whatever you do this summer, try and fit in a day to learn a little more and appreciate those who came before us to give us the good, free life we have.

Happy 4th of July!

Published by spunfromtheweb

Weber holds a BA in English from her beloved Providence College and an MA in journalism from Marquette University.

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