FDR National Historic Site at Hyde Park
Day 1: Hudson River Valley (D)
We will fly to Newark, NJ from O’Hare airport in Chicago this morning. Upon arrival in New York our first stop will be West Point Academy Visitor’s Center. Since its founding two centuries ago, the West Point Military Academy has accomplished its
Day 2 Hudson River Valley (CB)
This morning after breakfast we will begin our journey along the historic Hudson River Valley. Here, New York’s wealthy residents had fabulous mansions and homes built around the turn of the century. We will begin our exploration in Hyde Park, where we will visit the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site at Hyde Park, which contains "Springwood," the lifelong home of America's only 4-term President. The land of the Springwood estate was originally part of a land grant (the "Great Nine Partners Patent") which covered the area between the Hudson River in the west and the border of Connecticut in the East. The total area of the grant was about 567 square kilometers and it was given to a group of nine businessmen from New York City by the English Crown in 1697. To insure equal access to the river for all partners, the land on the river shore was divided into nine "Water Lots". The Springwood estate is located on such a Water Lot, which was granted to a partner in the grant named William Creed. We will also pay a visit to the Vanderbilt Mansion Historic Site nearby. This site includes 211 acres of the original larger property historically named Hyde Park. Situated on the east bank of the Hudson River, the property includes pleasure grounds with views of the river and the distant Catskill Mountains, formal gardens, natural woodlands, and numerous auxiliary structures. The grounds also include Italian gardens that have been restored by the volunteer Frederick W. Vanderbilt Garden Association. Frederick William Vanderbilt (1856–1938) purchased the property in 1895 for use as a seasonal country residence. Its main feature is a 54-room mansion by the distinguished architectural company McKim, Mead & White. Designed and built between 1896–1899, the house is a good example of the Beaux-Arts architecture style and one of the architects' finest residential projects. This evening we will have an opportunity to enjoy dinner on our own.
Day 3: The Berkshires, MA (CB, L)
Today we will be taking an exciting detour from the Hudson River Valley and head east into Massachusetts through the beautiful Berkshire Mountains (really hills). They are adorned in Fall colors, which you will enjoy as it is a backcountry roads drive through the hills to the town of Stockbridge, MA. In Stockbridge we have two wonderful treats awaiting us. The first is a visit to the incredible Norman Rockwell Museum. This is a world class museum featuring so many works of this iconic American artist. They even have his original studio from his home inside the museum. Their gift shop includes lithographs and posters of every work, for those who want to commemorate your visit with a picture of your own to hang. Then we will have lunch at the historic and luxurious Red Lion Inn. Since 1773 this Inn has operated as a tavern, way station, and Inn continuously. It has always been the heartbeat of Stockbridge and today is famous for its fabulous food and service. This evening you will have a chance to dine at your leisure in a choice of restaurants as you are on your own for dinner – enjoy the adventure!
Day 4: Hudson River Valley (CB, D)
Today after breakfast we will enjoy a leisurely day exploring the Hudson River Valley. Today we will visit some of the spectacular estates in the area. Since Henry Hudson sailed the Half Moon up the Hudson River in 1609, great men and women have been drawn to the Hudson Valley's bounty and beauty. Politicians, artists, businessmen and socialites built fabulous estates up and down the river's banks, each adding their own unique contributions to the area's collective history. As members of the American aristocracy, these modern settlers were able to hire the best architects, landscape artists, and decorators to build their palaces. First on our agenda will be noted Hudson River painter Frederic Church's magnificent Persian palace, Olana, which stands as one of his greatest works of art influenced by Church's extensive travel in the Middle East and Europe, coupled with his aesthetic appreciation of the Valley. Olana is a masterpiece of both architecture and landscape. All of the original possessions of the family have been placed as they were in Church's day. After lunch on our own in Hudson, we will head down to Kingston, NY to board the Hudson River Cruise to enjoy a two hour cruise down to Hyde Park and back up to Kingston. It is unusual to see these great homes from the perspective of the river and our river boar guide will point out the highlights. Relax and enjoy the cruise before re-crossing the river to Rhinebeck where we have dinner planned in an historic inn.
Day 5 New York City (CB, D)
This morning after breakfast we will head straight into New York City. Upon arrival, we will enjoy a ferry ride to the Statue of Liberty where we will view France’s gift of International Friendship to the US. Next to the flag, it’s America’s most famous symbol for freedom – an icon for the immigrant. Here we will get a wonderful up close and personal view of the Lady as she has stood in New York Harbor, since 1886. We will continue to Ellis Island where over 100 million can trace their immigrant roots. Between 1892 and 1954, 12 million immigrants entered the United States through this door and began their journey in this brave new world. See & hear what coming to American meant through film, archive photos and recordings in the Great Hall. An exciting attraction in itself! This afternoon we will continue with a guided tour which will include many of the neighborhoods of the city as well as the UN Building, Lincoln Center, Central Park, Wall Street, and maybe even see sites for shows like Will & Grace, Mad About You, Seinfeld, Friends, NYPD Blue and where famous celebrities have lived. And of course, we will pay tribute at “Ground Zero” the site of the former World Trade Center and the new 9/11 Memorial. At this 16-acre site, we reflect on this tragic time in our history, which has affected us all. As Rudy Giuliani said “you will feel the sacrifice of our patriots and their heroism…Where you will feel the great power and strength and emotion of what it means to be an American.” This afternoon we will check into our hotel for our final night. This evening we will enjoy a fantastic farewell dinner before we thrill to the strains of a wonderful Broadway Show.
Day 6: Home
Rise and shine for an adventure to NBC’s live national broadcast of the Today Show. Wave to your friends and families and bring your signs! Then, just a few short steps away, visit New York’s “newest” attraction – the Top of the Rock in Rockefeller Center. The experience begins as you enter with a thrilling interactive look back in time. You may even try the “beam walk” that simulates the experience of the construction workers that built the observation deck over 70 years ago. Then take the high-speed Summit Shuttle elevators to the recently renovated 70-story-high observation deck, enjoy the open-air 360-degree view through crystal clear glass panels. We will have some free time this morning to enjoy the city before we depart for the airport and a late afternoon flight back to Chicago, leaving with the most pleasant memories of New York State.