New York State of Mind!
Everybody loves taking a bite of the big apple for a long weekend break but what about venturing out and becoming an upstate girl rather than uptown girl?
A couple of years back I took a trip to the Hudson Valley and explored the history and must see in Dutchess County and I met up with Marklee Wilson who was in Dublin recently and we had a catch up chat about why it’s cool to visit The Hudson Valley.
I’ve also pulled together a package from Platinum Travel that will take you all around the state to savour the delights of the great outdoors and wonderful beaches on Long Island.
I’ve also put together this round up of what to expect and my highlights during my last visit of The Hudson Valley. A good starting point is the pretty town of Beacon which is a twenty minute taxi ride from the airport so you really don’t need a car. This once industrial town is now a hub of galleries and inspiring respite for artists. I found a special place to stay at The Roundhouse, a boutique hotel situated on cascading waterfalls that once housed an industrial complex. Visitors can view the rush of the rolling river outside from the comfortable streamlined restaurant which serves cuisine that will rival top restaurants in Manhattan.
My first must see in Dutchess County is the homeplace of America’s 32nd President Franklin Delano Roosevelt at Hyde Park. Situated on the banks of the Hudson River, this estate is also home to the very first presidential library. I have visited a few but this one is particularly well placed historically as it gives the visitor great insight into FDR’s private life in his home as a young boy and follows through to tell the tale of his work life through the multimedia exhibitions at the library. It’s difficult to tell his story without the inclusion of his supportive and energetic wife Eleanor, and this is achieved with great aplomb and designated exhibits showing her input.
So many pictures were taken of FDR sitting down during the tenure of his presidency anyone would be forgiven for overlooking the fact that he was placed in a wheelchair after contracting polio at the age of 39. I start the tour on the driveway of FDR’s family home where the president spent his formative years. My guide is Park Ranger, Lawrie, who knows every corner of this grand Federal style house. “This house is called, Springwood Estate and FDR used this long straight driveway that we are standing on to exercise as part of his ongoing therapy, dragging his legs behind him to build his upper body strength.” He points out the stables and graveyard where the president and Eleanor are buried and he advises we can go speak to workers when he is finished giving his tour. It’s an impressive park that expands over 2.5 km.
Born of a Dutch American family, his wealth and position was orchestrated from the start with a life of privilege attending Harvard and Colombia Law School before working as a lawyer in New York. However his wife remarked that she believed his condition made him a more sensitive and understanding person. Indeed as I pass through the exhibits, Roosevelt’s apparent care for the common man through initiatives such as the New Deal seemed to transform the difficult era of the great depression. In 1933 when FDR took office the first time, 32 banks went bust and 50% of the farms in the state of Mississipi went up for auction.
His policy of counteracting extreme poverty across the country involved the planting of 3 billion trees in the National Parks, a social security system and numerous building projects, saw him go on to be the longest serving president ever. It’s interesting to see the displays echoing the strong role Eleanor played at facilitating his work and extracts from her daily dairy which were perhaps the first evidence of a blog in the making.
Roosevelt’s fireside chats are played on loop at another exhibit bringing me through the worst days of World War II and displayed in a reconstructed kitchen of a typical home in 1940s America. It’s a poignant journey through a time that could be easily forgotten but embodied the transformation of America as a super power. Whether it was FDR’s new deal that improved conditions or wealth generated from the war well I’m not quite sure which was responsible. It’s impossible to write about FDR’s legacy without mentioning the Four Freedoms. He made a speech to congress on January 6th 1941in which he envisioned a world based on, “Freedom of Speech and expression, Freedom of all peoples to worship God in their own way, Freedom of want and finally Freedom of Fear.”
A full day could easily be taken up exploring all that there is to see in the park but to fully capitalise on a visit to New York State, time must be made for shopping. Poughkeepsie Mall has all the brand names that are popular in the USA, especially those shops that haven’t reached Europe such as Bath and Body Works and Justice. To really go large then a trip to Woodbury Common is a must.
If you want to enjoy beaches with wonderful wine country then Long Island is perfect for a summer adventure. There are more than 60 wineries to enjoy and North Fork has it all. Take the ferry to Shelter Island and soak up some seaside charm. The area is rich in boutiques and antique shops. The lavender fields are in full bloom in June and July so take a trip to East Marion where you can visit the farm and buy beautiful soaps and lavender scented bath salts etc.
As Marklee commented in the audio interview above, you will find some of the best food in the USA in NY State as the Culinary institute has left a wonderful legacy in the entire region. So I’ve made the job of getting there easy for you with this package from Platinum Travel this summer. To find out more do check out https://www.iloveny.com/
This package from Platinum Travel has it all to really get under the skin of The Big Apple and New York State!
Telephone +353 1853 5000
Hit the Big Apple before meandering up the Hudson River
Hit the Big Apple and explore the town before meandering up the peaceful Hudson River to historic Kingston and Albany. After that, special Upstate New York landscapes that enamoured the painters of the Hudson River School just keep coming; Saratoga Springs, Lake George, the Adirondacks and finally Alexandria Bay, where the 1000 Islands dot the St. Lawrence River like jewels. Thrill to the 6 million gallons of water rushing over the rocks at Niagara Falls and stay for the illumination. Explore the Finger Lakes and Catskills before returning to New York.
NY City, Hudson Valley & Long Island
01 May – 09 May 2020
- Return direct flights from Dublin to JFK
- Arrival Transfer from JFK airport to Midtown hotel
- 2 nights Stay in New York
- Amtrak Train from Penn Station to Poughkeepsie
- Car rental 7 days – full inclusive of all insurance & taxes
- 2 nights Stay in Poughkeepsie
- 1 night stay in Amenia B/B
- 3 nights stay in Southampton Long Island
- Checked bags 23kilos per person
- All airport taxes
- 24/7 emergency number throughout your stay
Total price – €1769 per person based on 2 sharing
Other dates also available and family packages also available.