Weekend Getaway: The Hudson Valley

28 May

Danielle and I stayed in New York for Memorial Day Weekend, but last weekend we had an exciting trip to New York’s Hudson Valley. Here’s a quick recap of what we did:

Our first stop was the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, NY. Unlike other presidential libraries we have been to (for our rousing recap of the JFK Library, click here), this one is particularly interesting because you can also visit the president’s home.

Fun fact we learned on the tour: FDR saw a relative burn to death when he was a child (okay, so that part of the fact is not so fun), so he was deathly afraid of fire. The entire house was elaborately renovated to make it easy for FDR to escape in his wheelchair in the case of fire and the former president would regularly have fire drills.

This is FDR’s house

The next stop on our tour was The Culinary Institute of America, which was also in Hyde Park. This school was absolutely gorgeous, with red brick buildings overlooking the Hudson River. Visitors can eat at the several restaurants on the campus, which are run by the culinary students. However, on the weekends, some of the restaurants were closed, and the ones that were open were pretty pricey for lunch. So instead we went to a student-run culinary fair, with foods the chefs-in-training had prepared from various world cuisines. My favorite were the homemade German pretzels with spicy mustard.

Danielle at the CIA

Our first day finished off with an impromptu trip to Woodbury Commons (obviously, Danielle’s favorite part of the trip) for some outlet shopping, followed by dinner and drinks.

The next day started with brunch at the historic Thayer Hotel in West Point. This brunch was awesome. It had everything from eggs made-to-order to steak to penne a la vodka (Danielle’s favorite item on the buffet was the fresh-made waffles with Bananas Foster on top). Plus, it came with unlimited champagne/mimosas. The price was a little steep at $35 a person, but it definitely was worth doing once, especially on a nice day when you can eat outside overlooking the Hudson River.

The Thayer Hotel at West Point

On the Thayer Hotel balcony overlooking the Hudson River

The next stop on our trip was a tour of the West Point campus. We really enjoyed this. The school is absolutely beautiful, with old buildings and amazing views of the Hudson. This prompted a great debate about whether or not I could get into West Point. After learning that a large part of the admissions process was a physical fitness test, we decided I definitely would NOT be admitted.

West Point campus

At West Point, overlooking the Hudson River

From West Point, we headed to Kykuit, the home of the Rockefeller family in Tarrytown, NY. This was an awesome tour. I highly recommend it to anyone in the New York area, even though it’s a little pricey at $26 per person. Obviously, as oil barrons, the Rockefellers built a pretty nice mansion. But probably the coolest part is that Nelson Rockefeller, the former governor of New York and boss of Henry Francis, decided to decorate the historic home with lots of modern art – from Picasso to Miro to Warhol. In fact, the basement of the house is a modern art gallery that rivals any museum I’ve ever been to. There’s also a private golf course on the property that only Rockefellers can use. So obviously a new life goal of mine is to befriend a member of the Rockefeller family.


After a dinner with my aunt and cousins, we headed home. But we had a great time touring New York’s Hudson Valley and hope to do it again sometime!



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