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Great Estates Region Menu
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Located midway between Albany and New York City, the Great Estates region of the Hudson Valley contains the grand expressions and visions fo the Gilded Age.

The history of many of the estates streach back into the early land grant history of the Dutch and English in the new world. Several great fortunes are based upon the control of vast tracts of land in the Valley. Lands owned by the Livingstons, Roosevelts and Beekmans established such gilded estates as Clermont, Springwood and Wilderstein.

Given the early social promenance of the Hudson Valley and its proximity to the economic engine of America, New York City, many of the wealthy looked north into the Valley for their country seats and elegant country houses. Vanderbilts and Goulds, as well as dozens of other lesser known magnates, lavished fortunes on the construction of homes and gardens. The gentle summer climate, unsurpassed landscape and romantic associations brought the well heeled north for their escapes from city life.

It didn't hurt that, thanks to Corenlius Vanderbilt, the mid-Valley was an easy train ride out of the City. Vanderbilt seized control of the banks of the river and installed train service along the entire length of the river from New York City to Albany, and beyond. Luxury cars and private Pullman's could be attached to north-bound trains providing the wealthy a very private and very quick trip up the river.

The great estates of the Valley start in the south in Yonkers and quite literally line the river's banks all the way up-river into Columbia County. These days a few of them are open to the general public to visit and admire. The highest concentration of these accessible estates starts to the north with Clermont, just outside of Germantown, centuries old seat of the Livingston family all the way down to Locust Grove in Poughkeepsie, home of Samuel Morse. The history of America can be traced through these estates, from Revolutionary War leaders and founding fathers at Clermont to FDR's home and Presidential Library at Springwood to the inventor of the telegraph Samuel Morse's home, Locust Grove.

Visiting the estates provides you a glimpse back into the economic, social and aesthetic history of our country. From charming livable spaces like Wilderstein to imposing sandstone edifaces like the Vanderbilt Mansion, each has an intreaguing story to tell and history to reveal.

Sprinkled liberally between the estates are many lesser known, yet equally important historic sites and attractions. Take a tour at the pre-eminent gastronomic experience of the CIA, (Culinary Institute of America). Walk the bustling shopping streets of Rhinebeck lined with high-end boutiques and shops. Take a ride on the Sloop Clearwater out of Poughkeepsie and learn about the ecologic and environmental history of the Valley. Sit on the bleachers on a lazy summer day and thrill to the exciting antics of antique planes buzzing and swooping at the Rhinebeck Aerodrome. Stop at any one of the many dozens of antique shops to be found around almost every corner and bend in the road. Or just sit and enjoy the day at one of the many cafes, sipping tea and enjoying the atmosphere.

More than anything else, the Great Estates Region of the Hudson Valley is a quiet, lazy, welcoming place. The people are friendly, the shops & sites and attractions are fun and exciting and the landscape is the best in the Valley. Easily reachable by car, bus or train, a trip into the Great Estates Region is one you will never forget, one you will savor always.

For lots more information about the Great Estates of the Hudson Valley, check out HV/Net's feature article,
just CLICK HERE!
Great Estates Region Map
This map is not meant as completely accurate representation of the terrain, roads and trails. HV/Net suggests that before you visit you first obtain an accurate map of the area. They are available in many locations throughout the region.
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