Franklin and Eleanor

Hey everybody, the Hayfoot and and I took some time off from the Civil War and ventured two hours north of the city to Hyde Park.

The Park Service has a great amenity called the Roosevelt Ride.  Once a day during the season this bus picks up visitors at the Poughkeepsie train station, takes them to the various Park sites in the area, and returns them in the early evening for the train back to Grand Central.

This is Top Cottage, Roosevelt’s retreat on the grounds of the estate.  I think mainly he was retreating from his mother Sara.

Yes, you were allowed to sit on the furniture.  This was FDR’s spot on the sofa, which is not the original.

This is difficult to make out but it describes the visit of Queen Elizabeth and King George VI to Hyde Park.  Indeed, this was the royal figure depicted in The King’s Speech.  The Roosevelt Administration tactfully ensured that the king would not have to address a joint session of Congress.  The couple were on a goodwill tour of North America and traveled to Hyde Park to spend some informal time getting to know the the Roosevelts.  The king and queen visited Franklin and Eleanor in June 1939, less than three months before war broke out in Europe, and were the first British monarchs ever to visit the United States.  That they would go so far out of their way says something about the shifting balance of power in the Anglo-American alliance.

FDR’s personal effects

The Fala rug is a nice touch

We also went to the nearby Vanderbilt Mansion, the inside of which was ghastly even by Gilded Age standards.

It does offer spectacular views of the Hudson, though.

Here are some National Park rangers you don’t see every day.  In the distance we saw these goats and walked down to investigate.  As it turns out the Park uses goats to control the grass on the treacherous slopes.

The sign explained the project.  If you look closely you will see that they are doing the same thing underneath the Verrazano-Narrows bridge at Ft. Wadsworth, something I did not know when we visited this past March.  The goats are only out during the grass growing season, which explains why we did not see them in the winter.  Leave it to the Park Service to come up with something like this.

This is just one of the many books Eleanor Roosevelt wrote.  I was especially struck by this one, having written my masters thesis on relations between the United States and India during the Cold War.  In addition to her books, Mrs. Roosevelt published thousands of “My Day” columns over the decades.

Summer 2011: Taking our show on the road