The former Astor estate in where the Chelsea Clinton wedding took place, is just one of the fabulous millionaire mansions in the Hudson Valley around Rhinebeck, which was founded in 1686 by Dutch settlers. Mansions and smaller estates built or owned by familes named Vanderbilt, Roosevelt, the artists who founded the Hudson River School of painting, and signers of the Declaration of Independence are nearby and open for touring.
So you didn’t get an invitation to this wedding of the year, maybe even the wedding of the decade. There are plenty of historic and romantic spots to visit around Rhinebeck , also with picture postcard views overlooking the Hudson River:
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Home, Library and Museum — FDR’s forbears moved to the Hyde Park area in the early 1800s, and he was born here and grew up in this house. FDR did his famous World War II ‘Fireside Chats’ from his study here. The late president and his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, are buried in the Rose Garden. There are lovely walkways and paths to enjoy, along with the 40,000 book library and family artifacts. Nearby is Val-Kill Cottage, the only National Historic site dedicated to a First Lady. Eleanor Roosevelt spent her last years here, when she was “First Lady of the World”, and where she hosted celebrities and politicians, including future president John F. Kennedy.
Vanderbilt Mansion Naitonal Historic Site — In the days before air conditioning, wealthy New Yorkers escaped to the Hudson Valley in summer for cooler temperatures. That’s what Frederick and Louise Vanderbilt did, rather than building in Newport, Rhode Island, where his Vanderbilt relatives went. This 54-room Beaux Arts beauty, dating from 1895, features Mrs. Vanderbilt’s gilt and gold bedroom that will make you think of Marie Antoinette’s boudoir in Versailles. Yes, it is that opulent. Over the top, actually. The Vanderbilt mansion is immediately next door to the FDR site, and if you plan well, you can visit both in one afternoon.
The FDR and Vanderbilt sites are a few miles south of Rhinebeck. Clermont and Olana are must-see historic sites a few miles to the north.