If I ever buy a second home (I make it sound like I can actually afford a first!), the Hudson Valley, just 90 minutes away from New York City, would be the locale. The landscapes are serene, the food is impressive thanks to ambitious chefs emerging from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, and there are sweet little boutiques such as Nectar Imports I could linger in for hours, poring over candles, ornaments, and teapots like I did during this weekend’s visit.
History geek that I am, one of the other things I adore about this area is its rich past. Just up the road from the CIA you’ll find the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Home and Library, and beyond that is the Vanderbilt Mansion, Frederick Vanderbilt’s ‘modest’ 54-room country retreat. I had long wanted to tour the ornate estate and finally did on this recent trip, gawking at Louise Vanderbilt’s Marie Antoinette-style boudoir, and her husband’s cozy book-lined study, that immediately conjured images of cigars and Scotch. It is a must for anyone whipping up a Hudson Valley itinerary.
But what really struck me about this Beaux-Arts beauty, standing in the central Elliptical Hall, was how much it felt like a modern-day, grand hotel lobby. I would certainly want to hold a meeting here on an elegant couch with a carafe of coffee. Of course today’s most impressive designs are forward thinking, but it’s comforting to see how despite this creativity, history continues to influence the most impressive spaces. Powerful architectural styles from the days of yore prevail; classic beauty, amplified with contemporary touches, still resonates with us.
Which historic sites inspire your own work?