The Vanderbilt Mansion, also known and Hyde Park and now preserved as a museum-style tribute to the Gilded Era, offers a window into American country life and the decadent lives of the country’s elite after the Civil War. The 54-room mansion fronted by Romanesque columns is one of the Hudson River region’s oldest estates, and today houses museum-like collections of more than 6,500 pieces of art, fine objects, and furnishings. Visitors can enjoy views of the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains during family picnics in the formal and Italian Gardens on the 211-acre grounds, and, in June, July, and August, take-in free evening concerts on the lawn.
On guided tours, visitors traipse up and down more than 100 stairs to explore period-furnished guestrooms with fireplaces on the second floor, ornate sitting rooms and the kitchen on the first floor and even the ice box in the basement. In addition to learning about the home’s former residents and lives of American elite, tours interpret the lives of its domestic staff and surrounding working class communities in the Hudson Valley.
The Hyde Park Trail connects the grounds with the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Park. The Vanderbilt Mansion was purchased by the former president for $1, and preserved within the national park system.
The Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site is located at 81 Vanderbilt Park Road off Route 9 in Hyde Park, New York. It’s about 90 north of New York City and two miles north of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Home National Historic Site. The site can be accessed by free shuttle service from Poughkeepsie Metro-North Rail between May and October with advance reservations.
The grounds are free and open daily year-round (except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day) from sunrise to sunset. Visits to the home’s interior are by hour-long guided tour only. Tours are capped at 50 people and tickets sell for $10 from the Pavilion Visitor Center; children 15 and under are free. Eight daily departure times are offered between May and October and four daily tours run between November and April; the last tour always starts at 4pm. Tour tickets can sell out during the summer high season and limited personal effects may accompany you on the tour (no strollers, backpacks, or selfie-sticks).