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RI Archives: Rural Road Trips

View past Historic Homes, Museums and Gardens articles.

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Historic Homes, Museums & Gardens

Adams, MA
Susan B. Anthony Birthplace & Museum

Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

Montgomery Place
A 434-acre intact Hudson River Valley estate

Athens, NY

Howard Hall Farm a laboratory for restoration training

Austerlitz, NY

Old Austerlitz

Germantown, NY

Clermont an early Hudson River estate

Home of Hudson River School painter Frederic Church

Hudson, NY

The American Museum of Firefighting

Hyde Park, NY

Home of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt

The Vanderbilt Mansion relic of the Gilded Age

Kent, CT

Sloane Stanley Museum artist’s studio and tool collection

Kinderhook, NY

U. S. President Martin Van Buren house

Lenox, MA

The Mount Edith Wharton’s estate and gardens

Frelinghuysen Morris House & Studio Cubist paintings in a Modernist house

Ventfort Hall the Gilded Age Museum

New Lebanon, NY

Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon

Pittsfield, MA

Hancock Shaker Village

Arrowhead home of Herman Melville.

Rhinebeck, NY

Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome aircraft and auto museum; air shows

Wilderstein Historic Site elaborate Queen-Anne style house of the Suckleys. 

Poughkeepsie, NY

Locust Grove home of Samuel F.B. Morse

Sheffield, MA

Ashley House c. 1735 house; oldest in Berkshire County

Staatsburgh, NY

Mills Mansion house remodeled in Beaux Arts style by McKim, Mead & White

Stockbridge, MA

Chesterwood Estate & Museum home of Lincoln memorial sculptor Daniel Chester French

Mission House 1739 house with Colonial Revival garden

Naumkeag McKim, Mead & White summer cottage and gardens

Williamstown, MA

The Folly at Field Farm Modernist house and sculpture garden

[See more Historic Homes, Museums and Gardens articles]

Treat Yourself To A Champagne Evening At The Vanderbilts

If you’re the National Park Service observing an important anniversary, it’s all well and good to spruce up some trails and a nature center for the hikers that come along. But when your “property” includes a Vanderbilt mansion, the celebration needs to be a bit more glamorous, don’t you think?

Bravo , then, to the National Park Service, for allowing the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt Historical Association (RVHA), which supports the property, to plan a fundraising party in a style Frederick and Louise might have appreciated. On Friday, Dec. 11, the Vanderbilt Mansion (full title calls it “National Historic Site”) in Hyde Park, New York, opens its doors for its 75th Diamond Anniversary Champagne Reception. Guests will be handed their first sip of Champagne as they mingle in Mrs. Vanderbilt’s guest house (now the Visitors Center), then will move into the estate’s main hall, which will be all a-sparkle with “diamond” Christmas trees and other extravagant decorations. There will be more Champagne and hors d’oeuvres, and a pianist and harpist adding echoing melodies throughout the two-story room.

This is a party, not a mansion tour, but guests will get to peek into parts of the house off limits to daily visitors: the Vanderbilts’ closets.

“We’re opening some areas that have never been opened before,” says Allan Dailey, Supervisory park manager. “Guests can go into closets (rooms, really) where Mrs. Vanderbilt’s ballgowns and Mr. Vanderibilt’s formal wear were organized. It’s interesting to see how much it took to get people dressed in those days.”

Though the gowns are no longer there, some of the couple’s grooming accessories and other items will be on display — the lady’s original hair set with mirrors, combs and brushes, a traveling tea set, the mister’s cigar pincers and scissors. And his guitar pick — gold, of course. Tiffany and Cartier figure highly in these effects.

Just how did this diamond-themed soiree get past the Park Service brass? 

“We’ve never done this kind of thing before,” Dailey admits. “But we were talking with the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt Historical Association’s executive director of the board (Kathi Behnke) and president (Teresa Gasparini) about doing something special. We began to channel the Vanderbilts and their parties, and a Champagne reception felt like something they might do.”

It’s not a black tie event, but guests are encouraged to dress in the spirit of a faux-diamond studded evening. One of the oldest properties in the entire National Park system, the mansion is part of Historic Hyde Park and toasting it will help the nonprofit RVHA support the National Park Service’s preservation and programming. At the end of the evening, you’ll walk away with a pretty swanky gift bag, too.

Diamond Anniversary Champagne Reception at the Vanderbilt Mansion
Friday, Dec. 11, 6-9 p.m.
$75 (must be 21 to attend)
119 Vanderbilt Park Road
Hyde Park, NY
Reserve your tickets here.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 11/23/15 at 04:48 PM • Permalink