Weekend Chef here. We recently wrote a post about Every Kid In a Park, the White House youth initiative in which our 4th grader (and all 4th graders) were given free access to all our national parks, monuments, and historic sites until August of 2016. This program encourages the whole family of these students to go out and see a lot of the things that made and make America great. We happen to live close enough to Hyde Park, NY to be able to visit three of these locations that are within a close distance of each other: the Home of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt’s home and the Vanderbilt mansion. Because of shortened seasonal hours, we only saw FDR’s home on this particular trip. The last time I was there was on a grade school trip myself just a few
years decades ago.
When you first arrive, you’re greeted by a modern visitor’s center complete with the New Deal gift shop (of course), snack/ sandwich bar (seasonally), film viewing room and the beginning of the hour-long tour. The guided tour presented by the always-knowledgeable park rangers are the only way to access the inside of the home. You walk along the grounds, past the Presidential library and archive to the home that our only 4-term president lived in.
FDR was born in this house and lived there for most of his life. He is buried on the grounds surrounded by a garden.
The living area of the building was expanded when he married and had children. It is a large home by most standards, but I certainly would not consider it opulent. To this day, it looks lived in and livable.
Our daughter really enjoyed touring the home and learning about Franklin D. Roosevelt. Our seven year old son may have made a “this is boring” comment but enjoyed running along the paths of the grounds and looking in the gift shop. There was one other fourth grader and his family on the tour, while the rest of the tour participants were adults of varying ages. Due to limited tour schedules, we were unable to see the Vanderbilt Mansion or Eleanor Roosevelt’s home. We plan to make another trip up to Hyde Park in the spring, when the weather is nicer and they offer tours more frequently.
For me, it lends a personal element to a man who is still regarded as larger than life. I recommend taking the time if you’re within an hour or two to get a glimpse of the life of a man who led our nation through some of our toughest eras: the Great Depression and WWII. FDR was truly a great American and one of our greatest Presidents.