Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site

The other day we went to Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site in Hyde Park New York.

Out of the eight Vanderbilt children, 43 mansions popped up. This is the “smallest” and “drabbest”.

Now imagine you are invited to the mansion for a weekend. When you arrive by train,  a couple servants come to meet you at the station and carry your luggage back to the house. That evening the women will drink tea and gossip and the men will smoke and politics. On Saturday you get up at 11 o’clock a go down for breakfast/lunch. Then  you go golfing or sailing or will play tennis for the afternoon. When you come home, you get changed in to different clothes and have a drink.  Then you will change into your dinner dress or suit and have a small 8 course dinner. After dinner you get change into your evening clothes. Then the men go to the “man cave”. And the women to the parlor for  more gossip. In an hour you get back together and maybe dance a bit. Then you head up to bed. I think this would have been a very enjoyable weekend.

Thought the Vanderbilt’s that built and lived in this house did not have any children, they loved them dearly. The children of Hyde Park, New York could play on the grounds when ever they pleased. Every year Mr. Vanderbilt would take the boys in the town for a day long ride on his yacht. At Christmas time Mrs. Vanderbilt gave all the girls of Hyde Park something they wanted and something they needed. But you were forbidden to go in the house. That was a place for adults and adults only. You had to be at least 18 to be invited for the weekend.


This was the first of many mansions we visited. We loved touring and learning about this one so much that we continued up to the Newport Mansions in Newport, Rhode Islands the next day.

That will be a separate post, though.


-Cali + Marc



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