Okay, So Maybe Teddy’s Your Man (Not FDR)

Sand.LionOrvis Sandanona is closeby to Hilltop House– about a 15-20 minute drive up and over Route 44 on the way to Hyde Park and Pougkeepsie. It’s the kind of place FDR’s (see previous blog) distant cousin and prior President, Teddy Roosevelt, would have wanted to visit but actually, according to Sandanona’s website, “is the oldest permitted shotgun shooting club in the country. The main lodge was built during the presidency of Thomas Jefferson.”

So Presidential–without a doubt. And it being the mid-term election year, we need to include in our Roosevelt coverage,  the Republican point of view.

Our family recently attended Orvis Sandanona’s GAME FAIR, a chance to see displays, sporting merchandise and hear lectures on wild game and hunting. It was something the whole family got into and was refreshing to see: Another side of the conservation story.


With news coverage of a customer getting shot and killed in a Walmart because someone panicked when he was only holding a toy BB gun–STORE MERCH—in hand, it was an opportunity, Sand.BirdDisplaya slice of life we need to show our kids, that there are places in this great country of ours where people carry, and they’re not all BAD GUYS.

I recommend Sandanona –and suggest you check out their website to get a look and feel for their offerings–from clay shooting to private instruction, to this kind of an event. It’s the kind of unique offering the eastern arm of The Hudson Valley has to offer for sportsmen and others like me, looking to understand the full spectrum of life outside of the fast lane.

3047 Sharon Turnpike Road (New York Route 44)
Millbrook, NY 12545 | 845-677-9701
Email: sandanona@orvis.com
Open 7 Days a week   9am – 5pm


History Buffs, Come Visit the Roosevelts of Hyde Park

A good friend’s greatest living hero is Ken Burns, the documentary filmmaker whose recent 14-hour piece (can you call 14 hours a piece?)  “The Roosevelts” just aired on PBS. She reminded me that we live quite near to the Hudson River enclaves of the Roosevelts—there were two branches of the family as you might have gathered from Burns’ piece, the other branch (Teddy’s family, the Republicans) emanated out of Oyster Bay on Long Island.

SpinghillThe Roosevelt compound—Roosevelt’s Hyde Park mansion, Springwood, above, where Sara, his doting mother, Franklin and Eleanor lived; the nation’s first ever Presidential Library, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, commissioned by the President and finished during his unprecedented third term——the only Presidential Library in which a standing president actually worked; and Eleanor’s retreat—Val-Kill, now the Eleanor Roosevelt national historic site—where she spent time when Franklin was away with her own mix of friends, just two miles north of Springwood. Also included in the Springwood site is the nearby Vanderbilt Mansion and all the beautiful gardens that surround them.

Today, the Roosevelt buildings are an assemblage of the National Parks Service, and are open to both free tours and paid tours depending upon one’s circumstance. (Education, Seniors, Vets, all have preference) They are located on this (eastern) side of the Hudson River, about a half hour from Hilltop House Bed and Breakfast. It’s a beautiful season to enjoy strolling the grounds or taking in some history.

Springwood: 9 to 5 daily.  http://www.nps.gov/hofr/
Fees: Springwood guided 1 hour tour and FDR Presidential Library and Museum (operated by the National Archives) $18 joint admission. Tickets are valid for 2 days.Children under 15 free. The grounds and the Rose Garden, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt burial sites: free, open everyday from sunrise to sunset.


Val-Kill: open daily until Oct. 30th, 9 to 5 with last tour at 4:30. The winter schedule runs from Nov 2 thru April 30, open Thur-Mon 9 to 5 pm; tours at 1 and 3 pm. Daily schedule resumes May 1. The grounds, however, are open daily year-round until sunset.

Fees: Entrance to the park grounds is free. $8 fee for adults includes a Guided Tour of the Home of Eleanor Roosevelt (Val-Kill). Children15 and under free of charge. All visitors (including children) must have a tour ticket in order to join a Guided Tour. Access by guided tour only.

Reservations: May be made up to 5 months in advance: 1-877-444-6777

The Interagency Senior Pass, Access pass and Annual pass provide for free entry to any available tour at the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt historic sites. In addition, the accompanying three adults with the cardholder will be admitted without charge.



Take Refuge in Stone Church

The marker sign as one drives through Dover, just south of Hilltop House on Route 22, can easily be missed, and unless some local kids tell you about the Stone Church, which inevitably they’ve been to on some school outing over the years, you may well have missed a true delight of visiting the site.

Road MarkerA great place to visit on an Indian Summer’s day and you’re craving a bit of heat relief, Stone Church is exactly what the sign says–a refuge from the encroaching “world.”

Through a green meadow along a well-trod gravel pathway to a shallow brook with wide platforms of rocks that beckon the ” foot dangler,” one comes upon a natural rock celestory set high between huge kissing metamorphic slabs, evoking a Gothic cathedral–hence the moniker, “Stone Church.”

StoneCh.2It’s quietly famous: Painted by the WPA in the depression, written about in ode fashion, photographed by many and printed as postcards in the 1920s, the site has inspired countless individuals. Be forewarned, there is no parking on or near the right-of-way, so one should consider visiting Dover’s site for a map and parking locations


StoneChurchReachingThe pictures of our family making their way to “the pulpit” tell the rest. It’s all natural beauty here, and so close to where you’ll stay when you overnight at our Bed and Breakfast. Stone Church is the kind of sight seeing that harkens back to a simpler time, when things didn’t cost and arm and a leg to partake of. Inspiring for the whole family! Hope you get up to Eastern Dutchess County soon, and partake of the beauty all around us.