Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Roosevelts and Hyde Park

When you live in Hyde Park, NY you are living with the Roosevelt family. Very few places personify a family as much as Hyde Park does. When folks call to book rooms we often get into conversation about why they are coming and what they plan to do - always the Roosevelt home, library, and museum are on the list and our future guests always call it Hyde Park as in "we want to visit Hyde Park" or "of course will see Hyde Park". I do sometimes get the urge to tell them that since we are in the town of Hyde Park - that of course they are visiting Hyde Park. But FDR's home is known as Hyde Park, not Springwood (it's official name) and we are lucky it is - because our town will always be in the history books as the home of one of our greatest Presidents and the most significant First Lady the country has ever known. But what is so interesting is how the town itself has the Roosevelt aura everywhere. The other day was so beautiful that we decided to take a walk from Eleanor's home Val-Kill to FDR's cottage, Top Cottage. The walk through the woods is the same trail FDR drove when he came to his sanctuary - he even drove the Queen of England to Top Cottage on the same trail (I hear the Queen asked to be driven by someone else on the way back!) What an amazing walk - you could feel the Roosevelt presence. Just a short walk from the Inn is St. James Church - the Roosevelt's parish. A simple and beautiful place, FDR's mother and father, infant son, and so many other relatives are buried there. During Eleanor's funeral, the church hosted (at the time) four current, former, and future Presidents: Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson. How incredible for this town to be hosting these amazing men. As you drive around town you see images of Franklin and Eleanor - that image of FDR in his car with his cigarette holder, that chin up and contagious grin always pops in my head.