The Vanderbilt Estate and their Italian Gardens
The Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site was established as a monument to an era rather than a tribute to any one person or family. The estate illustrates a way of life modeled on the English country house and is only unusual today because so few examples survive in the 21st century. Frederick and Louise Vanderbilt enlisted the expertise of architects, landscape designers, and interior decorators, including Edith Wharton, to create a country estate that would imitate and rival the grand houses of Europe.
More than a place to discuss the lifestyles of the rich and famous, the park offers a window into the philosophy of the American country house, the lives of its domestic staff, and its relationship to the surrounding community. The Vanderbilt’s would “be in residence” at their Hyde Park home for just 6 weeks a year.
In addition to a tour of the house, you should stroll on the 211 acres of park land that boast centuries old tree plantings, stunning Hudson River and Catskill Mountain views and Italian Gardens maintained by the volunteers of the Frederick William Vanderbilt Garden Association.