Behind the Ropes

 Clermont from the woods.

 Barn on the property

 Amtrack heading north

 Ice Heaves on the Hudson in Tivoli

 My adventure partner bought tickets for this weekend's "Behind the Ropes" tour at Clermont State Historic site. Normally the house is closed for the winter, but they had a new fund raiser which opened it up for the weekend, so that one could tour rooms without the ropes, and see some of the decorative objects up close!

I have gone to Clermont many times over the years; the fields offer acres upon which to picnic, paint, or play. The front lawn of the house is often set up for croquet. I have visited the house, mainly back when it was free; now you have to pay to park and stroll the grounds during peak tourist season. But I don't mind, because the money helps keep these historic sites open.

Because it is a state site, no photographs are allowed inside the house. The interior is the most interesting thing about this house, which was built in 1740,  burned by the British in 1777, and rebuilt using the same foundation and two of the walls. It went through many styles of decorative fashion, and in the 1930s the family departed from the clutter of the Victorian era and hearkened back to the Colonial/Federal periods.

After the tour, we walked/hiked on old trails, and through the woods and fields that ran besides the Hudson River and the railroad. On the way home, I drove to Tivoli, down to the river, and carefully crossed the double set of Amtrack railroad tracks, to the ice jams on the river.

It was a day of history, art, exercise and mud - which is unusual for the time of year when the ground is usually covered with snow and frozen.  It was a sensory experience, and I was thrilled to spend my Sunday there.

This winter I have toured and hiked the Vanderbilt, Roosevelt, and Wilderstein estates, Mills Mansion, Clermont, and Olana. They offer fascinating tours, and miles of trails to hike. I am compiling my list of what is next- The Martin Van Buren House, Locust Grove, Kykuit,  Bannerman Castle,Boscobel, Lyndhurst...the list goes on. SO much richness in the Hudson Valley!


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