New York State's Hudson Valley is historically and culturally rich offering visitors delightful surprises along the way that include diverse museums, attractions, and Glenmere Mansion, a luxury hotel that recalls the opulence of the gilded age. With its close proximity to New York City, the Hudson Valley is perfect for a luxurious weekend getaway.
We stayed at Glenmere Mansion, a luxurious 18-room and suite Relais & Chateaux Country House Hotel nestled on 150-acres in Chester, New York overlooking Glenmere Lake. Built in 1911, the Italianate-style Tuscan mansion, Glenmere, was the country home of Robert Goelet, who at the time was one of America's wealthiest men. Owners Alan Stenberg and Daniel DeSimone have lovingly transformed Glenmere Mansion to its former splendor, elegantly opulent without being fussy, and is a delicious surprise in the Hudson Valley.
Although small in stature with a mere 18 rooms and suites, Glenmere has all the bells and whistles befitting its luxury stature, with sumptuously furnished guestrooms, two restaurants, Frog's End Tavern and The Supper Room, an expansive Living Room with grand piano, colorful orchids, and fireplaces on either end of the room, a cozy Library to relax and curl up with one of the many books, a fitness center, Italian cortile, an outdoor swimming pool and whirlpool, bocce court, Har-Tru tennis courts, croquet court, hiking trails, and beautifully landscaped gardens to enjoy.
Princess Suite Guest Room
Alan Stenberg and Daniel DeSimone have taken great care to ensure to their guests' every need with thoughtful touches throughout the hotel. In the afternoon, they serve complimentary snacks and chips, freshly baked cookies, and a variety of soft drinks. In the morning, guests may help themselves to a complimentary continental breakfast of scones, muffins, and a selection of juices, coffee, and teas.
Stroll the Manicured Grounds
Edward and I had an excellent dinner at The Supper Room in late April 2011, as well as a hearty breakfast before starting our day discovering the historic Hudson Valley. Architecturally stunning, with a marriage of antiques and contemporary décor, Glenmere Mansion will enchant not only with its beauty, but also with its impeccable service, and thoughtful attention to detail that makes for a romantic adult getaway.
The Supper Room
Owners and Maîtres de Maison: Alan Stenberg and Daniel DeSimone
634 Pine Hill Road
Chester, New York 10918
What to Do
Harness Racing Museum
New York State's Hudson Valley is historically and culturally rich with a diverse selection of attractions that offer something for everyone. We began our discovery at the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame located 6.5 miles north of Glenmere Mansion in the nearby town of Goshen, New York, where we learned all about the sport of harness racing, where the driver sits in a two-wheeled cart called a "sulky" pulled by a Standardbred horse.
Harness Racing Practice Track
As we pulled into the parking lot, we could see the drivers and the horses out practicing on the track, which had us literally jumping out of the car and running to the track to watch these incredible animals in action.
Debra with Speaking Greek
After watching the practice runs, we stopped by the stables and "met" a few of the horses, including a lovable horse named Speaking Greek, who willingly posed for a few photos, and we also visited the blacksmith shop where we had the opportunity to watch the blacksmith in action.
Located in a large building with two floors, the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame is a veritable wealth of information on the sport featuring interesting hands-on exhibitions and memorabilia.
Edward Getting Some Seat Time in the Sulky
The Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame is open daily from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm. Complimentary Admission.
Debra in the Winner's Circle
Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame
240 Main Street
Goshen, New York 10924
From the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame we drove 1-hour south to the historic village of Sleepy Hollow, New York, where we visited Philipsburg Manor and stepped back in time to 1750 when we walked through the gate and found ourselves face-to-face with docents dressed in colonial-era clothing.
Philipsburg Manor was owned by the Philips family, Anglo-Dutch merchants, and was a farming, milling, and trading center. Docents brought the period to life for us as we strolled the vast property, toured the many buildings and barns, watched the demonstrations, and visited the historic breeds of animals. Especially endearing were the baby animals that were making their spring debut.
Docents in Colonial-era Clothing
Admission is charged. Adults: $12, Seniors: $10, Children 6 - 17 with a paying adult: $6. Members and Children under 5 with a paying adult: Free.
Barn full of Sheep
361 North Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591
Located a mere 5-minute drive from Philipsburg Manor is the Union Church of Pocantico Hills, an active congregation, non-denominational Protestant church where we had the opportunity to see the breathtaking stained glass windows by the French artists Henri Matisse (1869-1954) and Marc Chagall (1887-1985) that were commissioned by members of the Rockefeller family.
The Matisse Rose window is especially significant in that Matisse died 2 days after completing the design and it is his last completed work. Also significant, is that the church has the "only cycle of Chagall church windows in America" consisting of eight side windows and a large window in the rear wall that depicts the parable of the Good Samaritan that was a memorial to John D. Rockefeller.
Henri Matisse - Rose Window
While Matisse and Chagall both were master artists, their styles and materials they used varied. Matisse used color cut-out paper shapes to design the Rose window, made of colored glass, while Chagall used a variety of techniques including colored glass, glass etched with acid, and painting on glass. The Matisse Rose window, dedicated on Mother's Day 1956, was the first of the windows and features clear, green, and yellow colored glass. As homage to Matisse, Chagall incorporated green in each of the nine windows that he designed.
Marc Chagall - Joel and Daniel Windows
Especially poignant is the Chagall window, "The Crucifixion (Seek and Ye Shall Find)," in memory of Michael Rockefeller (1938-1961), who died in New Guinea while on an anthropological expedition.
Self-Guided or Guided Tours are available and last approximately 30 minutes. Admission: Adults/Children - $5.00. There is discounted admission for individuals purchasing tickets to Kykuit, the Rockefeller estate.
The Fine Arts Committee of Union Church hosts concerts normally presented in November and March. Information about the series may be obtained by contacting the Church Office, or on the Union Church website (www.UCPH.org).
Union Church of Pocantico Hills
555 Bedford Street
Sleepy Hollow, New York 10591
Our next stop was the 67-acre Lyndhurst estate, located 11 minutes from the Union Church, and considered "one of America's finest Gothic Revival mansions." Designed in 1838 by Alexander Jackson Davis, Lyndhurst was once the illustrious home of former New York City Mayor William Paulding, the merchant George Merritt, and the railroad tycoon Jay Gould. Lyndhurst remained a private residence for 123 years until the death of Jay Gould's daughter Anna, Duchess of Talleyrand-Perigord, in 1961.
We enjoyed taking a walk to admire the attractive gardens and the sweeping lawns, as well as enjoyed touring the impressive mansion with its hand-painted ceilings, intricate woodwork, unique fireplaces, important works by Tiffany and paintings by Bouguereau (1825-1905), Gerome (1824-1904), and Daubigny (1817-1878), and exquisite furnishings.
Interior of Lyndhurst
Lyndhurst is open Tuesday through Sunday and Holiday Mondays from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm April 12 until October 31, and from November through April 11, Lyndhurst is open weekends and Holiday Mondays (except Martin Luther King Day) from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm. The last tour tickets are sold at 4:00 pm daily.
Guided Tours are conducted Tuesday through Friday at 10:30 am, 11:45 am, 1:00 pm, 2:15 pm, 3:30 pm, and 4:15 pm; and on Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 am, 11:30 am, 12:00 pm, 12:30 pm, 1:00 pm, 1:30 pm, 2:00 pm, 2:30 pm, 3:00 pm, 3:30 pm, and 4:15 pm. Cell Phone Tours are available anytime between 10:30 am and 3:30 pm. See their website for a complete list of hourly tours during November through December, and from January through March.
Admission is charged. Adults: $12, Seniors: $11, Children 6 - 16 with a paying adult: $6. Free Admission for Friends of Lyndhurst, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Children under 6 with a paying adult.
635 South Broadway
Tarrytown, New York 10591
Our last stop of the day was to Washington Irving's Sunnyside, located a mere 2-minute drive from Lyndhurst. Barbara Williams, our charming guide dressed in period costume, provided an entertaining and insightful look into the life of Washington Irving (1783 - 1859), devoted brother and uncle, United States Minister to Spain, linguist, and prolific writer of magazine articles, numerous books including The Sketchbook, and short stories including Rip Van Winkle, and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, to name but a few. He created a literary legacy, and made popular the terms "the almighty dollar" and "Gotham" (the nickname for New York City), and he also wrote under the pen name of Diedrich Knickerbocker, which gave way to the name for the New York City National Basketball Association (NBA) team, The New York Knickerbockers.
Washington Irving's Sunnyside
The estate is located on 24-acres nestled along the Hudson River, with meandering scenic walks, gardens, and the crown jewel itself, Washington Irving's ivy covered house framed with romantic wisteria and complete with a Spanish bell tower, where he lived with his widowed brother, Ebenezer, and his brother's five daughters. Upon Washington Irving's death in 1859, Ebenezer inherited the estate, followed by inheritance by Ebenezer's daughters. The house was opened to the public in 1947, and provides a vivid glimpse into Washington Irving's life.
Docent Barbara Williams at Sunnyside
Admission is charged. Adults: $12, Seniors: $10, Children 6 - 17 with a paying adult: $6. Members and Children under 5 with a paying adult: Free. Tours are approximately 45 minutes and depart every 30 minutes.
Washington Irving's Sunnyside
9 West Sunnyside Lane
Irvington, New York 10533
Where to Dine
We had a memorable dinner at The Supper Room at Glenmere Mansion where Executive Chef Rob Stella and Executive Pastry Chef Taiesha Martin are the talents in the kitchen complemented by passionate Sommelier Michael A. Cimino, and an excellent dining room team.
The Supper Room
The ambience in The Supper Room is romantic and stately with its high ceiling, wide ivory crown molding accenting the chocolate brown walls, elegant white fireplace graced with fresh tulips and candles on the mantle, hand-painted decorative glass screens, French doors framed with ivory window treatments providing glimpses of the stunning landscaped gardens and Glenmere Lake, classical piano music gently wafts in from the Living Room, and the service is impeccable.
The Living Room
Chef Rob Stella is a culinary artist where his visual arrangements stimulated our appetites before we even lifted our forks. A few highlights of our dinner included Roasted Hudson Valley Foie Gras with Rhubarb Sorbet, Toasted Brioche, and Salted Marcona Almonds; and Labelle Farm "Duck a l'Orange" with Glazed Baby Leeks, Thumbelina Carrots, Spiced Orange, which were perfectly paired by Sommelier Michael A. Cimino.
Pastry Chef Taiesha Martin's inspired desserts and Owner Daniel DeSimone's Dan's Lemon Meringue Cake, were the perfect foil to a lovely dinner at The Supper Room at Glenmere Mansion.
The Supper Room is open for dinner Thursday through Saturday. There are 2 seatings: at 6:00 pm and 8:15 pm, and there is a Champagne Brunch on Sundays from 11:00 am until 2:00 pm.
Read about The Supper Room in the Restaurants section, and in the Chefs' Recipes section where Chef Rob Stella and Chef Taiesha Martin graciously share a few of their recipes to provide a delectable glimpse of The Supper Room at Glenmere Mansion, Chef Rob Stella - Recipes - The Supper Room at Glenmere Mansion, and Chef Taiesha Martin - Recipes - The Supper Room at Glenmere Mansion.
Read about Glenmere Mansion in the Hotels and Resorts section.
The Supper Room
634 Pine Hill Road
Chester, New York 10918
With its close proximity to New York, as well as its diverse attractions, the historic Hudson Valley is a perfect all-season getaway waiting for you to discover.
Read more about the Hudson Valley in the Hotels and Resorts, Restaurants, and Chefs' Recipes - Chef Rob Stella - Recipes - The Supper Room at Glenmere Mansion, and Chef Taiesha Martin - Recipes - The Supper Room at Glenmere Mansion sections.
For additional information on the historic Hudson Valley, please visit the website: www.HudsonValley.org.
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