10/22/09

New York Day 5 – FDR, CIA, Vanderbilts and More

For our last full day in NY, we returned to the FDR site to resume our tour of the museum and explored the remaining exhibits (The New Deal, The Presidential Years).Next, we headed back to the CIA for lunch at one of the student run restaurants. Each student attends the school for 21 months, and the last several weeks are spent working in the kitchens and then in the front of various students restaurants on campus. We ate St. Andrew’s Cafe, which focuses on both local and heathful fare. We made the most of our experience and practically rolled out of the restaurant some time later. Here is a picture taken during dessert (Goatcheese Cheesecake, Milkshake Sampler, and Pear/Ginger Crisp).These last few days gave us beautiful weather to enjoy. We were happy to spend the rest of this afternoon touring the grand Vanderbilt Mansion and estate. Walking through this huge mansion, left almost entirely as it had been furnished in the late 1930s, was quite the experience. We also explored the gardens and riverfront, which gave us a wonderful opportunity to watch the colors shift as the sun went down.After a wild goose chase through Poughkeepsie to find the perfect restaurant for dinner, we headed back to the hotel to enjoy the last of our wine on our last evening on vacation. More Apples to Apples also rounded out the evening. Throughout our trip, we had some wonderful conversations – some funny, some serious, and always enlightening. It was a great experience to learn about people and events from a wide-range of time periods and then to discuss them with our fellow travelers.Where to go next…

10/22/09

New York Day 4 – FDR, ER, CIA

Day 4 of our trip was the day we were all waiting for: the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum! This was the first presidential museum and the only museum to have been built and opened with the president still in office. Located in Hyde Park, NY – it sits on a campus which includes FDR’s home, a National Historic Site, and is very close to Eleanor Roosevelt’s National Historic Site and the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site.We arrived bright and early at the Library/Museum and immediately secured tickets for the FDR Home tour. We enjoyed learning more about President Roosevelt and his family through the interesting tour through his home. By this point we had started to become quite good at evaluating tour guides, and Pres, our FDR Home guide, was one of the best. With clear enthusiasm for the subject and easy manor, we thoroughly enjoyed this tour.Next – the museum! We made it through the exhibit covering his boyhood and pre-presidential history before needing a lunch break. After grabbing a bit to eat at the museum’s cafe, we ventured across the way to Eleanor Roosevelt’s National Historic Site since our tickets would be good for two days. Here we toured the house that was to become her retreat (Val-Kill) when FDR was in Washington and after his death. We learned a lot at this site and felt a much greater appreciation for Eleanor Roosevelt and how she worked tirelessly to make the world a better place. Mike, in particular, become a huge ER fan.Cousin Christine had made reservations for us to tour the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), our next stop for the day. Our tour gave us great insight into life for these dedicated culinary students and we were even able to observe classes in session through large zoo-like windows. After the tour of the beautiful campus, we stopped by the student run Apple Pie Cafe and Bakery for some decadent and unique deserts (carrot cake pictured above).Again we returned to our hotel and ate at the nearby La Luna Pizzeria before retiring to our hotel room. We finished out the day enjoying wine from the winery, teaching Mike and Christine a new card game, and playing Apples to Apples into the wee hours. Who could ask for more?