Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Festive 500: Christmas Eve Edition

I decided to kick off the first day of the 2013 Rapha Festive 500 Challenge with a 50-mile loop from my house hugging the Hudson River. This enabled me to cross the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge to the north and the Walkway Over the Hudson to the south and take in several of the area's majestic mansions along the way.

As you might imagine, each of these homes affords an exceptional view of the Hudson and most take in the Catskill Mountains beyond as well. The photo above is the view the guests to the Wilderstein home would have enjoyed as they got out of their cars and climbed the stairs to the front door.

The grounds at the Mills Mansion, otherwise known as the Staatsburgh State Historic Site, are open to the public throughout the winter so locals can enjoy sledding down the wicked hill from the house to the river.

The Vanderbilt Mansion, immediately across the river from my house, is maintained by the National Park Service and open to visitors year-round.

The final home on my Festive 500 tour this morning was FDR's home in Hyde Park, which boast his presidential library in addition to his private residence as well as some interesting sculptures. The one below is made from a section of the Berlin Wall.

The robber barons were onto something. The Hudson Valley is truly breathtaking and serene, but the homes they left behind add a significant level of charm and beauty as well and these four homes are only the start.

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