Vassar Student Association

Exploring the Hudson Valley: Italian Gardens at the Vanderbilt Mansion

Italian Gardens at the Vanderbilt Mansion


For Vassar students looking for a springtime or autumnal picnic, look no further than the Italian Gardens at the Vanderbilt Mansion.

Located in Hyde Park, the Vanderbilt Estate is one of the oldest country estates in America. The 600-acre property was purchased in 1895 by Frederick Vanderbilt. The property features beautiful views of the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains.

Like most nineteenth-century estates, Vanderbilt installed a large, formal garden. An avid gardener himself, Vanderbilt established an Italian-style, terrace garden containing many varieties of roses and perennials. After his death in 1938, the gardens were not maintained and soon fell into ruin. Thankfully, they have been recently restored, and include beautifully cleaned reflecting pools, refaced terrace and all sorts of flowers. Since the Frederick Vanderbilt Garden Association was formed in 1984, large-scale efforts have been underway to restore the Gardens to their appearance in the 1930s.

Strapped for cash? Don’t worry. Admission to the Gardens is free. You’ll be charged a small fee for a tour of the Mansion, but the student price is quite reasonable. The Mansion, designed by noted architects McKim, Mead and White, is well worth the visit. Vassar students will be pleasantly suprised by the accessibility of this historical spot.

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