Described by Franklin D. Roosevelt as "a hideous albatross in the Hudson River Valley," the Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park is located just two miles from the one-time home of FDR.
Built by the grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt and designed by the famed New York architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White on estate grounds dating back to 1764, the 54-room, gilded-age stone mansion is a Beaux-Arts conflation of a neo-Classical exterior and American Rannaissance interior, surrounded by formal Italianate gardens.
It is one of the oldest Hudson River estates, and was the first in the town of Hyde Park to be electrified. It is just one of many grand estates built by the Vanderbilt family at the turn of the century, many of which are now historic sites.
Despite his personal reservations about the building's style, FDR himself signed the papers to designate the structure as a National Historic Site in 1940. The estate now provides guided and self-guided tours of the the grounds, library, and FDR's "Top Cottage" retreat, built for the pirpose of "escaping the mob at Springwood.