Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Visiting the FDR and AER houses with GFJ

Believe it or not, I woke up "on time" today. But it helped that I had a full series of alarms set to wake me up in time to shave, shower, and dress, and get to Hyde Park by 12:30.

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There is still a part of me that would like to resume a relationship with GFJ. So I proceeded to drive to see her today, and use her new Senior Pass to get into the Eleanor Roosevelt and FDR homes for free. By the time I get to buy one, it will cost 8 times as much. OUCH! GFJ noted that it looks like we'll be going to these sites more often, but who knows....

First on our list of places to see was Eleanor Roosevelt's home, Val-Kill. Compared to the FDR home (which I've been to before), it is very cozy, and the kind of place where I would feel at home - If I had the money to afford a "cottage" like this.

Unlike the formality of FDR's place, virtually everyone (and that included all dignitaries) entered via the back door. As Mrs. Roosevelt said: "My back door is my front door." (I could think of many snarky comments for that line, but I'll leave them alone for now.) Entering into the home, one senses a warmth not found in the FDR house.

This is a cozy office, isn't it?  Yet, the house could and did hold "large" dinners for 30-40 people.

You will note this table is set for 6 people.  Often, she would use folding tables to seat large groups, as well as serve everything buffet style and have people seated in the living room.

One thing of note. Virtually all of the tables in the living room had folding leafs. This allowed people to bring their plates into this room, and have an informal dinner.  Our guide mentioned that Eleanor would often tell her cook to set the table for 10, and have 30 people come for dinner. So one cook of note always planned to cook for 40 people, no matter what Eleanor said at the beginning of the day.

Val-Kill is set on a beautiful piece of land. And the following shots should help illustrate that fact.

Could you imagine the views on this land in the Fall when the leaves change?  Eleanor had a better place to live than her husband. And that's saying a lot.

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Next came the FDR house.  This is where I wished we had the shade of a few trees for the walk to the house. (The following photo is the original main entrance to the property at 4 pm.)

And this is the house itself at 5 pm.

Since I've photographed and discussed this house before, I won't talk about this part of the day.   Instead, I'll forward to having dinner at the Hyde Park Brewery.

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Across the street from the FDR house is the Hyde Park Brewery.  GFJ suggested that we stop there for some food. And we enjoyed a nice chat over a very good meal.  I had the "Hangover Burger" with a beer, while GFJ had a salad. I highly recommend this place before "rush hour" begins (they open at 4 pm on weekdays) for a casual meal.  When you go there, look for the mosaic of Simple Simon and the Pie Man on the floor. You'd never know it, but the building used to be a Howard Johnson's, and they kept that one element after they overhauled the building to be what it is today.

When we got out of the restaurant, we noticed that there must have been a heavy rain, based on how much moisture was evaporating from the pavement.  We then kissed each other, and said goodbye.  At this point, I realized that the chemistry we once had was no longer there, and vowed to throw out the last of her things (a pillow) I still had in my place. After 5 months, I figure it's time to toss out the pillow, and wean myself from the past....

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