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TOUR SCHEDULE 2 tours listed  » Show Past Tours

 Sunday May 31
FERRY, SUBWAY & WALKING TOUR: Join Justin Ferate as we travel the length of Staten Island to discover vestiges of the island’s rich past. Meet at the Manhattan Terminal of the Staten Island Ferry and travel across New York's Harbor, on an historic ferry journey initiated by a young Staten Islander, one Cornelius Van Der Bilt.

Once on Staten Island, we'll travel overland on SIR (Staten Island Railway) to the end of the line: Tottenville. The SIR train line was once the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and is now operated by the MTA. Tottenville was once the major New York ferry connection for Perth Amboy, New Jersey. The village still has unusual remnants of its maritime past. We'll see 19th Century houses of ship's captains and Victorian country villas. There's even a library by Carrère & Hastings, architects of the New York Public Library! We’ll make a special visit to Tina Kaasman-Dunn ‘s delightful home – an enchantingly restored 19th century gentleman’s country estate in the style of A. J. Downing. We’ll also view the Henry Biddle Mansion, a NYC Landmark Greek Revival mansion built circa 1850. The front and rear facades are identical, each boasting of a magnificent two-story portico – one of which overlooks the waterfront.

As special treat, we will tour Conference House, the 1680s stone house built by British naval officer, Captain Christopher Billop. At an unsuccessful peace conference here, during the American Revolution, the British government proposed to provide "clemency and full pardon to all repentant rebels." The unrepentant rebels (represented at the conference by Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Edward Rutledge) did not agree to the conditions offered and the War for Independence continued. Had this conference gone otherwise, the United States might still be part of Great Britain today.

 Sunday June 7
BUS TOUR: Take a summertime journey up the Hudson River. We have made special arrangements to visit Val-Kill, the very private “snuggery” of Eleanor Roosevelt. Commemorate the life and work of this outstanding woman in American history. Discover more about the humanitarian concerns to which she devoted her considerable intellect.

At Noon, we will tour Springwood, the lifelong home of Franklin D. Roosevelt – America’s only 4-term President. After the tour, time will be allotted for picnic lunches and to visit the FDR Presidential Library and Museum, operated by the National Archives. Stroll the grounds, walk the trails of this 300-acre site, or view the gravesites of Franklin, Eleanor, and their beloved Scottie dog “Fala,”

At 3:30 PM, we will tour the Frederick Vanderbilt Mansion, a grand architectural representation of the era Mark Twain called "The Gilded Age." McKim, Mead and White designed the handsome neoclassical mansion in 1898. In 1906, Whitney Warren, the Vanderbilt relative who co-designed Grand Central Terminal, made final alterations to the mansion.

The mansion remains much as it was – sited on 600 acres – purchased because of Mr. Vanderbilt’s love of horticulture. The beautiful grounds include walking trails, formal gardens, and a spectacular view of the Hudson River. Until the 1930s, lavish parties and balls were held here in the summer and fall. Guests were drawn from America's wealthiest families and European nobility. The mansion required a staff of seventeen workers, including Hyde Park townspeople. The mansion’s own farm provided the meats, fruits, and vegetables for the larder.

If time permits, we’ll also visit St. James Church, an important spiritual anchor for the Roosevelt and Vanderbilt families and the site selected by President Roosevelt for his funeral service.

Please bring your own Picnic Lunch with beverage. There are no food services on site.
You may want to bring a snack or beverage for the bus ride.

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