One of the many treasures of Hyde Park along the Hudson is the Vanderbilt estate, with its beautiful grounds, ample parking, gorgeous views of the river, and, of course, the mansion. All of this is maintained by the National Park Service (NPS).
One part of the estate, however, that’s worth a visit is maintained not by the National Park Service but rather by an organization of volunteers – the Frederick W. Vanderbilt Garden Association (FWVGA). Since 1984, working together with the NPS, volunteers of the FWVGA have worked
to restore the Italian-style garden that was created by Frederick W. Vanderbilt but that fell into decay following his death in 1938 and the transfer of the property to the NPS in 1940. Over the years the volunteers, in conjunction with the NPS and with the support of numerous businesses, have worked to recover the glory of the tiered garden by removing sod from the erstwhile beds, cultivating the soil, planting thousands of annuals and perennials (including 1200 rose plants), and rehabilitating a fountain and pool. The full story can be found on the FWVGA website.
FWVGA volunteers offer free tours of the garden on the third Sunday of each month during the summer. If you just enjoy gardens, are interested in formal gardens of the Gilded Age era, or enjoy talking with committed people who are doing great work, take a trip to the Vanderbilt Estate and visit the resurrected garden there.