Hudson Valley

The Hudson River, although most commonly associated with New York City, actually originates up in the Adirondack mountains in upstate New York, near the Canadian border, and flows through the Hudson Valley. In Poughkeepsie, NY there is a walkway over the Hudson River which has amazing views over the river and the surrounding area. At 2063 metres long (1.2 miles), it is the longest footbridge in the world and was considered an engineering marvel at the time of its opening as a railway bridge in 1889. The railway bridge was in use until 1974, it was restored and reopened as a footbridge in 2009.

Even when visiting on a beautifully warm autumn afternoon, in the middle of the bridge at 65 metres above the water level there was a strong refreshing breeze which left some incredible knots in my hair! If you plan on doing this walk during the winter come well prepared in your finest arctic expedition outfits! The walkway is a popular spot for charity and fundraising events. On the day that we visited the walkway there were hundreds of people doing a sponsored walk to raise money for ALS research which gave the bridge a lively atmosphere for our 2.4 mile walk.

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View from the Walkway

After a breezy walk over the bridge and back we drove to the neighbouring town of Hyde Park to visit Springwood, the Roosevelt family estate. Many of the old wealthy families of New York, such as the Roosevelt and Vanderbilt families, have homes in this area along the bank of the Hudson River as it was a much more pleasant place to spend the summer than in the heat of the city. Before the invention of air conditioning the breeze from the river provided relief from the heat and the dense trees gave shelter from the sun. We took a walk down from the house towards the river and one of the several trails led to the Vanderbilt estate only about two miles further along the river. Judging by the lack of real estate in the area, the Vanderbilts were probably considered close neighbours of the Roosevelt family.

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Franklin D Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor are both buried in a beautiful and peaceful hedge-enclosed flower garden in the grounds of the estate, between the house and the presidential library. The Franklin D Roosevelt Presidential Library is the first presidential library in the US, built to hold the records of the 32nd president of the United States. Outside the library is a sculpture called the Freedom Court which is carved from a section of the Berlin Wall. Either side of the sculpture are statutes of Franklin D Roosevelt and Winston Churchill as the fall of the Berlin Wall was a realisation of their shared vision of peace and unity within Europe.

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