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“Don't Miss This Hidden Gem”
Review of Val-Kill Cottage

Val-Kill Cottage
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Hudson Valley New York Great Estates Pass
Ranked #3 of 21 things to do in Hyde Park
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The home of Eleanor Roosevelt that is located on the Roosevelt estate and is open to the public.
New York
Level 6 Contributor
284 reviews
144 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 159 helpful votes
“Don't Miss This Hidden Gem”
Reviewed June 12, 2012

Most visitors to Hyde Park visit the FDR home and library and the Vanderbilt Mansion and maybe the CIA, all easily accesible from Route 9.

But I'll bet most miss the Val-Kill Cottage on Route 9, just a stone's throw away from these other attractions.

This was Eleanor Roosevelt's home after FDR died and the FDR mansion became a National Park Site. She lived here for 17 years after he died, and the decor, furnishings, tons of photos, etc., give you a clear idea of the fact that she wasn't one for a lot of fancy trappings. Yet is was clear that world leaders (and leaders-to-be like JFK) beat a path to her door for her advice or approval. It speaks volumes about her lifestyle and personality.

It is a beautiful quiet setting by a lake. The National Park Service guide did an excellent job. Leave yourself at least 90 minutes for the tour and visit (there's an introductory movie ahead of the tour).

Visited June 2012
1 Thank SabreSailor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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409 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Level 6 Contributor
99 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
“Purely Eleanor”
Reviewed May 25, 2012

The FDR permanent Library was closed for renovation but we toured all the other properties, now manned by the National Park Service and found Val-Kill to be the highlight. Eleanor Roosevelt's home began as a workshop for poor farmers in the area but eventually was converted to a warm, comfortable, friendly and, yes, cluttered place that she could actually call "home." Part of the "cottage" was an apartment for her secretary Tommy Thompson. We were able to see this home as it was when Eleanor was there albeit some items duplicating the originals. There were many family artifacts and we were smitten with the warmth of her living room with its fireplace, comfortable chairs, piano, radio and an ancient TV.
It was here that Eleanor entertained countless dignitaries and diplomats and met with JFK when he came to her, pleading for her support in his candidacy. A wonderful history lesson in that home and a reflection of a remarkable women.

Visited May 2012
2 Thank Evergreen007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 6 Contributor
302 reviews
63 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 176 helpful votes
Reviewed May 18, 2012

Seeing Val-Kill gives you insight about the true Eleanor Roosevelt. The film is excellent but the house tour was a bit long for such a small place. Perhaps it was the weather but the air quality inside made us want to move through much more quickly than we did.

Visited May 2012
Thank gailmath
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sacramento, California
Level 6 Contributor
173 reviews
47 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
“Warning: tour for die-hard Eleanor Roosevelt fans only!”
Reviewed May 17, 2012

We joined the introductory movie in progress, which was good. Then the tour started. The cottage is very humble, perhaps reminsicent of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple's abode. Maybe we were worn out from another tour (Vanderbilt, much better I thought) that morning, but when our well meaning guide droned on about every darn photo in the living room, I just about lost it. Another couple escaped out the back door.
Much of the home is not original. Eleanor's son turned it into apartments after she died. They have done their best to recreate it, getting back some of the original items.
However, if you are an ardent Roosevelt devotee, you might suffer the boring parts to see the house.
The grounds are very pretty.

Visited May 2012
Thank TravelLightOften
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saugerties, New York
Level 6 Contributor
120 reviews
52 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
“The other Roosevelt Mansion”
Reviewed May 16, 2012

Enjoyed my visit to Val-Kill. The tour guide was well versed in the historical facts.

Thank Rudder H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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