KINDERHOOK, NY – This week, the National Park Getaway series of travel articles takes readers to the Hudson Valley of New York. Lindenwald, the lush estate of the nation’s eighth president, makes an inviting destination during the heat of late summer. A must-see here is the mansion in which Martin Van Buren spent the last 21 years of his life. The house dates to 1797, although its original Georgian style was altered in the 1850s. The house was doubled in size, painted yellow, and adorned with a variety of architectural elements to make it reminiscent of Italianate villas.
Perhaps the greatest wealth of Lindenwald, however, lies not in its elegant facade, nor in its fashionably decorated interior, but in the collection of stories it frames. Van Buren’s home affords insight not only into his biography, but into the lives of 19th-century Americans from a variety of backgrounds. The story of the female servants on the estate has received special attention, while the life stories of the president and his acquaintances, such as Henry Clay, serve as windows onto the complicated, riveting story of pre-Civil War tensions in the United States.
For more about Lindenwald, check out this week’s Getaway article at www.nps.gov/getaways. From the same website, you can access the archive that holds the 113 previous articles in the Getaway series. Each week’s installment introduces readers to a place where they can connect with nature, history, family, and friends.