Everyone who is anyone, and those that wish to be, are abuzz with the upcoming wedding that is to take place in Rhinebeck this weekend. Unfortunately some seem a little put off and disgruntled by the affair. (Most likely the same folks that clog up the intersections on a regular basis driving their children two blocks away 5 or six times a day.) But groans and moans about traffic and commotion aside, it is nice to recall the attraction of this special town I call home.
While the Hudson Valley is certainly and apparently a natural choice for the wedding of Chelsea Clinton or anyone else for that matter, Rhinebeck is truly spectacular. I can think of no other setting that closely embodies the best features of the Hudson Valley in history, beauty and romance. The splendor of the valley, the Hudson River views framed by the rolling hills of the Catskills and Shawangunks, make this an area unique and abundant with visual charms. Isn’t that what most brides wish for? A beautiful visual back-drop that will frame the event?
The early Hudson River exploration lead to settlements that were among the first in our nation. This is a region founded for freedom in a state that early on offered varied resources and forward thinking. What's not to love? Few other early colonies were open to diversity and valued tolerance. Numerous industry magnates who built up this nation, culled this region for their leisure. This is evidenced in the many Hudson Valley estates that enrich the scenery. Wouldn’t the former President’s daughter want national history to be sprinkled about without overshadowing her day?
Gore Vidal, once and for many years, a resident of Barrytown, noted the Hudson Valley’s long standing attraction with the rich and influential. He observed the positioning of the homes of the Roosevelts, Vanderbilts, Astors, Delanos, Millses, Chanlers, Aldriches, and Montgomerys. Lined up along the Hudson River from Staatsburgh to Clermont with Rhinebeck in the center. Proudly and dramatically. Vidal observed, as these wealthy American’s began examining their brief national history, they collectively gathered inspiration from their European heritage. This is evident in the design and construction of their country homes. Gothic architecture is a theme throughout some of the estates and detailed in numerous village homes. Vidal also decribed the interest and correlation to democratic ideals of ancient Greeks as the inspiration for the Greek Revival style evidenced in many of these homes and landscape designs. It is worth noting that Poughkeepsie and Hudson stretch this landscape with Locust Grove and Olana. I believe a tour through Olana boasts the relics of the Parthenon picked up, rather innocently, on a vacation. The Clinton’s may not appeal to all, however, the nation was certainly on an economic upturn during President Clinton’s command. Remember the word surplus? Wealth, abundance, productivity? (I think Bush is the antonym for surplus and Obama’s promise of hope seems a fuzzy dream. Too bad he won’t be able to attend- the charms of this region could certainly inspire.)
Perhaps Hillary Rodham Clinton’s interest and admiration for Eleanor Roosevelt is what introduced the Clinton’s to this area. Perhaps, the beauty alone was enough of a draw. We, who make our homes in this area, are truly lucky to start each day amidst the storied pines of Ferncliff Forest, the meandering stone walls and the newly burgeoning, organic, as well as, the long established farmlands. The vast estates don’t hurt either.
Best Wishes to Chelsea and Mark and thank you for helping to remind us of our daily good fortune. Rather than groan and complain about the traffic, or whether or not Bill will personally pay the local police for their additional tasks, why not pack a picnic and head to one of the other local estates. Blythewood at Bard boasts a beautiful garden with a fountain leaving you to feel like you just walked into "The Secret Garden". At any moment a wood sprite will meander through playing Pan’s flute. The children can frolic and dirty their knickers the way the little Vanderbilts, or Astors, or Alriches once did. Perhaps you can drive through Barrytown and guess where Gore Vidal once lived. Maybe you’ll spot some other famous visitors. Peter Dinklage is known to travel these parts. I’ve had the great pleasure of spotting him on three separate occasions. I don’t believe he offered to pay any police for the cost of his fame. Oh, you don’t know who he is? Oh, everyone that’s anyone knows who he is! Look around. Enjoy. And I might actually say hello familiar-like the next time I see Mr. Dinklage, unless it causes a ruckus, or slows traffic, or I become star struck.
Hey, on second thought, stay off the streets, have a Peter Dinklage film festival, give me a call, I'll bring the popcorn, or the syrup covered spaghetti, (wink) maybe the leftover Amtrak snack-pack(wink-wink). Ok, Im giving too much away.