Back in the late 1800s, when settlers were first discovering the wonders of upstate New York, they only knew the locales of both the French and English countrysides to mimic. And so, they landscaped this new America to be as what they had back in their own homelands. Many a mansion has been built up here in the Hudson Valley, along side the historic Hudson River with the majestic Catskill Mountain views in the background, that would make even the likes of Downton Abbey green with envy. Today, many of these old, esteemed estates have been turned over to the State Of New York because the traditional families who owned these properties could no longer care for them. Needless to say, NYS has done an outstanding job (IMHO click here for more information on Mills Mansion) of up-keeping the landscapes as well as the exterior and interior conditions of the mansions. The property grounds have been open up to the public at no charge and every holiday season the mansions offer seasonal tours of the mansion’s interior.

My husband, doggie and I love taking walks along these public trails. It’s as if we have stepped back in time. You can almost hear the horses and carriages as they lined up at the front gate, waiting on a party or some celebration as only the Parisians could do so well. The grounds are perfectly landscaped with trees pleasantly placed alongside the perfectly winding walkway that many an aristocrat had escorted their respective ladies along. If I closed my eyes, I could pretend that my husband was Ogden Mills, owner of this magnificent estate; I was his bride, Ruth Livingston Mills. It would be The Guilded Age (1876-1917) all over again. Built in 1896 (after five exhausted years) The Livingston Manor is a perfect example of Beaux-Arts architecture. The mansion and the grounds never cease to amaze me. It’s my very own private, European Escape.

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