Renaissance Weekend

Renaissance Weekend

Autumn Harvest 2014, Hudson River Valley

October 17—20, 2014
Stunning History, Arts & Scenery Neighboring Manhattan

Sleepy Hollow folklore envelops the Mary Duke Biddle mansion's 26-acre conference-center campus, overlooking the Hudson River only 25 miles from Manhattan and an easy fall-foliage, scenic drive to West Point, FDR's Hyde Park home & other historic landmarks, art of the Hudson River School, Dia:Beacon & Storm King Sculpture Park, the Rockefeller Family estate, acclaimed restaurants, antiquing in enthralling towns, and hiking through the Rockefeller State Preserve.

Less than 45 days before the Weekend, a $150/person Late Fee applies. Autumn is an extremely busy time in the Hudson Valley. Accommodations at the meeting site, Tarrytown House Estate, will likely be fully booked by August 1.

"In the bosom of one of those spacious covers which indent the eastern shore of the Hudson, at the broad expansion of the river denominated by the ancient Dutch navigators the Tappan Zee, ... there lies a small market town, known by the name of Tarrytown." So begins Washington Irving's immortal tale of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow."

On a 26-acre wooded estate overlooking the Hudson River, two 19th-century mansions - the larger having been the summer residence of Ambassador Anthony Drexel Biddle and his wife, Mary Duke Biddle, their cottages and carriage house have been integrated into the Tarrytown House Estate & Conference Center, only 25 miles from Manhattan.

The property's state-of-the-art meeting facilities - including indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis & racquetball courts, a fitness center and spa treatment rooms, and casual accommodations - have been noted as an intellectual center, frequented by leaders ranging from Margaret Mead and Judith Crist to film & industry titans, and the United Nations Security Council.

Sleepy Hollow Country is rich with enthralling history and folklore, as well as spectacular scenery, particularly in autumn. Because this Weekend commences with Friday dinner and concludes with the Monday lunch program - with many simultaneous sessions scheduled all-day Saturday, as well as Sunday and Monday mornings, participants can enjoy lunch "on-your-own," and the Hudson River Valley's many attractions and restaurants Sunday afternoon after 1 pm.

To sample a greater variety of Hudson River Valley experiences, participants are encouraged to stay Thursday night at one of any of the inviting inns and/or B&Bs closer to the Valley's historic sites and spend Friday sight-seeing in the region. Some may choose to enjoy Monday afternoon sight-seeing and stay Monday night at one of such lodging alternatives or in New York City.

Close by the Conference Center are Washington Irving's enchanted residence, Sunnyside, the Old Dutch Church & Cemetery his writings made famous, and the tycoon Jay Gould's 19th-century mansion, Lyndhurst, now a National Trust property. A short drive away is Kykuit, the Rockefeller Family estate, with its extraordinary architecture, gardens, history and art accessible to visitors, as are the Philipsburg Manor, an 18th-century milling/trading complex, and van Cortlandt Manor, a Revolutionary patriot's family compound. Among the vicinity's sights are the Matisse and Chagall windows of Pocantico Hills Union Church.

Nearby, David Rockefeller's Stone Barns Center demonstrates sustainable food production and features the nationally-celebrated restaurant, Blue Hill, which requires considerably advanced reservations. Not far away are the John Jay and Samuel F.B. Morse homesteads. And a variety of art museums feature the works of Thomas Cole and other Hudson River School painters.

Art-lovers will be tempted to drive a bit farther to witness Storm King, one of the world's preeminent sculpture parks: 500 acres dotted with 100 sculptures by some of the most honored artists of the past century. Those interested in contemporary art will be well-acquainted with Dia:Beacon, the renowned collection/exhibition that can also be visited on Sunday or Monday afternoon or on Friday.

Among the other historic landmarks within an easy drive of Tarrytown are Franklin Roosevelt's Hyde Park home and Presidential Library and the US Military Academy at West Point, with its Military Museum. Either would be a memorable, scenic and substantive destination for the Friday before this Weekend or Monday after the lunch program concludes.

Equally compelling are afternoons of antiquing in quaint towns and villages. Outdoor enthusiasts - hikers, joggers, horseback riders, and leisurely strollers alike - can enjoy the autumn foliage, carriage roads, stone bridges, pathways, and woodlands of the 1,400-acre Rockefeller State Preserve. Here, birders can be on the lookout for any of the 180 species which have been recorded, and anglers can enjoy bass fishing in Swan Lake and trout fishing in the Pocantico River. Within the Preserve, the foundation of William Rockefeller's original home, an Olmstead-designed landscape, has a panoramic view of the Hudson River.

The nearby, renowned restaurant Blue Hill at Stone Barns - offering multi-course, local-sourced, farmers' feasts - takes reservations by phone up to two months in advance of the date, from 9 a.m., and typically becomes fully booked within hours. Renaissance Weekend participants seeking to experience Blue Hill should independently call the restaurant on August 16th and make reservations for dinner on Thursday, October 16th so they may enjoy the region all day on Friday before the 3-day Renaissance Weekend commences with Friday night's dinner.

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