What a Val-Killjoy


Oh my. What a boring utterly uninspiring tour today of Val-Kill, Eleanor Roosevelt’s home. Not entirely the fault of the guide, she did speak loudly and clearly, easily heard, but the entire spiel was about Eleanor, her career, her life. And did I mention civil rights? It was THE core of the tour talking points. I thought I was there to tour the home, the buildings, expecting to arrive knowing about Eleanor. Wrong.

The whole day was a bit off. We arrived early for our tour and thought we’d mosey over to the visitors center but the woman on the shuttle bus said if you hurry, you can catch the tour that just started.

Good basic idea, but I had to pee but we were told to hurry so I struck the double pike position and prayed I didn’t have to sneeze or laugh hard!

The tour started with a movie, of which we missed more than half, and of course, opening a door and walking into a dark room, the others groaned, thinking, can’t you at least be on time?

When the movie was over and we exited, two lines formed. Two people to my left said to me, you first, and I replied to the woman, no, you and your son go ahead.

Only one slight problem. The son was a short woman with short hair. They were a couple, not mother and son. Plus, I still had to pee. See why bowling would have been better?

Biggest gyp, of the entire house, we saw all of three rooms. Three. No mention of the kitchen or where the staff slept. No view of the bedrooms. Nothing upstairs. Gyp.

The front door
The front door

No flash photography inside and with few windows and dim lamps on, the photos are as lackluster as the day.

The office and sitting room
The office and sitting room
The dining room
The dining room
The living room
The living room
The house, from the back
The house, from the back

The group on the tour didn’t seem interested to ask any questions. I asked two, could have asked twenty more, but hated to be THAT person who holds up the works. We were in and out of the cottage in under thirty minutes.

The grounds weren’t all that pretty either. No view of the Hudson but I can see how it matched Eleanor’s personality and it was a home that made her happy. Whether I liked it or not was unimportant.

Drove back a different way, through Poughkeepsie and really had forgotten how rundown and impoverished what I saw of it was. Burned out shells of homes. Boarded up homes. Some pretty tree lined streets but not a population that wants top buy one up and fix it. Such a shame.

Feet up for a bit. Tomorrow is the Philip Johnson Glass House in New Canaan. I’m sure I’ll most definitely be inspired there.

18 thoughts on “What a Val-Killjoy

  1. Oh noes. I was sure you’d love Val-Kill because it’s understated, like you. We had a great young tour guide who talked a lot about the structure. Too bad.

    The “after you” line was hysterical. Did you avoid their eyes the rest of the tour?

    1. Perhaps it was the whole day that made my review of the house less than stellar. I was bothered we saw so little of the house. What’s the point of seeing three rooms?

      Our guide was perfectly pleasant. She was personable too, she just felt she needed to talk about civil rights more than anything.

      1. have you been to Sagamore Hill, Teddy Roosevelt’s place in Oyster Bay? Or the Barnum and Bailey museum in Bridgeport? Bibi

        1. Bibi. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Sagamore Hill. I should do that again but it means going to Long Island. I’ll wait til autumn.
          No to the Barnum and Bailey museum. I’ll check it out. Thanks for the idea, especially since I AM a graduate of the Big Apple Clown College.

      1. no! go! it would be interesting to get your take on not only the Glass House, but, the other structures as ‘composition’.

  2. have you been to Boscobel, or Hyde Park. I liked both of those.
    sorry your day was so disappointing.

    1. I’ve been to pretty much every historic site around. Loved Boscobel. Loved Hyde Park. That’s why I was expecting more today. Oh well.

  3. Probably too late for you this year but have you been to Shelburne Museum and Shelburne Farm in VT? They are close but not adjacent to each other. The museum is a delight. Too many features to list here so Google it. The farm is up the road a piece and worth a look if you’re in the neighborhood.
    (Whatever happened to Maggie? Wasn’t she planning a VT honeymoon?)
    It has been years since I was there but I quite liked the Norman Rockwell museum in Stockbridge, MA.

    1. As a wedding present, we gave Maggie one of our RI rentals to use for part of her honeymoon with the caveat if she blogged about it she couldn’t say it was from us. They went elsewhere on the east coast where Maggie has family. She stopped blogging for months because her older daughter was in serious car accident and Maggie sat day and night in the hospital. They got the dreaded phone call every parent fears.
      Mr. EOS and I did a Vermont loop a while ago. Didn’t I blog about it? Sherbourne is incredibly beautiful.

      1. I don’t remember reading about a trip you took to VT so it probably was before I discovered CF and through his blog, you.
        Exceedingly generous and kind of you to offer Maggie an Ocean State cottage. I followed her until she got that terrible call. Kind of lost track after that.

  4. EOSr:

    Such a fascinating woman. GROUNDBREAKING!! Revolutionary. Did you know she was the first – and only – First “Lady” to ever hold a press conference? I wish I sent you some questions to ask on my behalf. But let me posit them to you, in case you may have asked them, or know the answers. Ok? OK!!

    Did everyone know she was a lezbo, and just pretend she wasn’t, or did she have the whole Liberace shtick going on?

    Which room was her Lezbo love nest? Did it still have a musky love smell to it? How often did Lorena Hickcok stay there?

    Are we going to get to visit the room where Eleanor stored her strap on collection? PLEASE!!

    Is it true Eleanor’s feet were so big, her shoes had to be custom made? And that Fala was so scared of her cyclops feet, whenever she saw them she pooped on the rug? Fala, not Eleanor.

    What advice do you think she would have for Hildabeast? One Lezbo to another.

    I have more, but that should be good for a start.

    Your Pal,

    1. The guide skirted around Eleanor’s sexual preference but what’s interesting is that even if she were gay, NTTIAWWT, she held true to her husband. I think many lesbian women of yore decided to get married in the traditional sense, have a husband and children. Maybe some buried their lesbian desires, some may have had women lovers on the side. Of course, it’s not as if Franklin was faithful so perhaps they had an open marriage.

      You should have been along. Your questions would have at least stopped the civil rights agenda our guide was on.

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