Tag: Exploring Rhinebeck NY

The Century Museum and Collectors Association         Dutchess County Fairgrounds                                               6636 Route 9                                                                Rhinebeck, NY 12572

The Century Museum and Collectors Association Dutchess County Fairgrounds 6636 Route 9 Rhinebeck, NY 12572

The Century Museum and Collectors Association Dutchess County Fairgrounds 6636 Route 9 Rhinebeck, NY 12572

(845) 876-4000



Open: When the fairgrounds are open Spring, Summer and Fall for events

Admission: Free

My review on TripAdvisor:

The Century Museum Village inside the Dutchess County Fairgrounds

When the Dutchess County Fairgrounds are open for the season for big events in the Spring, Summer and Fall, the fairgrounds open their historical museums that are located on the property. These include the School House Museum and the Train Station Museum and the when the volunteers are there the Dutchess County Volunteer Firemen’s Museum. The main museum is the Century Museum Village, a look at rural life in Dutchess County at the turn of the last century.

The Schoolhouse Museum in the Century Museum Village

The Train Station Museum at the Century Museum Village

The Century Museum Village gives an interesting look of the changes in life in rural communities all over the United States until the start of WWII. Farming communities had their own way of life, their own clubs and organizations and traditions that were different from City residents. Life on the farm was productive but hard work. As time rolled on, modern conveniences found their way to these communities but as we see by all the machinery, there was still a lot of work to done.

As you progress through the different displays and dioramas, you can see how life improved over time. Progress swept through these communities between WWI and WWII and with the spread of the second industrial revolution after WWII and the change of the consumer market. The advent of the modern highways, the newly built suburbs and movement out of the cities changed these regions even more.

The entrance of the museum and the various dioramas

The museum is lined with different displays of life in the rural community and the advancements made in these communities between about 1880-1930.

The Advancement in farming practices and equipment

Ice block industry for refrigeration

The household for the farmhouse wife started to become easier with new machinery to help around the house. Modern ways of washing clothes, cooking food and cleaning the house started to make life a bit easier in the household. This left time for a social life and to tend to other things around the house.

The Modern Conveniences of the home

The modern household items to make life easier from 1870-1929

The modern kitchen before electricity came out to the country was still run by coal and wood. Modern electricity would not start until after WWI and even then was not available to everyone. Cooking and washing had gotten easier but still required some work on a everyday basis.

The Kitchen in the Country

The home decor had changed after the Civil War to WWI with the changes in mass production and industrialization. Furniture, rugs, lamps and pictures had become available in all makes and sizes for sale both through catalogs and General stores or maybe a trip to the City to a Department store. People were able to furnish their homes nicer due to mass production and changes in quality of home furnishings.

The Rural Bedroom

Bedrooms have not changed much since then

The idea of the Parlor is equivalent to our modern Living Room. It is usually the room that all socializing is done in, where the family’s best furniture and knick-knacks were placed. It was the nicest room in the house.

The Rural Parlor

The finest home furnishes and the pride of the home was displayed in the parlor.

Both inside and outside the home there would be changes in the way people lived over a fifty year period. There would be changes in plumbing, carpentry and printing. Modernization would change the way people did their jobs and the way they interacted with their customers.

Modern Machinery

A better way to chop wood

Modern pump processes

Shopping was beginning to change after the Civil War as well. The days of people making everything at home was not longer necessary as more and more consumer items became available. Clothing, dishes, toys and hardware could be bought at the General store along with prepared and bakery items. It made life for the rural housewife easier.

The General Store

Prepared items in the General Store

The bakery items and things for sale at the General Store

Quilting has always been a social affair with women meeting and gossiping while working on projects on their own or one big project for the home.

Women working together making quilts and sewn items for the home.

Crocheting for the home

Use of Looms for clothing and rugs

Modern printing took a turn as more modern machines made it easier to produce printing items for playbills, newspapers and magazines. The end of the WWI our modern magazines were being created. The way trades were changing more modern equipment was being used in every industry.

The Printing Press as things start to automat

The Clock Maker

Wood Harvesting

Transportation continued to improve as we moved from the horse and buggy to the modern carriage to the automobile. Improvements continued when mass production started with the Model T Ford and just kept improving. Still even today we like the idea of horse drawn carriages and sleigh rides as a traditional part of our past that we like to maintain especially during the holidays.

Horse Drawn carriages and Model T’s

The School House Museum:

The Modern School has not changed much since its rural past. I just think you can’t hit a student with a ruler anymore and I could not see a student with a Dunce cap in today’s politically correct world. The blackboard has not gone out of style as well as a teacher teaching the next generation.

The One Room School House Museum

The school room set up still remains the same to a certain point.

I don’t think would happen to the modern student

The One Room School House set up.

As the museum shows us, somethings have changed and some things remain the same. At some point, we did things right.

Wilderstein Historic Site                                                            330 Morton Road                                                        Rhinebeck, NY 12572

Wilderstein Historic Site 330 Morton Road Rhinebeck, NY 12572

Wilderstein Historic Site

330 Morton Road

Rhinebeck, New York 12572

(845) 876-4818



Open: Thursday-Sunday 1:00pm-4:00pm/Closed Monday-Wednesday

Fee: $10.00 donation at the Holidays/$16.00 Adults/$10.00 Seniors & Students/Children Under 12 free

Visit Wilderstein-With its exquisite Queen Anne mansion and Calvert Vaux designed landscape, this historic estate is widely regarded as the Hudson Valley’s most important example of Victorian architecture.

TripAdvisor Review:


Wilderstein from the driveway at Christmas

I just visited Wilderstein for my third time at Christmas and it never gets boring. The house is so beautiful on its own, with its elegant woodwork and interesting family are portraits sometimes even the decorations get lost in its beauty.

The Wilderstein Carriage entrance

The entrance to Wilderstein at Christmas 2022

Only the first floor is open to tourists (the rest of the house is under restoration and they fare hoping to open some rooms on the second floor by 2020) so the tour of the Receiving Room, The Dining Room, Living Room, Kitchen and Library does not take too long. Though take time to admire the rooms full of furniture that was owned by the Suckely family.

When you walk into the main hallway, you are greeted by portraits of the Suckley family descendants who line the walls of the house.  To the left is the grand staircase to the upper floors and right behind that is the library.


The staircase was decorated for Christmas

Off to the right is the Receiving Room which is still in need of a renovation as the silk furnishings and wall coverings need a lot of work. Still there is almost rotting elegance to it all as if you can still see how beautiful the room must have looked when it was new.

That lead to the Family Living Room with it’s breathtaking views of the Hudson River. The room had the family Christmas tree in it and was all set out for tea. Here was one of the most livable rooms in the house where the family must have gathered every night to enjoy each others company.

The Formal Dining Room with its heavy wood paneling and carved wood work is extremely detailed accented by stained glass windows and more portraits of the family tree. The room was decked out with holiday decorations and laid out for Christmas dinner.

Wilderstein Mansion III.jpg

The Family Dining Room decked out for Christmas

Off to the side of the Dining Room was the Butler’s pantry which Ms. Suckley used as her kitchen in the later years and was equipped with a modern oven and refrigerator. It must have been a very comfortable place to cook in.

Down the hall off to the side of the formal staircase is the Library where Ms. Suckley slept in her later years but still had loads of books lining the walls and a giant fireplace in the middle of the wall to keep the room warm. The whole room was lined with ivy and garland which gave it a festive look.

Wilderstein Mansion Library.jpg

The Wilderstein Library decked out for Christmas

Touring the house takes about an hour as the first floor is the only floor open right now and there is only five rooms to tour. Take time to walk the grounds especially during the warmer months. There is a spectacular view of the Hudson River from the house and grounds. It must have been fun to sit on the veranda in the summer months and just look at the river.

Wilderstein Mansion View.jpg

The view from Wilderstein is amazing!

No wonder Daisy Suckley never wanted to leave this house.

The view of the lawn overlooking the Hudson River at Christmas time

History of Wilderstein Mansion:

The mansion: Originally built in 1852 as a restrained Italianate Villa, the house was transformed in 1888 into the elaborate Queen Anne Victorian mansion seen today. The house was designed by Poughkeepsie architect Arnout Cannon who transformed the original two story Italianate villa that had been designed in 1852 by architect John Warren Rich to the Queen Anne style mansion of today.

The Landscape: Renowned landscape architect Calvert Vaux designed Wilderstein’s romantic grounds taking advantage of the varied topography and magnificent views of the Hudson. It was laid out in the ‘American Romance’ style of landscape.

The Family: Wilderstein was home to three generations of the Suckley family. The last family member to live at Wilderstein was Margaret (Daisy)  Suckley, whose extraordinary friendship with Franklin Delano Roosevelt has been well-chronicled and is the subject of much interest.

The Mansion Interiors: Joseph Burr Tiffany decorated the first floor of the mansion in eclectic mix of styles. The interiors are virtually untouched since 1888 and contain original woodwork, stained glass, wall coverings and furniture.

Wilderstein at Christmas time

Mansion Information:

Directions: From the center of Rhinebeck travel south on Route 9, take first right to Mill Road and go 2.2 miles, take right to Morton Road (County Route 85) and Wilderstein’s entrance is one quarter mile on the left.

Hours: Tours May to October, Thursday through Sunday, from 1:00pm until 4:00pm (last tour at 3:30pm) and weekends in December. Group tours by advance reservation.

Disclaimer: This information is taken from the Wilderstein Historic Site pamphlet. Please call the site for more information.

The driveway at Wilderstein in the winter months