Nick Churton of Mayfair International Realty visits a rare and inspirational estate on the Hudson River in New York.
Broker: Houlihan Lawrence
Agent: John R Friend
Most people wouldn’t happily choose to live next to a major arterial route of any description. But here is a big exception, right next to the USA’s first important trunk road – the Hudson River. The 315-mile waterway has its source high in the Adirondack Mountains and flows into the Atlantic Ocean by New York City. On its way it cuts through the ancestral territories of the Iroquois and Mohican tribes. The river, that helps connect New York City with the Great Lakes, became the gateway to the American interior for early trappers and settlers. The English and Dutch colonised the wide fertile valley that became the inspiration for writers like James Fenimore Cooper, Washington Irving and Edith Wharton, and artists of the Hudson River School.
In the Gilded Age great industrialists and financiers such as the Vanderbilts, Rockefellers and Astors built fine homes alongside the river. These homes brought cool respite from the airless and repressive heat of summers in the city. Today many of these homes like Boscobel, Kykuit and the Vanderbilt Mansion are open to the public and are well worth visiting.
What is not open to the public is Atalanta in Red Hook, New York. Set in an elevated position on the eastern bank of the Hudson, Atalanta is not so much an estate as a small country – or so it seems. Approached through 289 acres of park, beautifully landscaped in the English style, the 16,000 square foot Georgian influenced main house (there are five others plus two apartments) was built in 1851 as the home for Franklin Hughes Delano and his wife, Laura Astor Delano on land received as a wedding gift from part of the Astors’ Rokeby estate.
For the serious buyer this is one of the most important private estates in the Hudson Valley.
For the serious equestrian there are impressive facilities include an eight stall barn with office, bathroom, tack room, feed room, heated indoor ring with man-made footing, and an outdoor dressage ring with GGT footing. Of course there is ample space for challenging cross-country and carriage driving courses.
For the serious wine collector there is a 5,000 bottle capacity wine cellar and delicious tasting room.
For the serious gardener there are formal walled gardens include a terraced boxwood parterre, a koi pond with fountains, a wisteria covered pergola and a colorful perennial garden.
For the serious – and even not-so-serious – athlete there is a 75′ pool with Greek- temple-inspired pool house and an adjacent tennis court.
Outside the estate much has changed over the years. That’s progress. But one thing hasn’t changed: the sweeping view of the magisterial Hudson River sliding down to the sea with the Catskill Mountains providing a magnificent backdrop. In the autumn the colours are breathtaking. This is the sort of place that has inspired writers and painters. Now it could inspire you to live there.