New York City

6 Reasons to Visit Buttermilk Falls

One of our favorite areas in the Hudson Valley comes alive with these can’t-miss experiences.


The Vanderbilt Mansion

Fancy a trip down the gilded age? Then the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site is the place for you. It’s 20 minutes from Buttermilk Falls Inn, and with the fee of just $10, you will be able to learn the what, where, when, why, and the hows of this era with the help, of course, of a tour guide, on your guided walking tour.

6 Reasons to Visit Buttermilk Falls

The Vanderbilt Estate

6 Reasons to Visit Buttermilk Falls

Part of the grounds at Vanderbilt Mansion Historic Site

There is a park which doesn’t need an entrance fee, and you can see scenic views of the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains there while being surrounded by Frederick Vanderbilt’s Italian-style terrace garden. The Vanderbilt Estate, despite its obvious opulence, was their smallest country house, or shall I say, weekend house consisting of a paltry 50 rooms. I can just imagine what their multiple non-weekender houses looked like. They were said to have over 200 rooms each!

6 Reasons to Visit Buttermilk Falls

A study at the Vanderbilt Mansion, on the ground floor

6 Reasons to Visit Buttermilk Falls

The staircase to upstairs

6 Reasons to Visit Buttermilk Falls

Mrs. Vanderbilt’s bedroom (husbands and wives had separate bedrooms), upstairs

The architecture, the furnished interiors, and the landscapes give us a sneak peek of what life was like during the gilded age. Or at least what life was like for people like William K. Vanderbilt II who purchased a total of 43 acres of land. I felt like I was being transported back in time as I was surrounded by lavishness and pure works of art.

6 Reasons to Visit Buttermilk Falls

I bought a gorgeous ($25) Kentucky-Derby-style hat and some books at their well-curated gift shop

Imagine, the owner was able to ask the partners who designed the Grand Central Terminal, under the New York architecture firm Warren & Wetmore, to build his summer house. What resulted was a stunning Spanish-Revival style mansion. Not only that, Vanderbilt was able to commission all the iron work to Samuel Yellin, who was one of the greatest iron artisans during that time. Such were the times of the gilded age. And to quote Charles Dickens, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

Side note: We also visited the FDR / Roosevelt house, which was comparatively unexciting. Admission cost twice as much, the tour was half as long and less than half as interesting, the house half the size and one tenth the glamour.

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Avatar of Hilary Rowland

A writer, artist, and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary taught herself code and created Urbanette when she was a teenager. Currently, she lives in Monte Carlo, but spent the past decade living in NYC, still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. She's always traveling, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and life hacks to bring to Urbanette readers.

Reader Discussion: 34 Comments

  1. Avatar of Caroline Zalog

    You’ve really convinced me to book a stay there. I really like how the Buttermilk Inn looks like. It’s plain and nothing really too fancy, but the surroundings and the views are really great. I will literally turn off my phone just so I can really relax during my stay here. No social media or gadgets aside from taking pictures. No WiFi for me and no data connection either. I just want a vacation that’s away from all the pressures of daily life and I just want to chill!

  2. Avatar of Lorena Suarez

    It must be very fun to travel to a lot of places. If only I had that luxury too.

  3. Avatar of Carol Ribeiro

    Sorry, but I’m not a fan of historic places. It’s just nice to take pictures but it just doesn’t feel fulfilling for me.

  4. Avatar of ERICA


    Rhineback looks like a very colorful place to visit. It’s an eye-candy to look at. I bet pictures and OOTDs would be amazing here. But I prefer the scenery in Buttermilk more than the Hamptons style one. Sometimes, luxurious hotels aren’t the key to a great vacation. It’s the amount of lush greenery that I see around me. We’re always surrounded by hotels in the city anyway and I want a change of scenery when I’m on a vacation. I don’t even mind sleeping in wooden beds.

  5. Avatar of Lorena Tucci

    Where’s the falls? Of all the things… That’s what you didn’t show.

  6. Avatar of Caroline Leonora

    I didn’t think drive-in theaters still existed. It’s a nice thing though! I want to experience it.?

  7. Avatar of Jeanette Cobb

    Jeanette Cobb

    A facial sounds really good right now. I agree with your philosophy that our skin will reflect what’s on the inside. I’ve never encountered Babor products, but if I ever encounter them I’ll avoid it because I don’t want toxic products on my skin. Cucumber toner sounds really great and refreshing on the skin, I would also want to try that apple honey mask. It probably smells like delicious pie. I really want to try. I’m asking my friends to go here with me.

  8. Avatar of KELLY


    If you enjoy places like this or museum like visits, this can be a good place. But if I wanted R & R, I would rather go elsewhere.

    • Avatar of Carol Hopkins

      Carol Hopkins

      I kind of feel the same. This place looks beautiful but there isn’t much to do.

  9. Avatar of Debora Candiotto

    The Vanderbilt mansion looks really cool. It looks like something from the movies. It would be really great to take pictures here.

  10. Avatar of Lorena Yoshi

    Llamas are so cute. I like that the wildlife here is very abundant. I really think that there should be more places that are like this– a sanctuary for wildlife and a haven for people to enjoy nature at its finest. I find it really rare for places like this to be frequently be visited by people, unless you’re a nature lover and you’re in a vacation. But places like this need regulars so they can appreciate the beauty of having nature around us instead of skyscrapers.

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