Clermont State Historic Site
Just north of the Dutchess County border is Clermont (Woods Rd., off Rte. 9G, Germantown, 518/537-4240, www.friendsofclermont.org, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Tues.–Sun. Apr.–Oct., 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Sat.–Sun. Nov.–Mar., adults $5, seniors and students $4, children 5–12 $1; $5 vehicle user fee Sat.–Sun. Apr.–Oct.), a grand historic estate that was once home to seven generations of the Livingston family.
The Georgian manse sits on the edge of a wide lawn lined with enormous black locust trees. Views from the estate are superb; down below is the Hudson River, and in the distance are the high Catskill Mountains peaks that inspired the estate’s name. Clermont is French for “clear mountain.”
The 35-room mansion holds many of the Livingstons’ heirlooms, including period furniture and family portraits by Gilbert Stuart and others. Robert R. Livingston (1746–1813) was arguably the most famous of the clan. He administered the first oath of office to George Washington, helped draft the Declaration of Independence, and served as minister to France under Thomas Jefferson.
The landscaped grounds include a Lilac Walk (in bloom in May), formal gardens, and many acres of fields, forests, and wetlands laced with carriage paths and hiking trails. On the front lawn near the river is a plaque honoring inventor Robert Fulton whose steamboat, the Clermont, first traveled up the Hudson from New York City to Albany in August 1807.
© Avalon Travel and Sascha Zuger from Moon New York State, 5th Edition