The most beautiful part of the Vanderbilt grounds are the gardens. Amazingly, the gardens are maintained by a volunteer group.
The Frederick W. Vanderbilt Garden Association, is a non-profit organization, “dedicated to the restoration and preservation of the formal gardens of the F. W. Vanderbilt National Historic Site. Built by a grandson of the infamous Comodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, the estate is a beautiful example of the lifestyle of the rich and famous during the early part of the 20th century, America’s ‘Gilded Age’. Its location on the banks of New York’s beautiful Hudson River Valley also affords magnificant views of one of the most important places in American history.
A large, formal garden was common to most estates of the period. Vanderbilt, who was an avid gardener himself, established an Italian-style, terrace garden containing many varieties of roses, annuals and perennials. Unfortunately, after his death in 1938, the gardens were not maintained and soon fell into ruin.
In 1984, with the permission of the National Park Service, a small group of local gardeners joined together to attempt to restore the gardens to their former glory. Since then, the volunteers of the FWVGA have grown to over 100 and have put in nearly 100,000 hours raising money, researching garden history, planting, weeding and caring for the plants and fountains of the garden. Known for their green t-shirts and tireless devotion to their work, the FWVGA has brought life back to a garden once thought to be beyond repair.”