NJWILDBEAUTY readers are accustomed, possibly too accustomed, to my being enervated and worse by lack of light. On the other hand, you also experience in your writer a certain ecstasy in the presence of light. Add to that the hint of time-travel and surprisingly satisfying food, and you have my all-time favorite diner. It doesn’t hurt that major historical shrines of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt await nearby.
It’s in Hyde Park (New York), where I travel on Roosevelt-quests, as much Eleanor, of course, as Franklin. And it’s a step back into my teen-age years, except we didn’t have anything nearly so exciting in Detroit!
Howard Johnson’s, it isn’t!
That was the closest I’d ever come to a diner in my Michigan life. First one I met was the Edison Diner in New Jersey in the 1980’s. And it was industrial strength…
Whimsical and retro, I’m sure you see why I make at least one pilgrimage per Hyde Park trip, to the Eveready! Breakfasts are hearty, hefty, also filled with light, even on downpour days– stoking us for continuance, whether to or from the Berkshires.
Even now, looking back on our October trip, this diner shimmers like a mirage.
The diner is right on Route 9, not far from FDR’s Springwood. Stay at the ’50’s motel, impeccably kept, to which one is warmly welcomed, The Roosevelt Inn. Make reservations by phone – the owner/hostess enjoys that. This is also on #9, a few blocks north of the diner, and near one of the town’s timeless churches, which plays a hymn at 6 p.m. — which may well honor the Angelus.
The highlight of that day was a Ranger-guided tour at Eleanor’s home, Val-Kill, tucked into woods, just far enough from Sara Roosevelt. The President loved going to Eleanor’s haven, for which he gave her the land; and for which he, an amateur architect, made clever plans.
Unbeknownst to me for decades, Franklin also had a Sara-haven on the Val-Kill property, Top Cottage. If you’re not delayed by rain, heading to Hyde Park, you can arrange to visit both in one day. Details may be found by checking the FDR Library site.
You used to have to pay for tickets and take bus to Val-Kill and then back and then another such arrangement for Top Cottage. We could drive into Val-Kill, pay among a cluster of very friendly Rangers. What I love about the Roosevelt guides, in Springwood and the Library, as well, is that they bring ‘my’ President and his lady back to life. Even last October, it was as though Eleanor would come ’round the corner at any moment, pick up her knitting, and settle down next to Fala’s basket.
(Fala was FDR’s Scottie — very famous in his day, and thoroughly bereaved, as was I as a child, by the death of that larger-than-life man, my only president, due to all those terms…)
The night before departure for Hyde Park, my travel-and-hiking friend, Deb Hill, and I watched the last ‘reel’ of the splendid PBS special on the Roosevelts of the Hudson River Valley, by our arch-film historian, Ken Burns.
This is a casserole I made in advance, had ready to sustain us travelers, upon our return.