This central portion of the Hudson Valley  feels much like its hub. Most of the grand riverfront estates  for which the area is famous are located here, as are Vassar  and Bard Colleges , the historic town of Rhinebeck , the Culinary Institute of America , and a plethora of country villages, pick-your-own farms, public gardens, and excellent restaurants and lodgings. More than two million people visit Dutchess County every year.
The historic museum-estates are all in a 20-mile riverfront stretch between Hyde Park  in the center of the county and Clermont just over the border to the north. In 1990, this stretch was declared a National Historic Landmark District—the second largest such district in the United States. It contains some 2,000 buildings, only a handful of which are open to the public. These include Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s home (Springwood) , the Vanderbilt Mansion , Mills Mansion , Wilderstein , Montgomery Place , and Clermont. 
Of these, FDR’s estate is by far the most personal and popular, and can be combined with a visit to Val-Kill , Eleanor Roosevelt’s retreat. Between the two homes and the nearby FDR Library and museum, you’ll come away with a good sense of both the Roosevelts and the times in which they lived.
Of the other museum-estates, the Vanderbilt Mansion  is the most lavish, Montgomery Place  the most beautiful, Mills Mansion  the most cavernous, Clermont  the most elegant, and Wilderstein  the smallest and least known.
South of Hyde Park is the river city of Poughkeepsie . While it’s fallen on hard times, it has interesting historic and cultural sites to offer. A few miles east of Route 9, the expansive rural countryside is dotted with small villages, wineries, produce stands, and horse farms. The entire Hudson Valley  is a major horse-breeding area, with about half of its 100 horse farms located in Dutchess County.