When your big shot cousin invites you to a party in upstate New York, where the attire calls for Casual Summer Chic, you don’t hesitate for a second to RSVP YES!
Because I have been preparing for this all my life. Every episode of the Real Housewives of New York that I’ve watched and even way before that, watching Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous has given me a preview to that Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams type of life and I was not going to miss this opportunity to see how the wealthy New Yorkers live.
Finding our way to our train through the chaos of Grand Central Station
The afternoon of the party we made our way from Grand Central Station to Rhinebeck, New York, about a 2 hour Amtrak train ride from NYC. The train ride itself was quite comfortable and the lakes and countryside views outside the window as we rolled past was a welcome departure from the brick and concrete of the city.
All aboard to Rhinebeck
We took a bit of a detour to explore the quaint little town before heading to the Astor Courts mansion where the party was held.
A historic looking home in the quiet little town
It was a long and windy gravel road that led us to the mansion and when we arrived our collective thought was, “this cannot be it” “It looks like a hotel”. And we had to triple check the address before we let our Uber drive away.
The view of Astor Courts as we approached from the driveway
But finally, my husband and I walked up to the front door and let ourselves into the expansive foyer.
The beautiful marble columns and entryway into Astor Courts
Foyer and sitting room of Astor Courts
And we continued our way around until we finally saw our cousin greet us with big smile. PHEW! Ok, now we know for sure we are in the right place.
I wasn’t able to take a lot of pictures inside the home that also served as the venue for Chelsea Clinton’s wedding. It was a gorgeous palatial estate that looked more like a castle inside but the true beauty was to be seen outside on the terrace where everyone was gathered, sipping Rose’, nibbling on hor d’oeuvres and chatting among themselves.
Backyard Terrace views
Beautiful sunset at Astor Courts
One of the first people we were introduced to was a man (who I won’t name) who is running for Congress for the district we were in. It turns out this event doubled as one his campaign stops, to kiss babies, shake hands and drum up support. I expected a very flaky superficial “stereotypical politician” but he was very genuine, a man who was born and raised in the community who did not come from money but was able to work hard and eventually excel past his circumstances. He seemed to be the right person who you’d want to represent you in Congress.
But everyone at the party was warm and friendly, all decked out in their Summers’ Finest – flowy dresses and sandals for the women and button down shirts and slacks for the men.
Great company in a gorgeous location made for a great afternoon.
The hor d’oeuvres were delicious. At least that what my husband told me. I couldn’t eat or drink most of it because of the 21 day health and fitness challenge I was on at the time but, drinks were flowing, the cocktail shrimp was massive, the flat bread, meatballs and pigs in a blanket was all delicious.
But, I live for different experiences, seeing new places, being in spaces with folks who aren’t at all like me because it opens my mind to new ideas and understandings that make me a better person.
That’s why I love to travel
And the great part is, you don’t always have to go too far or spend a lot of money to get that new experience.