Hot Dog Picnic

“Democratic informality” returned to the Hudson Valley as the Foundation hosted a tented fundraiser at Top Cottage in honor of the 79th anniversary of the famous Royal “hot dog” picnic at the site in 1939.

The buffet-style menu, prepared by local chef Charles Fells, Jr. of The Artist’s Palate in Poughkeepsie, took its cue from the original culinary choices made by FDR and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and included a salad whose main ingredients were picked from the newly restored two-acre home garden managed by the National Park Service on the Roosevelt property, with funding from the Foundation.

Some 70 guests attended the commemorative picnic, which began with light refreshments, vintage musical selections, and Ranger-guided tours of Top Cottage, the modest Dutch colonial home President Roosevelt designed as a retreat for himself, apart from his mother’s house at Springwood and Eleanor’s Stone Cottage at Val-Kill. Though FDR didn’t survive the war to live there, he hosted numerous events and dignitaries at Top Cottage while in the White House – the first being the visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth at the end of their whirlwind US tour to affirm “the special relationship” between Britain and America.

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