The Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site was established as a monument to an era rather than a tribute to any one person or family. The estate illustrates a way of life modeled on the English country house and is only unusual today because so few examples survive in the 21st century. More than a place to discuss the lifestyles of the rich and famous, the park offers a window into the philosophy of the American country house, the lives of its domestic staff, and its relationship to the surrounding community. In addition to a tour of the house, you should stroll on the 211 acres of park land that boast centuries old tree plantings, stunning Hudson River and Catskill Mountain views and Italian Gardens maintained by the volunteers of the Frederick William Vanderbilt Garden Association. This is a two hour experience.