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Two things about this magnificent mansion on the Hudson stand out: its splendid setting, among the finest in the entire Hudson Valley, and its incredible history. The house, an early-19th-century neoclassical Georgian mansion, was rescued from government destruction (it was sold at auction for $35 in the 1950s), moved piece by piece to its current location, and meticulously restored thanks to the generosity of the co-founder of Reader's Digest. The decorative arts of the Federal period that fill the house are indeed impressive, but they have a difficult time competing with the extraordinary river and gorge views afforded from the lawns, gardens, and orchards. No estate site along the river is more dramatic. Many activities are held here and should not be missed, including the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival (advance reservations required; www.hvshakespeare.org) in the summer, dancing to big-band music in the fall, and pre-Victorian Christmas Candlelight tours.