Sunday, July 5, 2009

Vassar, Vanderbilt Mansion and University

Hello everyone!

Even though today was a Sunday, it was still jam-packed with activities. Although our plan originally was to only go to Vassar College and then head back to Columbia U, we decided to stop by Vanderbilt Mansion by recommendation of the local cafe. The campus of Vassar College was stunning. Where Columbia U is all buildings, stone, and big city life, Vassar College is grass, trees, and a small town. The campus is lush with green plants everywhere! It's such a contrast from Columbia U.

I do like the greenery of Vassar College, but for me it is a bit overwhelming. Even compared to home, Vassar feels less hustle and bustle then what I'm used to. Vassar also happens to be have more strengths in programs such as the arts, English, History, etc. However, I'm more interested in a school with a strong Engineering or Chemistry background so although Vassar's campus is very nice, the school doesn't appeal to me as much as Columbia U or UCB does.

After visiting Vassar, we stopped by the Vanderbilt Mansion. It was originally built for Frederick William Vanderbilt as his fall/spring home but has since been turned into a National Historic Site. We were only there for the first half of the tour, but the house was so breathtaking. Frederick Vanderbilt wanted to have a state-of-the-art house at the time so it's wired with electricity, has indoor plumbing, and has hot and cold running water. The tour guide was very knowledgeable about the time period and the Vanderbilt family that listening to him was actually very exciting. Sadly we couldn't take any pictures inside the mansion, but we could take as many as we wanted of the outside. Although going to Vanderbilt Mansion cut into the time at Vassar, I think it was well worth the trip. It was surprising how modern the mansion looked with electric lights and indoor piping.

Mentioning Vanderbilt happens to remind me of Vanderbilt University, located in Tennessee. It's actually also very green and spacious, similar to Vassar. Although Vassar has a wide range of departments and programs it is known for, Vanderbilt University is mostly known for its humanities. What is especially interesting about Vanderbilt is that it houses the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. There happen to be nursing and medical schools in the Medical Center which I think it great for anyone who is looking into the medical field. However, this is not for me so Vanderbilt doesn't appeal to me very much either.



Don Gosney said...


Just curious about the ban on photos inside the Vanderbilt Mansion. Were they concerned about flash photos with the incumbent UV light that would deteriorate the artwork and tapestries or were they anti-photos in their entirety? Did they give an explanation or just present you with an edict?

That’s great that they had a docent that knew enough about the place that he/she could pass along the information and make it interesting and exciting.

You owe it to yourself to got the National Park Services web site about the estate. It will tell you virtually nothing about the mansion or its history. It will tell you about the park itself and how it was acquired and how to get there but nothing about the mansion or the grounds. Your tax dollars at work.

Aside from the plumbing and electrical aspects, maybe you can tell us what our government won’t.

Madeline Kronenberg said...


Your pictures are wonderful. I am so happy you got to see the Vanderbilt Mansion with a tour guide.

I'm glad you, too, are getting clearer on what appeals to you. As we keep saying, it is all about fit.

Here's the link I'm giving out to everyone that includes all 3860 colleges and some questions to help you whittle them down to a manageable few.

I think your experience with this summer is helping you develop firm answers to the preference questions - rather than just an educated guess.

The link:

Keep snapping the photos and enjoy your last week in NY.

Charles Tillman Ramsey said...

Thanks Julie,

Your post was clear and gave us a better idea about what you are looking for in a college. I do hope that you expand your search beyond UC Berkeley. You have a lot of talent and many schools would be interested in having you for four years. I hope that you take advantage of the College Fair at Columbia.

Since you want Chemistry and Engineering then the visit to The University of Pennsylvania next Saturday will be right up your alley. Remember to ask June Chu about the school of Engineering at UPENN. It is fantastic and gives you everything that you want in an urban campus. Remember we have Brian Mertens from El Cerrito High School currently at UPENN, he loves it.

Keep up the exploration, it will assist you in the future. Thanks again for your thoughtful posts and insightful comments.

Enjoy your day.

Charles T. Ramsey

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