AUGUST 9, 1949
HYDE PARK, Monday—I drove through some of the loveliest country in Dutchess County yesterday. I was lunching with an old acquaintance, Miss Anna Vincent, in Dover Furnace. She had been on the Democratic State Committee years ago and I had been to her home before, but time dims your memory of roads and new roads somehow seem to alter the landscape.
I found the place, however, with remarkable ease and there is great charm about these old and spacious farmhouses. You feel that large families grew up in them without being too cramped. The dining room held just five people yesterday but it could have held 30 with ease!
After lunch we went over to the Girl Scout camp, the only Girl Scout camp in Dutchess County. It was Sponsors' Day and parents and interested friends were all gathered together to watch the activities of the campers. The 80-odd acres which they have were a gift from two Mr. Smiths. There is a small lake on the property where the scouts swim and an old cow barn turned into a camp house which has a big fireplace at one end where they can cook. There they carry on their craft program.
I visited several tents and found them all neat and tidy. I was delighted to find that this Girl Scout group is run on an interracial basis and it works so well that nobody even thought it necessary to mention it to me. The girls acted out their activities for the benefit of the audience and did some singing and dancing.
The staff looked extremely competent and I thought the atmosphere was one of good feeling and pleasure for every camper. My old friend, Miss Margaret Mack, was there and she has evidently been active with the Girl Scouts for a long time, as she has been in many other types of welfare work. The girls have named one of their units after her.
One very pleasant occurrence was the presentation from the Garden Club of Poughkeepsie of five hundred and fifty-one dollars and some odd cents to help develop the camp further. There are plenty of things they still need, so the gift was received with gratitude.
I drove home by a short cut over the mountains and I think it was one of the loveliest drives I'd had for a long time in Dutchess County. I had almost forgotten how varied that country is with hills and woods.
High up on the side of a hill I passed "Blueberry Farm" where a farmer was advertising that you could get out and pick your own blueberries, but I am sure he charged for the amount picked. I didn't even know that blueberries grew wild in Dutchess County. Somehow I associated them with Maine, northern Vermont and New Hampshire, but you can get blueberries in Dutchess County!
There is a Boy Scout camp not far from the Girl Scout camp and I passed a large number of other camps and boarding houses, so this is evidently a popular part of the county for summer visitors. I recommend it to you for its scenic beauty, even though they told me that it wasn't high enough to escape from the heat during the month of July.