Frequently Asked Questions
Martin Van Buren National Historic Site
Frequently Asked Questions
Planning your visit
How do I get there?
From the West (Albany)
Take Interstate 90 East to exit 12. At the end of the exit ramp turn right, you will now be going south on Route 9. Continue for approximately 4 miles and you will come to a traffic circle. At the circle you will get onto Route 9H, going south. Follow route 9H for approximately 4 miles. The entrance to the park will be on the right side of the road as you crest a small hill.
From the East (Massachusetts)
Take New York State Thruway portion of Interstate 90 west to exit B1. At exit B1 continue west on Interstate 90 to exit 12. At the end of the exit ramp turn left, you will now be going south on Route 9. Continue for approximately 4 miles and you will come to a traffic circle. At the circle you will get onto Route 9H, going south. Follow route 9H for approximately 4 miles. The entrance to the park will be on the right side of the road as you crest a small hill.
From the North (Saratoga)
Take Interstate 87 (The Northway) south to exit 7. At exit 7 you will get onto Route 7 East. Follow Route 7 east for approximately 2.5 miles to the Interstate 787 interchange. You will get onto Interstate 787 south. Follow Interstate 787 for approximately 4 miles to the Interstate 90 interchange. Take Interstate 90 East to exit 12. At the end of the exit ramp turn right, you will now be going south on Route 9. Continue for approximately 4 miles and you will come to a traffic circle. At the circle you will get onto Route 9H, going south. Follow route 9H for approximately 4 miles. The entrance to the park will be on the right side of the road as you crest a small hill.
From the South (New York City)
Take Route 9 north along the east side of the Hudson River to Route 9H north. (Route 9 will intersect with Route 9H approximately 78 miles north of Yonkers). Continue on north on Route 9H for approximately 14 miles. The entrance to the park will be on the left side of the road.
If you would like to use an online direction service please use the following address:
1013 Old Post Road, Kinderhook, NY 12106
When are you open?
The House and Visitor Center are open to visitors seasonally from mid-May through the end of October. The Visitor Center is open daily during the season from 9am to 4:30pm. The rest of the park is open year round from 7am to dusk. Park headquarters are open year round, Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 4:30pm. Headquarters are closed on all Federal holidays.
Is there a fee?
There is no fee to walk the park's grounds. There is a fee for tours of the house. The tour fee is $5 per adult (15 and under are admitted free), $12 for a family group (up to four adults and accompanying children age 15 and under), we also accept and sell America the Beautiful The National Park & Federal Recreational Lands Pass at the park. We do not have a senior rate, and we do not offer discounts to members of organizations such as AAA. For more information about an America the Beautiful The National Park & Federal Recreational Lands Pass, please visit www.nationalparks.org .
Where is the Visitor Center?
The Visitor Center is a small cream building located on Old Post Road across from the parking lot. It it the first building you pass on the right when entering the park. Look for the American flag and th big National Park Service arrowhead on the front of the Visitor Center.
Is there a book store?
Yes. The book store, operated by Eastern National, is located inside the Visitor Center. We carry a selection of books, posters, postcards, and other items.
Do you take credit cards?
We are unable to accept credit cards for tour fees or to purchase National Park Passes. We are happy to accept Visa, Master Card, American Express and Discover for book store purchases.
Can I go through the House on my own?
No, visitors are admitted to the house only when part of a tour.
When are tours offered?
Tours are offered at the beginning of each hour starting at 9am. The final tour for the day leaves at 4pm.
How do I get onto a tour?
Stop at the Visitor Center when you enter the park! At the Visitor Center you will be able to purchase tickets for a tour of the House. Please note, you MUST sign up for a tour at the Visitor Center. Due to the many historic objects, the size and set-up of the house we are limited in the number of visitors we can take on any one tour.
Where do the House tours begin?
House tours begin at the North Door of the House. Please note that this is NOT the front door. The north side of the house faces the Visitor Center and is where the wheelchair lift is located.
What should I know about the tour before I go on it?
Tours usually last between 45 minutes and an hour. You will be standing for most of the tour. There are also apply 91 steps on the tour. You will see the first and second floor as well as most of the basement. There is no eating or drinking inside the House. Flash photography, tripods, and video are not allowed inside the house. Cell phones must be turned off at the beginning of the tour.
Can I go to the top of the Tower?
No, due to fire regulations the attic and Tower are not open to the public.
Is the House handicap accessible?
The first floor is handicap accessible. Please note that you will be standing for most of the tour. The walk from the Visitor Center to the House is a few hundred yards. We are able to provide transportation from the Visitor Center to the House and back for those who need it. We will do our best to accommodate your needs.
Where are the bathrooms?
The restrooms are located inside the Visitor Center. There are no restrooms at the House.
Where is your Passport Stamp?
Our stamp for the National Parks Passport is located inside the Visitor Center. Please not that we cannot send you a stamp to paste into your passport. However, we do have paper for you to stamp if you forgot your passport.
Where is a good place to eat?
There are no food service facilities at the park, however we do have picnic tables and encourage you to picnic at the park. There are also several near-by restaurants along Routes 9 and 9H as well as in the Village of Kinderhook and nearby Hudson. Stop in the Visitor Center for more information.
When was the site established as a unit of the National Park System?
Martin Van Buren National Historic Site was established by Congress on October 26, 1974. President Gerald Ford signed the law which added the site to the National Park System.
Which President was Martin Van Buren?
Martin Van Buren was the 8th President of the United States. He served from 1837 to 1841.
Why aren't there any pictures of Van Buren's wife, Hannah?
There is only one known portrait of Hannah. it is a miniature portrait about 4 inches tall. It was commissioned by Van Buren shortly after her death in 1819.
Where did the servants sleep?
While there is one servant's bedroom in the basement, most of the servants slept in the attic.
Where is Martin Van Buren buried?
Van Buren is buried in the local Dutch Reformed cemetery in the Village of Kinderhook, about a 5 minute drive from the park. Please stop by the Visitor Center for directions.
Where was Martin Van Buren born? Can I visit the house?
Martin Van Buren was born and raised in his parent's tavern in the Village of Kinderhook. The building was torn down in the 1940s because it had fallen into disrepair. There is a roadside plaque marking the spot. The property is privately owned and not open to visitors.
Was the House always painted yellow?
No. When first built, the house was painted red and the brickwork was outlined in white. Around the time that Van Buren moved into the house it had been painted white. The house received it's yellow with brown accents when the addition was built c.1850.
Did You Know?
Smith Thompson Van Buren, the 4th son of the President, was the uncle of the famous authors William, Henry, and Alice James, through the marriage of his first wife Ellen King James.