When you hear “car show,” you probably picture a hot parking lot or an empty field with rows of vehicles on display. At Locust Grove, the 1851 villa built by Samuel F. B. Morse that overlooks the Hudson River, classic – and classy – automobiles are staged on the estate’s rolling hills and grounds. The annual Antique Car Show, hosted by Hudson Valley Auto Enthusiasts, Inc., is one of four major classic car shows in the Hudson Valley, but it stands out in terms of drama and historic amenities.
“We get about 350 cars on average,” says Ken Snodgrass, director of Locust Grove. “Though the show is very focused on ‘past era’ cars – say, from 1917 or before – they’re not all strictly antiques. There is something for everybody, right up into the modern era.” Add music and catered food and 40 Locust Grove volunteers to tend to car exhibitors and visitors, and you have a very civilized affair. Snodgrass says that Hudson Valley Auto Enthusiasts does a great job organizing the show: “We provide the lawn and trees, and they give us an amazing event.”
The estate is opened at 8 a.m., and cars are in the field by 12 noon. Spectators are welcome at any time after 9 a.m., but arriving closer to noon is advised. From noon until 3 p.m., you will see the best assemblage of cars. And by day’s end, more than 15 prizes will be awarded to car exhibitors for categories such as “Best Car” and “Best Display.”
And as you stroll the grounds, don’t forget that each month, May through December, Locust Grove holds “Sunset Sensations” wine-and-food events. On Thursday, July 14 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., guest chef Michael Polasek of the Bluestone Bistro will create three treats for attendees to sample, each paired with wines by Bob Brink of Arlington Wine and Spirits. For the 11th year running, the estate opens its kitchen gardens where heirloom veggies are grown by the in-house horticultural staff. Tidbit samplings and wine pairings will have you imagining gracious life on the Hudson more than a century ago. Tickets to “Sunset Sensations” cost $27 per person in advance, $29 at the door; all proceeds go toward keeping Locust Grove open to the public.
Antique Car Show, Sunday, July 10, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., $8/kids under 6 free, Locust Grove, 2683 South Road, Poughkeepsie; (845) 454-4500, www.lgny.org.