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Great Estates Garden & Landscape Weekends

Date Published: June 29, 2023

Explore the gardens and landscapes of Dutchess County’s Great Estates along the Hudson River. Experience the outdoor beauty of these estates from the Revolutionary War, the Gilded Age, and the World War II eras on your own or attend an outdoor event! Don't miss the Great Estates Garden & Landscape Weekend August 12-13, 2023. Find details of what each site is offering below and check back as additional events and details continue to be added!


Wilderstein Historic Site building facade
Wilderstein Historic Site, Rhinebeck; Photo: @mad.dog.photography.hv

Wilderstein Historic Site

Garden and Landscape Tour on Saturday, August 12 at 10 a.m. 

Wilderstein is a historic country estate located along the Hudson River in Rhinebeck. With its exquisite Queen Anne mansion and Calvert Vaux designed landscape, Wilderstein is widely regarded as one of the region's most important examples of Victorian architecture. It was the home of Margaret (Daisy) Suckley, a distant cousin and confidante of Franklin Roosevelt. 

During this special outdoor guided tour, visitors will learn about Wilderstein’s landscape and gardens, the exterior design of the mansion and outbuildings, and the lives of the Suckley family.  One hour should be planned for the tour with an additional half hour for perusing the gift shop, exploring the hiking trails on the property, and enjoying the spectacular views. Tickets $12.  Advance online registration strongly encouraged.  To purchase tickets, go to the calendar here.


Staatsburgh State Historic Site Aerial View
Staatsburgh State Historic Site, Staatsburg

Staatsburgh State Historic Site  

Guided Landscape Walk of Staatsburgh’s Grounds: What You See and What You Don’t See on August 12 at 10 a.m.

Enjoy a free guided stroll across the historic grounds of the Gilded Age estate of Ruth and Ogden Mills, uncovering hidden landscape secrets along the way.

The location of fabulous weekend parties for the most elite society of the Gilded Age, Staatsburgh presented a picture of perfect beauty and luxury while deliberately using landscape elements to hide the technology and labor that made the estate run. Using historic photos of the grounds, the tour will show what visitors would have seen 100+ years ago, but also reveal what was hidden from them.

The tour will be about one mile of mostly level terrain, with some uphill walking. The program, including the walk, discussion, and looking at historic photos, will take about 1 hour. The event will be canceled in the event of heavy rain or excessive heat. Please wear comfortable shoes, a hat for sun, and bring water. Advance registration is required—click here to register.

Macramé Workshop on Staatsburgh’s Portico

Make your own macrame plant hanger! The workshop will be held outside on Staatsburgh's beautiful front portico, or inside the mansion if there is inclement weather. Cookies, lemonade, and Harney & Sons "Staatsburgh Blend" iced tea will be served. Macrame plant hangers are the perfect small-space solution - they can be hung on the wall or from the ceiling, freeing up shelf space. All materials and a plant are included in the cost of the workshope. Reservation required, tickets are $10 - click here to register.

Self-Guided Tours of Staatsburgh’s Grounds 

Enjoy a walk through Staatsburgh’s grounds, designed in the classic English Landscape Garden style.  You’ll stroll down a shaded carriage drive winding past a sweeping lawn to a magnificent view of the Hudson River.  A short, free guide to accompany your walk can be found here: Self-guided Walk at Staatsburgh.



Innisfree Garden

Curator's Tour: Gardens of Peace on August 12 at 10:30 a.m.

Join landscape curator, Kate Kerin, for a lively 1.5 hour tour exploring Innisfree, a powerful icon of mid-twentieth century design now recognized as one of the world's ten best gardens and listed at the highest level—exceptional national significance—on the National Register of Historic Places (register here for the tour.) Plus, register for the early morning's meteor shower and sunrise viewing. Visitors can arrive as early at 4 a.m. to catch the peak of the Perseid Meteor Shower before witnessing a stunning sunrise.

Locust Grove Estate Poughkeepsie
Locust Grove Estate, Poughkeepsie

Locust Grove Estate 

Join Director Ken Snodgrass for a walking tour of Locust Grove's historic gardens and buildings at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 12 and Sunday, August 13. This mile-long tour of the grounds will include rarely-seen historic photogaphs, and a discussion of historic technology (including the gas machine and water ram) used on the estate in the early 20th century. Wear sturdy shoes and dress for the weather - the walk will include some rough terrain. $15 per person, free for Locust Grove Patron members. Call 845-454-4500 x 215 for tickets. Tour starts at 10:30 a.m. both days and will last about an hour. 

Mount Gulian Historic Site Beacon
Mount Gulian Historic Site, Beacon

Mount Gulian Historic Site

Garden Tours on Sunday, August 13

Mount Gulian Historic Site, Beacon, invites visitors to explore its garden and unique horticultural history on Sunday, August 13.  Garden tours will be given at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.   Reservations are required.  Please call 845-831-8172 or info@mountgulian.org.
Visitors will learn about the garden's origins, evolution, and notable gardeners, including MaryAnna Verplanck, who as a precocious eleven-year-old, designed the original 1804 garden; James F. Brown, an enslaved person who fled Maryland and worked as Mount Gulian's master gardener after he was manumitted by the Verplanck family; and Virginia Verplanck whose literary contributions include two gardening books, Every Day in My Garden and A Year in My Garden from the early 20th century.  

Admission to this special program is: $12 adults; $10 seniors; $6 youngsters (6-18 years). Children under 6 and Mount Gulian member are free.

Vanderbilt Mansion summer Hyde Park
Vanderbilt Mansion (summer), Hyde Park; Photo: Photo: Zachary Gawron

Beatrix Farrand Garden at the Home of FDR National Historic Site

Bollywood Dancing Workshop with Arobi Hanif on Sunday, August 13 at 10:30 a.m.

Participate in an energetic and entertaining dancing workshop in the garden, celebrating the music of popular Indian movie soundtracks. Arobi Hanif is a dancer and Bard College graduate who has taught to students of all ages. No experience neceessary and all ages welcome. Click here to register.

The Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Sites in Hyde Park

The gardens at the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site will be available throughout the Great Estates Garden & Landscape Tour Weekends. Visitors are encouraged to bring their smart phone or other handheld devices to access the digital garden tour available by dialing a number or scanning a QR code. Park grounds and gardens are available from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. For maps of the park, including location of gardens, stop by our Visitor Contact Stations or download the new National Park Service app to your smart device.

Additionally, the Roosevelt Home Garden and the Beatrix Farrand Garden at the Home of FDR National Historic Site will be available throughout the Great Estates Garden & Landscape Tour weekends for self-guided exploration. Both gardens boast cell tours that can be accessed using smartphones and other handheld devices and are available daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. For maps of the park, including locations of the gardens, stop by the Visitor Contact Stations or download the new National Park Service app to your smart device.

Clermont State Historic Site

Explore the grounds and property at Clermont State Historic Site on a self-guided tour. 


Related: Path Through History Weekends

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