Kykuit, also known as John D. Rockefeller Estate, is a 40-room National Trust house in Westchester County, New York, built by oil tycoon, philanthropist and Rockefeller family patriarch John D. Rockefeller. Largely conceived by his son, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and enriched by the art collection of third-generation scion, Governor of New York and Vice President of the United States, Nelson A. Rockefeller, it has been home to four generations of the family.
"Kykuit", Dutch for "lookout", is situated on the highest point in the hamlet of Pocantico Hills, overlooking the Hudson River at Tappan Zee. Located near Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow, it enjoys a view of the New York City skyline twenty-five miles to the south.
Hear about Washington Irving's storied past and how he came to be America's first internationally famous author, best remembered now for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and other short stories. His characters, from Brom Bones and Ichabod Crane to the mysterious Headless Horseman and the comic Rip Van Winkle, are icons in American culture. Even Johnny Depp has added to their global renown.
A gently curved path leads to gorgeous views of the Hudson River and reveals the allure of Sunnyside's unique design, its intimate setting, its bucolic grounds, and its association with a beloved man of letters.
Your guide, dressed elegantly in hoop skirts or formal dress of the times, explains how Washington Irving designed Sunnyside and its grounds himself, collaborating with his neighbor, the artist George Harvey. "It is a beautiful spot," Irving wrote, "capable of being made a little paradise." Beginning in 1835, he expanded a small cottage in stages, combining his sentimental interests in the architecture of colonial New York and buildings he knew in Scotland and Spain. The house became a three-dimensional autobiography.
The grounds reflect Washington Irving's romantic view of art, nature, and history. He arranged garden paths, trees and shrubs, vistas, and water features to appear natural, and planted an exotic wisteria vine (still growing) to envelope the house.
Irving's contemporaries extensively described and illustrated Sunnyside during his lifetime. And since Sunnyside and many of its furnishings remained in the family, a visit here is one of the most authentic experiences of mid-19th century life anywhere in the country.
- Philipsburg Manor
Philipsburg Manor was a thriving farming, milling, and trading center owned by the Philipses, a family of Anglo-Dutch merchants. They rent land to tenant farmers of diverse European backgrounds and rely on a community of 23 enslaved Africans to operate the complex.
Visit here to participate in hands-on activities of the 18th century and learn the riveting yet little-known story of enslavement in the colonial north.
Step into the working gristmill, where, surrounded by the sound of rushing water and the creaking of wooden gears, you learn about the skills of Caesar, the enslaved African miller. A colonial bateau tied to the wharf reflects the flourishing river trade and the skills of Dimond, an enslaved riverboat pilot.
Tour the 300-year-old manor house. Its dairy, kitchens, bedchambers, warehouse rooms and parlor attest to its significance as a place of work, business, trade, leisure, and repose. Period artifacts and touchable reproductions give you an understanding of the people who lived and worked here.
Visit the activity center and explore the foodways, textile production techniques, and medicinal practices of Philipsburg Manor's inhabitants. Shell some beans, work flax into linen, or produce a tray of ship biscuits. Nearby is the slaves' garden, with vegetables and herbs for consumption, market, and medicinal purposes.
Enter the new world Dutch barn and help thresh some wheat. With its pastoral setting, rich social history, hands-on activities, and demonstrations of colonial life, Philipsburg Manor provides everybody with an unforgettable experience.
- Van Cortlandt Manor
At Van Cortlandt Manor, explore the stone manor house and brick ferry house, wander through the heritage gardens, and stroll down a quiet country road along the Croton River.
There, you'll experience the domestic life of a patriot family living in the years just after the American Revolution - the New Nation period.
Costumed guides demonstrate and invite visitors to try their own hands at blacksmithing, brick making, open-hearth cooking, spinning, weaving, and other crafts and tasks of the period. These activities and a lively program of special events help bring the past to life.
Enter the manor house and see an extraordinary collection of furnishings from the colonial and federal periods in their original setting. Downstairs hear about one of the largest and best-equipped colonial kitchens in America and see samples of 18th-century medicines and foodways.
At the Ferry House, built before 1750, find a rural tavern that offered food, drink, and lodging to travelers along the Albany Post Road. Pause if you wish to see an extensive collection of Hudson Valley vernacular furnishings.
As you walk through the gardens, you'll find a remarkable array of flowers, vegetables, and herbs available to American gardeners in the late 18th century.
The Van Cortlandts were one of New York's most prominent families, who faced and influenced pressing political issues of the time, including Federalist and Anti-Federalist debates over the drafting of the constitution. The family also grappled with religious change following the rise of evangelical religions and had to confront the controversy over emancipation, since they were slaveholders. Your tour addresses these issues and everyday life and social activities of the period.
- Union Church at Pocantico Hills
Who would guess that this unassuming country church contains a stained glass window by Henri Matisse, his last work of art, and nine windows by Marc Chagall?
The works create a dramatic combination of light and color, art and spirituality.
Visitors marvel at the colorful rose window created for the church by Henri Matisse. The design for the window was his last work of art before his death in 1954. The commission, spearheaded by Nelson A. Rockefeller, honors the memory of his mother, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. Mrs. Rockefeller, one of the founders of the Museum of Modern Art, admired Matisse, collected his work, and entertained him in her home in New York City.
The glorious Good Samaritan window by Marc Chagall is a memorial to Abby Aldrich Rockefeller's husband, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Their son David Rockefeller masterminded the commission in 1963, which later expanded to include all eight windows in the nave of the church. They memorialize, among others, Michael Clark Rockefeller, Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller, Peggy Rockefeller (Mrs. David Rockefeller), and Mary Rockefeller (Mrs. Laurance Rockefeller). Chagall and members of the Rockefeller family carefully selected the subject matter for the windows from Biblical texts.
The enthralling story of the windows, and how they came to be here, is the story of relationships among distinguished patrons and collectors of modern art, two great 20th-century artists, and the leading connoisseurs and tastemakers of the day.
For Kykuit visitors, a tour of the church enhances their knowledge of the Rockefeller legacy; all who visit the Union Church enjoy a unique and surprising aesthetic and spiritual experience. Step inside and be inspired.
- Montgomery Place
The scenic views, majestic old trees, and formal gardens of Montgomery Place make it an ideal, tranquil spot for enjoying nature and landscape.
Montgomery Place, a serene reflection of nearly 200 years of continuous family stewardship, is best known as a landscape influenced by the great Andrew Jackson Downing and an architectural landmark designed by Alexander Jackson Davis. But the totality of the estate - house, gardens, arboretum, woodlands, orchards, hamlet, and natural features - makes it a unique American treasure.
The 380-acre property is an amazingly intact example of Hudson Valley estate life. Each of the estate's features has a story to tell about changing American attitudes toward nature, landscape, and home design over time.
The mansion includes beautiful classical revival exteriors designed by Davis. Visible from the mansion's terrace and north pavilion are inspiring vistas of the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains.
The woodland trails, laid out more than 100 years ago, lead through a hemlock and mixed hardwood forest to the cascading waterfalls of the Saw Kill.
Lush perennial, annual, and herb gardens, designed in the early 20th century, give a delightful view into the colors, fragrances, and designs popular during America's estate garden era. Picturesque and productive orchards border the estate, and in season the delicious fruit is available at the Montgomery Place Orchards Farm Stand.
- Hudson River Museum
The Hudson River Museum, located in Trevor Park in Yonkers, New York, is the largest museum in Westchester County. The Yonkers Museum, founded in 1919 at City Hall, became the Hudson River Museum in 1948. While often seen as an art museum due to the extensive collection of works from the Hudson River school, the museum also features exhibits on the history, science and heritage of the region.
The museum was founded in 1919 as the Yonkers Museum and contained a number of mineral specimens housed in Yonkers City Hall and was known also as the Yonkers Museum of Science and the Arts, prior to being named the Hudson River Museum. The museum used its namesake, the Hudson River, as the core of its 75th anniversary celebration in 1994. Also central to its history is the Glenview Mansion, a house built in 1877, once the home of one John Bond Trevor, and the home of the museum for 45 years from 1929 now forms a large part of the Hudson River Museum. It contains six period rooms displaying furniture and decor from that era. In 1972 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The museum is the home of the Andrus Planetarium, the only public planetarium in Westchester County. The museum first added a planetarium in 1969 to celebrate the beginning of the Space Age and the increasing interest in space and that was just one part of the museum's expansion throughout the 1960s which included the construction of expanded and more modern facilities to house its collections. The planetarium and its laser shows are credited with driving the museum's 30% increase in attendance in the early 1990s due to the appeal of the shows to all ages.
The museum's diversity is part of what led to its citation as one of the most unusual cultural facilities by the New York State Council on the Arts in 1972. It has sought to maintain this diversity and relevance amidst changes in leadership and focus throughout its history. The diversity is also apparent in the museum's 23-acre (9.3 ha) site, on which a 2006 expansion attempted to better join the Glenview Mansion with the modern 1969 additions.
- Storm King Art Center
Widely celebrated as one of the world’s leading sculpture parks, Storm King Art Center has welcomed visitors from across the globe for fifty years. It is located only one hour north of New York City, in the lower Hudson Valley, where its pristine 500-acre landscape of fields, hills, and woodlands provides the setting for a collection of more than 100 carefully sited sculptures created by some of the most acclaimed artists of our time.
- Donald Kendall Scupture Garden
In 1970, the world headquarters of PepsiCo was opened here in an office building designed by Edward Durell Stone (architect of Washington’s Kennedy Center). To complement this magnificent building, three prominent landscape designers were chosen to lay out the surrounding grounds - E.D. Stone Jr. (the architect’s son), Russell Page, and Francois Goffinet. The resulting landscape incorporates 45 sculptures, including pieces by Alexander Calder, George Segal, and David Smith. A “Golden Path,” the inspiration of Russell Page, winds its way past the sculptures and through the various landscapes, offering walkers an opportunity to see the art - both natural and manmade - from many perspectives. The grounds include various gardens, water features, and woodland areas.
- Sleepy Hollow Cemetary
Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, New York, is the resting place of numerous famous figures, including Washington Irving, whose story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is set in the adjacent Old Dutch Burying Ground. Incorporated in 1849 as Tarrytown Cemetery, it posthumously honored Irving's request that it change its name to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009. The cemetery is a non-profit, non-sectarian burying ground of about 90 acres (360,000 m2). It is contiguous with, but separate from, the church yard of the colonial-era church that was a setting for "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow". The Rockefeller family estate, whose grounds about Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, contains the private Rockefeller cemetery.
- Bronx Zoo
The Bronx Zoo is located in the Bronx borough of New York City, within Bronx Park. It is one of the world's largest metropolitan zoos, with some 4,000 animals representing about 650 species from around the world. The zoo comprises 265 acres (107 ha) of park lands and naturalistic habitats, through which the Bronx River flows.