5 Historic Sites to Visit This Spring for Special Tours and Lush Landscapes


    Historic sites are worth a visit year-round, but many welcome the arrival of spring with a return to regular tour hours and the launch of special programs.

    We’ve rounded up five sites that are kicking off their 2019 house tour season and also have extensive grounds that are perfect for a warm weather ramble.

    Which one will you visit?

    1. Boscobel House and Gardens, Garrison, N.Y.
    Built between 1804 and 1808, Boscobel is one of the country’s premier examples of Federal architecture. It’s beautifully restored and furnished with outstanding pieces from the leading furniture makers of the early 19th century. The architectural jewel is set within more than 60 acres of land with dramatic views of the Hudson River, woodland trails and garden paths.

    The house opens for the season on Sunday, April 14 — although if you are a member you can get a special view on April 13. House tours are available on weekends only in April and then from May to November, you can visit the house and grounds on Wednesdays through Mondays. For full information on tours, hours and ticket prices, visit their website here.

    russell wright manitoga

    Manitoga. Photo by Susan De Vries

    2. Manitoga, Garrison, N.Y.

    An ode to nature and modern living, Manitoga is the mid-century vision of American designer Russel Wright. The house can be a bit hard to spot — but then, that is just what was intended. It’s meant to be discovered slowly while wandering along rocky, wooded pathways that give tantalizing glimpses of a house seemingly growing out of rock at the edge of a pond.

    The tour season kicks off on May 10 and goes through November 11. Tours are available Fridays through Mondays and they do fill up quickly. For more information, or to book a tour, visit their info page here.

    hudson river school painters studio

    Olana. Photo by Susan De Vries

    3. Olana, Hudson, N.Y.

    The visual feast that is Olana, the 1870s home and studio of Hudson River School painter Frederic Edwin Church, is sited in a landscape designed for picturesque rambles and sweeping views. The 250-acre property offers five miles of former carriage roads that wind through a woodland landscape, leading toward vistas planned by Church.

    While Olana is open year-round, they are greeting spring with the launch of a re-designed website and a new slate of tours. You have your choice of nine different tour experiences that focus on a range of topics revolving around the historic site, including the landscape, the life of the Church family and the evolution of the interior spaces. Tickets for the tours tend to go quickly, so check out tour times and prices at the info page here.


    Wilderstein. Photo by Rolf Müller via Wikipedia

    4. Wilderstein, Rhinebeck, N.Y.

    An elaborate Queen Anne-style mansion, Wilderstein was home to three generations of the Suckley family. The last family member to live in the house, Daisy Suckley, a cousin and close friend of FDR, left behind furniture, photos, books, letters and artwork, allowing the museum to tell the full tale of one family.

    The tour season for the house launches on May 2 and runs through October, with tours available on Thursdays through Sundays. If you want to soak in the spring season on the 40-acres surrounding the house, the grounds are open year-round. For full details on house tour times and admission prices, visit their information page here.

    5. Old Westbury Gardens, Old Westbury, N.Y.

    The early 20th century estate of the Phipps family, the 200-acre site includes formal gardens, trails, lakes and garden follies. While you can stroll the garden at your leisure, there are also guided tours of the landscape and the mansion available.

    The site opens the gardens for the season on Friday, April 19 and remains open through October from Wednesdays through Mondays. For information on admission fees and special events visit their visitor information page here.

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