Gardens and Grandeur of the Hudson River Valley
September 17- 21, 2023
5 Days / 4 Nights
Airfare is not included but the group must meet in NYC at LGA airport before noon on 9/17/23
New York’s Hudson River Valley is renowned for its intense historical significance, the legacy of America’s great industrialists and the grand gardens that flank both sides of its waters. For centuries, artists and authors have been inspired by the architectural, natural and horticultural treasures of the area. Now is your chance to join a modern-day “Hudson River School” designed especially for garden enthusiasts! This tour branches up and down the mighty Hudson with visits to sites that truly run the garden gamut. From the classically manicured landscapes at Lyndhurst to the bold blurring of house and grounds at Russel Wright’s Manitoga, this tour will inspire even the greenest of thumbs to view the term “garden variety” in a whole new light. Just how green is this valley? Read on to find out!
Day One, Sunday, September 17
Plan to arrive at New York’s LaGuardia Airport by noon. Once you arrive, meet your full-time tour manager, board your private motor coach and your Hudson Valley adventure begins. Meredith Scott will escort the group for Just Ladies Traveling.
Your first stop is at Wave Hill. Often called “one of the greatest living works of art,” Wave Hill is a spectacular public garden overlooking the Hudson River and Palisades in Riverdale. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the estate includes two houses and a botanical garden. The oldest part of the main house, Wave Hill House, dates back to 1843, and Glyndor House dates from 1927. Wave Hill now serves as a non-profit cultural center dedicated to exploring human connections to the natural world. A Wave Hill docent will guide you through the carefully cultivated gardens and an extensive collection of rare and unusual plants and provide a history of this vibrant, yet intimate 28-acre site. The awe-inspiring view at the Great Lawn and Pergola Overlook will provide a picture-perfect beginning to your exploration of the Hudson Valley. During your visit, have a late lunch or afternoon snack on your own.
Depart Wave Hill late afternoon and travel to your hotel and home for the next four nights. The Hilton Garden Inn Westchester-Dobbs Ferry is a full-service hotel and is ideally located in Rivertowns Square where shops and restaurants are just a few steps away. Each guest will be warmly greeted with a welcome gift basket.
Once you have refreshed and settled into your room, gather in the lounge for a Welcome Reception. Sip an included beverage and enjoy a savory snack while you get acquainted with the members of your group.
Close out your evening with an included dinner served in one of the hotel’s eateries. Wine is included with dinner. All other beverages are on their own.
Day Two, Monday, September 18:
Start your day with a hearty breakfast buffet served at the hotel. Then board the coach and head out for a day filled with history, natural beauty and delicious wines.
Your first stop is in Cold Spring where you will enjoy a morning at Stonecrop Gardens, a veritable gardener’s paradise! Perched in a dramatic setting in the Hudson Highlands, Stonecrop Gardens was the former private garden of Garden Conservancy founder, Frank Cabot and his wife, Anne, and has become an important destination for gardening enthusiasts since opening to the public in 1992. The display gardens cover an area of about 12 acres and incorporate a diverse collection of gardens and plants. A 2,000-square-foot conservatory housing tender specimens float on a pond near the entry and multiple greenhouses display alpines, tropicals, and succulents. Your visit includes a guided tour of the grounds followed by free time to explore and shop for plants on sale in the Potting Shed.
Depart Stonecrop about noon and continue a short distance north to Poughkeepsie. Here you will stop for lunch on your own at a charming local café.
Depart the café and travel just up the street to your next destination, the Locust Grove Estate, a National Historic Landmark. The 200-acre property includes homes, a carriage house, an ice house, trails, a flower garden, and a vegetable garden, and it overlooks the Hudson River from a bluff. The estate includes a home designed by architect, Alexander Jackson Davis for Samuel F. B. Morse, the inventor of the telegraph. The Italianate-style mansion was completed in 1851. Inside the historic mansion, step back in time to witness the early years of the 20th century; the Young family’s collection of Hudson River School paintings, early 19th-century American furniture and personal possessions that are still in place after more than a century. Your visit includes a guided tour of the house and gardens.
The ideal way to end your day of touring is with a refreshing stop at the Benmarl Winery where you will enjoy a taste of their renowned wines. Situated on 37 acres overlooking the Hudson River Valley, this winery is the oldest vineyard in North America. Your visit includes a tasting of six wines and a souvenir glass.
Depart the Winery and travel back to the hotel. There will be time to refresh and relax.
After a busy day of travel, you’ll be ready for the casual vibe of a locals’ favorite eatery. Offering spectacular views of the Hudson River, the restaurant is known for its flavorful, fresh seafood. Wine is included with dinner. All other beverages are on own.
Day Three, Tuesday, September 19:
Following an early breakfast in the hotel, board your coach and travel north for a diverse day of garden touring. Today’s first visit will be to Manitoga, the former home, studio and 75-acre woodland garden of American industrial designer, Russel Wright. Built on the site of an abandoned granite quarry in Garrison, the complex is an utterly unique testament to Wright’s enduring ideas about good design and living in harmony with nature and holds the distinction of being both a National Historic Landmark and one of the few 20th-century modern homes with original landscape open to the public. Features of the house include large expanses of glass allowing for views of the 30-foot Waterfall, the Quarry Pool and the surrounding landscape. Boulders, plantings and stone terraces are positioned to bring the outdoors in, blending architecture and landscape. Although the many elements of the garden are familiar—house, terraces, trellis, and paths—nothing is conventional. During this morning’s visit, Manitoga’s resident groundskeeper will lead your group on an immersive House, Studio and Landscape tour. Your visit also includes a shuttle service to and from the site.
By this time, you’ll be ready to sit back and relax a while. Climb aboard the Pride of the Hudson for a 2-hour narrated site-seeing luncheon cruise. Bask in the open air on the spacious sundeck or enjoy the comfort of the climate-controlled main salon featuring huge wrap-around windows. Your cruise will take you by Washington’s Headquarters, Mount Beacon, Bannerman Island, Breakneck Mountain, Cold Spring, World’s End, Constitution Island and West Point.
When the boat returns to dock, board the coach and travel to a most memorable destination Innisfree Garden. The garden is a nonprofit public garden influenced by the Chinese style. The garden was established between 1930 and 1960 as the private garden of Walter and Marion Beck, inspired by scroll paintings of the 8th-century Chinese poet and painter Wang Wei. With the help of landscape architect Lester Collins from Harvard University, individual garden scenes inspired by Chinese paintings were connected to an overall landscape around a glacial lake, in keeping with the ecological surroundings. The 150-acre garden features streams, waterfalls, terraces, retaining walls, rocks and plants based on principles of Chinese landscape design. Most of the plants are native, and rocks come from the local forest. Tyrrel Lake is a large, deep glacial lake from which water is pumped into a hillside reservoir, and thence to the garden’s water features. Follow your tour manager on a stroll through this amazing garden and magical destination that will create life-long memories. Martha Stewart has said that Innisfree is her favorite garden!
Arrive back at the hotel. There will be time to refresh before you head out to discover your new favorite restaurant when you have dinner on your own at an establishment in Rivertowns Square. Or, simply relax and have dinner at the hotel’s casual eatery.
Day Four, Wednesday, September 20:
Following breakfast in the hotel, board the coach and travel a short distance to Tarrytown, home of the majestic estate, Lyndhurst Mansion. Lyndhurst is one of America’s finest Gothic Revival mansions. Built in 1838, Lyndhurst was first conceived in the minds of architects, A. J. Davis and William Paulding. The house was first named “Knoll,” although critics quickly dubbed it “Paulding’s Folly” because of its unusual design that includes fanciful turrets and an asymmetrical outline. The second owner, New York merchant, George Merritt, doubled the house’s size in 1864-1865 and renamed it “Lyndenhurst” for the estate’s Linden trees. railroad tycoon, Jay Gould, purchased the property in 1880 for use as a country house and shortened its name to “Lyndhurst.”
Unlike later mansions along the Hudson River, Lyndhurst’s rooms are few and of a more modest scale, and strongly Gothic in character. Hallways are narrow, windows small and sharply arched, and ceilings are fantastically peaked, vaulted and ornamented. The effect is at once gloomy, somber and highly romantic; the large, double-height art gallery provides a contrast of light and space.
The house sits within a landscape park, designed in the English naturalistic style by Ferdinand Mangold, whom Merritt hired. Mangold drained the surrounding swamps, created lawns, planted specimen trees and built a conservatory. The park is an outstanding example of 19th-century landscape design with a curving entrance drive that reveals “surprise” views of rolling lawns accented with shrubs and specimen trees. The 390-foot-long onion-domed, iron-framed, glass conservatory, when built, was one of the largest privately owned greenhouses in the United States.
Your visit includes a one-hour guided mansion tour that covers two floors for a rare glimpse of the lavish decorative arts and furniture left at Lyndhurst by previous owners. The tour, visits approximately 16 rooms and involves climbing one staircase with 25- steps. You’ll visit the first floor of the mansion including the parlor, filled with furniture designed by architect A.J. Davis and the sumptuous Civil War-era dining room. The second-floor centers around the opulent Grand Art Gallery hung with an original collection of European paintings brought to Lyndhurst by the Gould family. Impressive Tiffany stained glass windows adorn the gallery and adjacent bedrooms.
Depart Lyndhurst and travel along the Hudson River to Boscobel, an historic house museum. The house was built in the early 19th century by States Dyckman. It is considered a significant example of the Federal style of American architecture, augmented by Dyckman’s extensive collection of period decorations and furniture.
It was originally located in
the Westchester County
village of Montrose.
Restoration efforts in the
mid-20th century moved it
15 miles upriver to where it
currently stands. Boscobel’s
distinguishing feature is the
unusual delicacy conveyed by the front facade and its ornamentation. Unique among Federal-style buildings, carved wooden swags in the shape of drapery, complete with tassels and bowknots, grace the top of the second-story balcony. Nearly one-third of the face is glass, with flanking lights integrated into contemporary windows used in the restoration to enhance the effect. Adjacent to the house is a permanent sculpture garden with ten bronze
busts of significant Hudson River School artists. This historic house museum contains one of the finest collections of decorative arts, including furniture, from the Federal period.
Your visit begins with an included picnic lunch served under the Pavilion Tent. Then, join your guide for a house and garden tour. Return to your hotel in the afternoon and refresh before reconvening in the hotel’s meeting space for a private Wreath-making Workshop with Hamptons-based, dried floral artist, Diana Conklin. A former president of the South Fork Craftsmen’s Guild, Diana teaches the lost art of dried flowers with a fresh twist! Everyone in your group will create a Fall Harvest Wreath that may be hung or used as a centerpiece. Diana will provide a large assortment of dried materials grown on her Long Island farm.
Tonight, gather for an included dinner served at a nearby, hidden treasure Italian restaurant. This family-owned eatery is known for serving the finest Italian fare in Westchester County. The staff is not only always thrilled to serve, but also quite entertaining! Wine is included with dinner. All other beverages are on own.
Day Five, Thursday, September 21:
Following breakfast, forage your belongings and check out of your hotel. Your last visit, and one certain to make life-long memories, is at the Cloisters. This museum is a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and was built in the 1930’s resembling architectural elements of several European medieval abbeys. It is used to exhibit art and architecture
from Medieval Europe. The
Cloisters were landscaped with gardens planted according to horticultural information obtained from Medieval manuscripts and artifacts and the structure includes multiple Medieval-style cloistered herb gardens.
Although each of the three gardens at The Met Cloisters is unique, their design and plantings are based on information found in documents and works of art from the Middle Ages. The gardens were originally laid out and planted in 1938, the year The Met Cloisters opened.
In the Judy Black Garden at the Cuxa Cloister, arcaded walkways surround an enclosed courtyard, that is open to the sky. Here, medieval European species and modern garden plants from Asia and the Americas combine to provide color and scent from early spring until
The Bonnefont Cloister garden, contains one of the most specialized plant collections in the world: all of its approximately 300 species were grown and used during the Middle Ages for purposes as varied as food, medicine, magic and artist materials. The raised beds, wattle fences and wellhead are all features depicted frequently in medieval sources.
Your Package Includes
• 4 Nights accommodation
• 4 Breakfasts
• 2 Lunches
• 3 Dinners
• Included group dinners include wine with dinner
• 1 Welcome Reception
• Guided garden tour at Wave Hill
• Guided tour at Stonecrop
• House and Garden tour at the Locust Grove Estate
• Tasting at Benmaryl Winery
• Visit Manitoga with a guided house and grounds tour
• Round trip shuttle service to Manitoga
• Hudson River Cruise with Lunch
• Self-guided tour at Innisfree
• Docent-led house tour at Lyndhurst
• House and garden tour at Boscobel
• Dried wreath-making class
• Admission to the MET Cloisters with a guided tour of the gardens
• Services of a full-time tour manager
• Baggage handling for one piece of luggage per traveler
• Private motor coach transportation throughout the tour
• Taxes and gratuities (Note: gratuities for the coach driver and tour manager are not included and are at your discretion based on service.)
The following prices are based on 18 paid travelers. Fewer than 18 paid travelers may result in a price increase. Prices and itinerary are subject to change if unavoidable.
• Per person double occupancy: – $3500
• Per person single occupancy: $4000
Just Ladies Traveling is offering this trip in conjunction with:
Photo Credit: Wave Hill