Explore the Hudson Valley

Fall is finally upon us, and there are few regions better suited for the season than the Hudson Valley. With an abundance of breathtaking views and sprawling national parks, the area is perfect for hiking, biking, or simply unwinding for the weekend with a good novel and a pumpkin-spice flavored drink in tow.

However, the Hudson Valley is far more than its natural beauty—it's also home to a wide variety of historic sites and architectural treasures, particularly historic artists' homes and studios. Check out some of the best that the valley has to offer in this handy guide.

  1. Photo By: Armour-Stiner (Octagon) House

    Armour-Stiner (Octagon) House

    The Octagon House is the only known fully domed, octagonal residence and the only house built in the form of an ancient classical temple in the United States. The home was built in the 1860s by Paul J. Armour, but New York City tea merchant Joseph Stiner added the dome and verandah to create the elaborate Roman-style temple. The Octagon House is open for tours by reservation in February 2019. The Octagon House is a member of the National Trust Distinctive Destinations program.

  2. Photo By: Brian Thomson/The Ethan James Foundation


    Constructed in 1838, Lyndhurst is one of the finest examples of Gothic Revival architecture in the country, as well as a National Historic Landmark and one of the National Trust's Historic Sites. If you're seeking to liven up your Halloween season, consider paying Lyndhurst a visit. Lyndhurst is a member of the National Trust Distinctive Destinations program.

  3. Photo By: Ron Blunt


    Since its construction in 1913 by famed businessman John D. Rockefeller, four generations of the Rockefeller family have called the hilltop estate of Kykuit home. The centerpiece is the six-story stone building with a subterranean art gallery, but the Kykuit is also renowned for its exception collection of 20th century sculptures. Check them out while enjoying the property's sprawling, terraced gardens. Kykuit is a member of the National Trust Distinctive Destinations program.

  4. Photo By: Inhabitat/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


    It may sound like a Canadian province, but Manitoga's design is anything but provincial. Designed and occupied until 1976 by Modernist Russel Wright, with help from architect David Leavitt, the building's wide glass panels and seamless integration with nature make it a must-visit for anyone with an appreciation for Midcentury Modern architecture. Part of the Historic Artist's Home and Studios program, Manitoga is also a National Trust Distinctive Destination.

  5. Photo By: Dennis Murphy/Flickr/CC BY 2.0


    Landscape painter Frederic Church's stunning former home combined Victorian architecture with Middle Eastern decorative features, such as arched window openings and balcony woodwork. Olana was nearly sold to a developer in 1965, many years after Church's death, but a "Life" magazine article about the property galvanized the public to save it. The state of New York purchased Olana in 1966, and opened it as a New York State Historic Site the following year.

  6. Photo By: PilotGirl/Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0

    Thomas Cole National Historic Site

    As the former studio and residence of the artist who bears its name, the Thomas Cole National Historic Site is the birthplace of the Hudson School of landscape painting. Both an art gallery and a museum dedicated to the life of Thomas Cole, the property is an invaluable piece of the history of art in America. Part of the Historic Artist's Home and Studios program, Thomas Cole National Historic Site is also a National Trust Distinctive Destination.

  7. Photo By: Michael Lavin Flower


    Chesterwood was the summer home of one of the most renowned sculptors in American history—Daniel Chester French, whose body of work includes the statue of Abraham Lincoln which resides in Washington, D.C.'s Lincoln Memorial. French selected the location for its spectacular views of the Berkshire Mountains, and the formal English gardens that cover Chesterwood emphasize French's appreciation for nature. Part of the Historic Artist's Home and Studios program, Chesterwood is also a National Trust Distinctive Destination.

  8. Frelinghuysen morris%20house

    Photo By: Norman Walsh/Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0

    Frelinghuysen Morris House & Studio

    George Morris and Suzy Frelinghuysen were two of the most prolific abstract artists of the 1930s and '40s, and the building they once shared now stands as testament to the art movement they committed their lives to. Visitors will find not only the works of Morris and Frelinghuysen, but also those of their more famous contemporaries, such as Picasso and Georges Braque.

Join us for PastForward Online 2020, the historic preservation event of the year, October 27-30, 2020.

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