Guide

Explore the Hudson Valley

With an abundance of breathtaking views and sprawling national parks, the Hudson Valley area is perfect for hiking, biking, or simply unwinding for the weekend with a good novel.

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: Historic New England/David Bohl

    Villa Lewaro (Madam C. J. Walker Estate)

    Complete in 1918 for Madam C.J. Walker, America’s first, self-made female millionaire, Villa Lewaro was the intellectual gathering place for leaders of the Harlem Renaissance such as James Weldon Johnson, Zora Neale Hurston, W. E. B. Du Bois, and Langston Hughes. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976, Villa Lewaro isn't open to the public, but you can take a virtual tour with narration from Madam C.J. Walker's great-great granddaughter, A'Lelia Bundles.

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

    Lyndhurst

    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.

  3. Photo By: Ron Blunt

    Kykuit

    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.

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

    Manitoga

    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. Manitoga is part of the Historic Artist's Home and Studios program.

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

    Olana

    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. Thomas Cole National Historic Site is part of the Historic Artist's Home and Studios program.

  7. Photo By: Michael Lavin Flower

    Chesterwood

    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 Historic Site.

The National Trust's African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund has awarded $3 million in grants to 33 places preserving Black history.

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