A Day Trip to Kykuit – the John D. Rockefeller Estate

It’s always nice to plan a few special days each season to be outside and enjoy beautiful surroundings.  Last week, my Mother was in town, and we took a morning trip up to the John D. Rockefeller estate (known as “Kykuit”) in Westchester.  The name Kykuit means “lookout” in Afrikaans and is appropriate given the estate’s perch high in Pocantico Hills, the highest point along the river near Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow.  It is about a one hour drive from New York City – and from my home in Greenwich, it was about 25 minutes.  The house was designed and constructed by Chester Holmes Aldrich and William Adams Delano.  The home was completed in 1913 (a year after my own home here in Greenwich!) and took six years to build.

We had a fantastic tour guide, who explained that John D. Rockefeller wanted this home to be comfortable and much more reserved than the great homes that had been built up in Newport.    Initial landscaping was done by Frederick Law Olmsted (he also designed Central Park) but word had it that Rockefeller ended up doing a lot of the design himself, with later help from William Welles Bosworth. The vast estate and grounds occupies about 3,400 acres.  The house is stunning and as 1/3 of the estate was given to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, it opens to the public at certain months and times of the year for tours.    A highlight of the home is the art collection which includes Picassos, John Singer Sergeant, Chagall, Warhol and others.

I highly recommend a visit!  Be sure to check the website before you go as the tour times change and the estate closes after November 4th.  The Rockefeller family still owns 2/3 of the estate, after all, and they use it for family gatherings!  I hear they can be seen riding around the property at times in some of the fabulous coaches and carriages!

Here are some photos I snapped last week!

(That is my Mother!  Do you see a resemblance?!)

 Views of the Hudson River.  Gorgeous!

These are some inside shots of the stables and carriage house.  It’s amazing!

Photos Copyright Melissa Hawks. Photography is not permitted inside the home, so you will just have to plan your own visit!  Buy tickets and get information here!

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