Only an hour north of the best museums in the world in NYC, this country retreat, which houses some of the world's greatest sculptures, is worth a day trip from anywhere in the northeast.
The setting is idyllic - a former grand estate of a wealthy robber baron type who was an art aficionado. The grounds are magnificent, as is the main house ... but the sculptures are the star of the show. Huge pieces set into these rolling meadows literally take your breath away. Calder, Moore, etc. are all well represented. The most striking thing - other than the obvious, which are the beautiful sculptures themselves, is the way they are set among the landscape to highlight them in the best possible way. The curation is magnificent.
You can stroll around the 500 acres of this outdoor museum to your heart's content. Alternately, if you want to pace yourself, there is a tram which drives around regularly, stops at the key pieces and has a running audio commentary on what you're seeing.
This is a must see if you're a sculpture aficionado or even if you're just looking for a lovely spot to sit on the ground and have a peaceful picnic lunch. The tram makes it family friendly as well and there's enough wide open space that children can run around but not annoy the people that are just there to see the art.
One warning: there are some marshy lowlands on this property, which is only a few miles west of the Hudson River. You'll see the stands of cattails here and there. Unfortunately that makes it very buggy at certain times of year. When we were there in May, there were swarms of gnats - not biting but definitely annoying, divebombing our heads. Wear shoes, not sandals and long pants if you're going there during a buggy time of year.
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