Spring has sprung in Westchester, and that means there’s no time like the present to get out and about in the 914. Lucky for you, some of the county’s top destinations are timing their reopenings just right to coincide with the arrival of warmer weather.
This May, four of Westchester County’s most iconic attractions will reopen to the public, as Historic Hudson Valley, the preservation organization that administers the sites, transitions into the summer tourist season. Philipsburg Manor, Kykuit, Union Church, and Sunnyside will each offer tours of their individual slices of history, and visitors will be able to enjoy the Westchester sites to their full extent.
Whether you’re a repeat visitor or plan to visit the destinations for the first time, here’s a rundown on the historic sites that are ready to welcome visitors in Westchester.
Kykuit is well-known as the “Rockefeller Estate.” It was built by billionaire oil mogul John D. Rockefeller, who, at the time of the estate’s construction in 1913 was the world’s richest man. Today, the 40-room mansion sits on 3,400 acres of land in Mount Pleasant.
The home was occupied by several generations of Rockefellers, including Nelson Rockefeller, who served as the 49th governor of New York from 1959 to 1973, and was Vice President to Gerald Ford.
For visitors nowadays, the estate acts as a museum and holds an impressive display of art for visitors to appreciate. Included in the collection are works by 20th-century masters Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, and Andy Warhol, among many others.
There are also manicured gardens and the much larger Rockefeller State Preserve nearby, with its many open acres and trails.
Kykuit opens for tours May 21.
The one story neo-Gothic style church was also built by the Rockefeller Family and was intended to serve the community of Pocantico Hills that lay around and beneath the Kykuit estate.
Today, the Westchester landmark is best known for its striking fieldstone exterior, slate roof, and stained-glass windows designed by legendary French artist Henri Matisse. The stained glass of Union Church was the last work completed by Matisse before he passed away in 1954.
Marc Chagall also contributed a piece of glass to the church, and visitors can see these works and also a notable pipe organ that was commissioned in 2006 and is modeled after the organs of classical European churches.
Union Church will be open for tours Fridays and weekends beginning May 6.
Washington Irving is known across the country as America’s “Founding Father of Literature,” and in Westchester as the writer who enshrined the Headless Horseman and Legend of Sleepy Hollow into the county’s cultural tapestry.
Located in Irvington along the Hudson River, Sunnyside is a picturesque cottage that has been restored to its original 1850s character.
Guests at the Westchester landmark will be able to experience how the famous writer lived and worked and maybe even feel the same inspiration Irving did when he created Rip Van Winkle.
Sunnyside will be open for tours Fridays and weekends beginning May 6.
First established in 1693 by a Dutch royal charter, Philipsburg Manor at its height sat on 52,000 acres that stretched from the top of Manhattan to what is now Croton.
The Philipse family were extremely prominent and powerful in colonial America and made extensive use of slave labor in their business dealings and management of the estate.
During the Revolutionary War, the property was confiscated by the fledgling Continental government, and its assets auctioned off to raise money for the war with Britain. Frederick Philipse III, the final lord of the manor, was a loyalist to King George and was arrested for treason in 1779.
Today the Westchester landmark is a museum – the country’s first dedicated to the history and atrocities of northern slavery.
Philipsburg Manor will be open for guided tours Fridays and weekends beginning May 6.
For visitor policies and more information on all these sites, visit HudsonValley.org.