Rockefeller State Park Preserve Weekend Getaway
Rockefeller State Park Preserve is located in Sleepy Hollow, New York, and in Westchester County. It encompasses a hilly area just east of the Hudson River and has a varied terrain that includes dense woodlands, small, meandering rivers and creeks, meadows, bogs, and Swan Lake. It is a popular place for hiking, spotting wildlife, and bird watching.
The park was donated piecemeal to the state of New York by the Rockefeller family, beginning in 1983. There are still private lands held by the Rockefellers adjacent to the state-owned areas. The trails of the private and public lands are interconnected, and tourists are free to visit both.
Things to see and do in Rockefeller State Park Preserve
Explore the scenic hills of Rockefeller State Park Reserve by hiking, jogging, horseback riding, and carriage rides are all popular ways to see what the park has to offer. There are around 180 species of birds, and the National Audubon Society has declared the park an IBA (Important Bird Area). You can see the first triple-arch stone bridge ever built in the U.S. if you opt for the Pocantico River Trail. On Thirteen Bridges Loop Trail, you can cross the 13 bridges of meandering Gory Brook. And there are many scenic lookout points on the 1,500-acre park, regardless of which trail you choose.
Visit the adjacent Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, where you can learn about and see first-hand “sustainable farming techniques.” Also on-site is the famously delicious Blue Hill restaurant.
Go fishing, with a proper license of course, for bass in Swan Lake or for brown trout in the Pocantico River. The scenic beauty and pristine waters, they say, make the fish taste even better if you choose to keep your catch for dinner later on.
Peruse the Rockefeller Art Gallery, which features an ever-changing array of works by local artists, at the visitor’s center. Next to the visitor center, you can see a lot of the park’s bird life in the “Bird Feeder Area.” Also near the art gallery is “Peony Monument,” which is a planting of Japanese peony flowers that bloom every spring. And near the park’s entrance, take time to see the Fern Garden.
Finally, don’t forget to tour the former Westchester County home of William Rockefeller, known as “Rockwood Hall,” to see how one member of the Rockefeller family lived in the midst of this natural beauty before his passing.
While Rockefeller State Park is open all year long, winters are cold and snowy. However, skiing and snow shoeing are popular in the park during the winter. The summers are hot and humid, but temperatures are often 10 degrees or more lower than those of New York City and Long Island to the south.
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