New York botanical gardens is an oasis in the city of skyscrapers and brownstone tenements.…
When we lived in Westchester County we would often visit the mansions of the Hudson River valley. One of our favourites was Lyndhurst in Tarrytown. We’re a big fan of Gothic architecture and this house is a fantastic example of Gothic Revival, a conscious movement that began in England to revive Gothic forms, mostly in the second half of the 18th century and throughout the 19th century.
The house was commissioned by William Paulding Jr. and completed in 1842. It was originally called ‘The Knoll’. Paulding did not spend much time at the house after its completion, opting instead for his family home in town. His son Philip R. Paulding, took up residence in the 1850s. In 1864 the house was purchased by George Merrit who decided to update and expand the house, more than doubling its size. Merritt also changed the name to “Lyndenhurst” and eventually “Lyndhurst.” Railroad tycoon and financier Jay Gould purchased the estate in 1880, a few years after renting it as a family summer home and an escape from the pressures of business life in the city. The house remained in the Gould family until 1961 when Anna Gould the final owner passed away. She bequeathed Lyndhurst to the National Trust for Historic Preservation and it opened as a museum and historic site on June 18th, 1965.
The house itself is beautiful, and although it is designed in the style of the mid to late middle age architecture it used modern techniques, some of which was done to save money and time.
The only way to see the house is on a tour. We took the 1-hour tour which takes you through the ground floor, where the main reception rooms are located, and the first floor where the bedrooms are. There are other extended tours that take you up to the servant’s quarters and downstairs to the kitchen and laundry.
As well as the beautiful house Lyndhurst has stunning gardens that run down to the River Hudson. The gardens can be pleasant to wander around, as we have done many times, or you can join a tour. In the gardens, there are some other buildings, including a bowling alley. Added to the property by Helen Gould in 1894, the Hudson River-adjacent bowling pavilion houses two regulation-length lanes, two octagonal parlours, and a wide, river-facing veranda. Built immediately before the codification of modern bowling regulations, this is considered to be the oldest regulation bowling alley in the United States. The bowling alley was also used by Helen Gould for a sewing school. The school, which was held in the building’s adjacent parlours, taught a trade to local women who often had no other job opportunity than to work as a servant. Many were recent immigrants. Helen Gould trained women of all races and religions, which was unusual for the period.
Later, Helen’s younger sister Anna, the Duchess of Talleyrand, used the bowling alley for soldier convalescence during World War II. Although the structure fell into disrepair in the 1950s, years of refurbishment have restored the bowling alley. Lyndhurst has recently opened this unlikely tribute to women’s empowerment for public tours.
Next to the visitor’s centre, there are the old stable buildings. Horses no longer occupy the building and it is now used as an exhibition centre. When we visited there was an exhibit of costumes and furniture from different periods in Lyndhurst’s history.
Planning your visit to Lyndhurst
|Address:||635 S Broadway, Tarrytown|
|Telephone:||T: (914) 631-4481|
Lyndhurst is open seasonally from April through December. The property is open seven days a week from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm (last entry at 3:00 pm) for grounds visitation.
Classic Mansion Tour (1 hour).
Best time to visit Tarrytown
Fall and spring are considered by tourists and locals as the best times to visit, and you can expect pleasant temperatures to reign in the months from April to June and September until November. However, the best times of year to visit Tarrytown for warm-weather activities are from mid-June to July and from early August to the end of September.
Where to stay in the River Hudson Towns
1. CASTLE HOTEL & SPA
This historic Tarrytown hotel features views of the Hudson River and an outdoor pool complex with a hot tub. Kykuit, the estate of John D. Rockefeller, is 3 miles away.
Castle Hotel & Spa features a terrace with lounge chairs.
Guest rooms are equipped with a humidifier. Plush bathrobes and free Wi-Fi are also included in each spacious room. Suites boast a separate living room and views of the Hudson River.
A complimentary continental breakfast is served in The Garden Room.
2. TARRYTOWN HOUSE ESTATE
3. CRABTREE’S KITTLE HOUSE RESTAURANT & INN
Nestled down a quiet, tree-lined road in Chappaqua, Crabtree’s Kittle House Restaurant & Inn is a unique estate that transports all who visit a rich, elegant past.
Constructed in 1790, The Kittle Barn and Carriage House on Ivy Hill has been many things — working farm in post-Revolutionary America, the Kittle family home, roadhouse during Prohibition hosting wild late-night affairs, a private girls’ school, and now restaurant & inn. Within its walls, over two hundred years’ worth of stories are held; the Crabtree family continues the property’s legacy with true farm-to-table, local cuisine & warm hospitality.