Skip Navigation LinksHistoric Landscape Gardens of the Hudson River Valley

During the 19th-century, the Hudson Valley saw extensive developments in landscape gardening as nowhere else in America. Today, many of the largely unaltered grounds of numerous riverfront properties are preserved as historic sites, open to the public. Some of the region’s premier historic attractions are, in fact, landscape garden compositions,where architecture is but a part of the holistic historic artifact.

Inspired by the valley’s natural scenery, artists, writers, poets, and landscape gardeners of the 19th century developed an American version of Romanticism. They favored simplicity, naturalism, and emotion over 18th-century preferences for classicism, order, and rationale. Influential landscape designers such as Andrew Jackson Downing, a native of the Hudson River Valley, established a national style for landscapes and gardens in harmony with nature.

Romantic landscapes are still a prominent feature of the region’s character. They exist in the wisteria vine-clad walls of Washington Irving’s cottage at Sunnyside, the vistas to water’s edge from the Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park, and the views crafted from the landscape by artist Frederic E. Church at Olana in Hudson.

Take this opportunity to explore these magnificent sites and the special events taking place during the month-long celebration of Historic Landscape Gardens of the Hudson River Valley. We encourage you to explore the resources using the tabs at the top of this page or download a copy of our printed brochure.


(Photo of Clermont State Historic Site courtesy of Steve Gross & Susan Daley from their new book, Gardens Of The Hudson Valley, to be published by Monacelli Press October 2010)