August 6, 2016 – Irvington, NY
Size: approximately 4.4 acres
Halsey Pond Park is a 4.4 acre park that once used to be part of a large estate. In 1905 A. J. Manning was commissioned by oil and cotton magnate Melchior Beltzhoover to build an exact replica of a Rhineland castle. The building, called “Rochroane”, was sold to Benjamin Halsey in 1927 and renamed “Grey Towers,” but was abandoned in 1976, and it burned down the next year (the exterior was stone, but the interior was wood). Much of the land that was part of the original estate was sold to developers and all that remains is the pond with some land around it.
I came upon this park while doing some research about castles in New York in April of 2015. On Irvington’s website it reads “Halsey Pond Park is considered Irvington’s best kept secret.” They weren’t lying, up until recently there was no information listed on the location of the park. Prior to my first visit in 2015 I used Google Maps to find Halsey Pond and planned my route from there. I have visited the park twice and didn’t see another soul either time. There are trails, but not a formal trail system. On both of my visits I stayed on the trail that looped around the pond. Ironically there are 3 listed entrances to the park now. I entered through Hamilton Road which has parking for about 3 cars at the end of the street. There are 2 signs that reserve those spots for visitors of the park.
I started out at the entrance to the park located at the dead end.
I walked up what I assumed was the driveway to the estate at one time.
It was an uphill walk until I reached a fork in the road. I turned left which would take me to the teahouse. A plaque on a rock explains some history.
The whole purpose of my visit was to photograph the teahouse. I had been here in April of 2015, but after a rough winter there was not much greenery at the time. I figured it would look nicer with some green around it. It did look nicer, but the vegetation did obscure it somewhat.
I captured some images from different angles as I fought the afternoon sun.
It was a pretty cool little spot that I had found and this structure was indeed the payoff.
I walked down to the front of it by the pond and it had a barred door and window.
I walked back up and took some shots of the interior.
From the inside looking out towards the pond.
After I took countless shots of the teahouse, I continued along the trail around the pond. There were stone walls that probably at one time surrounded the estate.
As I walked along the pond I captured some more images of the teahouse across the way.
From across the pond to the left of the teahouse I could see the stone bridge that I had walked across when I first got to the pond. It was covered in vines and barely visible until now.
After walking around the pond I ended up back at the teahouse and just relaxed for a little while. The skies started to turn and I started feeling some drops. I didn’t feel like getting wet so I retraced my steps back to the car.
Here are some shots I took on April 3, 2015 on my first visit here. With less foliage the teahouse is much more visible.
I hope you enjoyed today’s hike. Don’t forget to follow my blog and stay up to date with my journeys. Until next time, keep on trekking……