Wilderstein Historic Site

August 11, 2019 – Rhinebeck, NY

Difficulty: Easy

Length: approximately 3 miles

Route type: Circuit

Trail Guide: Wilderstein Trail Map

Trailhead parking: Wilderstein Trails Parking – Rhinebeck, NY 12572

 

Overview:

Wilderstein is a not-for-profit house museum in Rhinebeck, NY. The 19th-century Queen-Anne-style country house on the Hudson River, was the home of Margaret Suckley, a cousin and confidante of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and is widely regarded as the Hudson Valley’s most important example of Victorian architecture.

Wilderstein Historic Site

Wilderstein Historic Site

The Wilderstein Historic Site is located on a wooded bluff overlooking the Hudson River. The estate consists of 40-acres created over a century ago in the American romantic style by landscape architect Calvert Vaux. During his career, Vaux enjoyed an important association with Frederick Law Olmsted.

Wilderstein Historic Site

Wilderstein Historic Site

At Wilderstein, Calvert Vaux created an intricate network of carriage drives, walks, and trails adorned with specimen trees and ornamental shrubs. The landscape plan entails well-chosen prospect points marked by rustic gazebos and sheltered garden seats.

Wilderstein Historic Site

Wilderstein Historic Site

Carriage House - Wilderstein Historic Site

Carriage House – Wilderstein Historic Site

footbridge - Wilderstein Historic Site

footbridge – Wilderstein Historic Site

Umbrella Point - Wilderstein Historic Site

Umbrella Point – Wilderstein Historic Site

gazebo - Wilderstein Historic Site

gazebo – Wilderstein Historic Site

The trail system that traverses the property is approximately three miles long and takes about one hour to hike. Vaux’s reverence for nature, always clearly and thoughtfully expressed in his work, is still evident.

Wilderstein Historic Site

Wilderstein Historic Site

Wilderstein Historic Site

Wilderstein Historic Site

Wilderstein’s grounds are open year-round, daily from 9am until 4pm. There is no charge to walk the grounds and trails. Parking for the trails is available off Morton Road near Wilderstein’s Gate Lodge during hours the mansion is not open for tours.

Wilderstein Historic Site Trails Parking

Wilderstein Historic Site Trails Parking

Wilderstein Historic Site

Wilderstein Historic Site

Some of the structures that can be viewed at Wilderstein Historic Site:

  • Wilderstein

The original Italianate country home designed by John Warren Ritch in 1852 was remodeled and enlarged in 1888. Poughkeepsie architect Arnout Cannon was hired to transform the two story villa into an elaborate Queen Anne style mansion. The renovated structure soared upward with the addition of a third floor, multi-gabled attic and a dramatic five story circular tower with commanding views of the surrounding landscape.

Wilderstein

Wilderstein

Wilderstein

Wilderstein

Wilderstein

Wilderstein

Wilderstein

Wilderstein

The fanciful, asymmetrical roof line of the house was complimented by the addition of an imposing porte cochere and an expansive verandah.

porte cochere - Wilderstein

porte cochere – Wilderstein

veranda - Wilderstein

veranda – Wilderstein

veranda - Wilderstein

veranda – Wilderstein

  • Carriage House

Designed in the Queen Anne style by Arnout Cannon, the first story of the Carriage House is constructed of brick ornamented with bands of rusticated brownstone. Above it rises the shingle-clad second story, enhanced with decorated gables. A large onion-shaped dome, the fanciful capping of one of the ventilators, dominates the massive roof. The first floor was designed for horses with stables, a tack room, and carriage wash. On the second floor was a hayloft and space to store sleighs in the summer and carriages in the winter. After the invention of the automobile, the Suckley family used the Carriage House primarily as a garage for their many motorized vehicles.

Carriage House - Wilderstein Historic Site

Carriage House – Wilderstein Historic Site

Carriage House - Wilderstein Historic Site

Carriage House – Wilderstein Historic Site

Carriage House - Wilderstein Historic Site

Carriage House – Wilderstein Historic Site

Carriage House - Wilderstein Historic Site

Carriage House – Wilderstein Historic Site

  • Ice House

During the winter, blocks of ice were cut from the Hudson River and Morton’s Pond. The ice was stored both above and underground and in the Ice House. The underground ice was in reserve for the summer. This was the first building constructed on the property and was filled with ice for the first time in January of 1853.

Ice House - Wilderstein Historic Site

Ice House – Wilderstein Historic Site

  • Root Cellar

The Root Cellar was a cool dry place used to store fruits and vegetables that were grown at Wilderstein. In the woods near it, you may notice locust posts. This is what remains of the barrier used to keep grazing animals off the lawn and away from the gardens.

Root Cellar - Wilderstein Historic Site

Root Cellar – Wilderstein Historic Site

Root Cellar - Wilderstein Historic Site

Root Cellar – Wilderstein Historic Site

  • Potting House

An important element in the design for Wildenstein’s landscape was the Potting House and adjoining Greenhouse manufactured by the Lord and Burnham Company of Irvington, NY. These buildings were constructed in 1890 and placed on the southern edge of the estate, where there were extensive gardens for both flowers and vegetables. American Colonial in character, the Potting House’s plan is square with its front door marked by a small portico framed in Doric columns. This building served as the entrance to the 82 ft. long Greenhouse, which survives today as only a brick foundation.

Potting House - Wilderstein Historic Site

Potting House – Wilderstein Historic Site

The Views:

Delightful Hudson River Valley views can be experienced from different areas of the grounds.

  • The Lawn
view south - Wilderstein Historic Site

view south – Wilderstein Historic Site

view south - Wilderstein Historic Site

view south – Wilderstein Historic Site

view south - Wilderstein Historic Site

view south – Wilderstein Historic Site

  • Cove Point
Cove Point - Wilderstein Historic Site

Cove Point – Wilderstein Historic Site

  • Umbrella Point
Umbrella Point - Wilderstein Historic Site

Umbrella Point – Wilderstein Historic Site

Umbrella Point - Wilderstein Historic Site

Umbrella Point – Wilderstein Historic Site

In addition to house tours and walking trails, special exhibitions are featured annually. A variety of activities and events are also scheduled at Wilderstein throughout the year.

Hans Van Meeuwen - "Melvin" 2018

Hans Van Meeuwen – “Melvin” 2018

Suprina - "Someone Elses Shoes" 2017

Suprina – “Someone Elses Shoes” 2017

Dave Channon - "Flaneur" 2016

Dave Channon – “Flaneur” 2016

Wilderstein Historic Site

Wilderstein Historic Site

Mansion Tours:

  • Thursday to Sunday – The first tour of the day begins at noon and the last tour begins at 3:30 pm. Tours start approximately every half-hour.
  • Admission Fees: $11 adults, $10 students/seniors, children under 12 free. Reservations are not necessary.
  • There is no charge to walk the grounds and trails.
  • Wilderstein’s grounds are open year-round, daily from 9am until 4pm.

 

Sources:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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