Visitors will delight in the ever growing haven of open space in Westchester County known as Rockefeller State Park Preserve. Approximately 30 miles from the hustle and bustle of New York City, the Preserve is an idyllic spot for strolling, jogging, horseback riding, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing. With 180 recorded species of birds and its IBA (Important Bird Area) designation by the National Audubon Society, the Preserve is a must visit area for birders. In season, licensed anglers enjoy fishing for bass in the 22 acre Swan Lake and for brown trout in the Pocantico River.
In addition the beauty of the Preserve inspires many artists and photographers to memorialize its scenic vistas. While in the park, stop in the Preserve's Gallery across from the Visitor Center. Its rotating exhibits feature the art of local artists. Within walking distance are the Preserve's nearest neighbors - The Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, a nonprofit farm and educational center designed to demonstrate, teach and promote sustainable, community-based food production and Blue Hill restaurant.
These numerous outdoor opportunities exist due to the foresight and generosity of the Rockefeller family. The Preserve land is comprised of a portion of the Rockefeller family estate in Pocantico Hills given to the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation in 1983. Since the Preserve's inception, additional bequeaths have extended its size to over 1,400 acres.
The most notable feature of the Preserve is the system of carriage roads built by John D. Rockefeller Jr. Designed to complement the landscape, the carriage roads, many of which are accessible, allow visitors to experience and enjoy the natural wonders of the area. These scenic paths wind through wetlands, woodlands, meadows, and fields and past streams, rivers, and lakes while traversing wood and stone bridges. One road passes by the foundation of Rockwood Hall, once the 220 room home of William Rockefeller. Its Olmstead designed landscape with its panoramic view of the Hudson River remains a spot of beauty for all who visit. Trail maps (with distance and grade descriptions) of all the carriage roads and equestrian permits are available at the Preserve Office. Swimming, biking, snowmobiling, camping, and open fires are strictly prohibited.
From NYC by train: Metro North Hudson Line to the Tarrytown Station. From there you can take a short taxi ride from train station to the Preserve Office on Rt. 117 in Pleasantville. At the Preserve Office you can obtain a map and other important area information.
Don't miss these popular destinations and attractions within or near the park preserve:
- 13 Bridges Loop Trail-1.9 miles of even to moderate grade, leading to 13 bridges on the wandering Gory Brook
- Bird Feeder Area-located next to the art gallery, many birds frequent the feeders in all seasons
- Fern Garden-located at the entrance, this garden is volunteer maintained
- Peony Monument-located next to the art gallery, these beautiful flowers were donated by a town in Southern Japan (the town of Yatsuka in the Shimane Prefecture). The peonies bloom every spring in late April through early May.
- Swan Lake-located a short walk from the art gallery, a 22-acre lake
- Philipse Manor Hall State Historic Site-located 15 miles south, a museum of history, art and architecture, as well as host to community organizations, meetings, educational programs and special events.
- Rockefeller Art Gallery-gallery of two-dimensional arts. Rotated every six weeks. See the calendar of events for the most updated exhibit.
- Rockwood Hall-it was once the county estate of the late William M. Rockefeller
- Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park-0.9 miles of the Old Croton Aqueduct travel through the preserve.