If you can’t decide whether to visit a mansion, enjoy flower and herb gardens, or hike in the woods, then plan a visit to Boscobel House and Gardens. This lovely site on the east side of the Hudson (the mansion dates from the 1800s) has something for everyone: collections of art and furniture, extensive gardens, and a Woodland Trail for those who enjoy a nice hike under the forest canopy.
For the third year in a row, Boscobel has offered a special art exhibit. This year’s exhibit is devoted to the prints of Currier and Ives, and of course, the ones chosen concentrate on depictions of the Hudson Valley. This exhibit closes after Columbus Day weekend, though Boscobel is open year round except from January to March. You can check their website for all the details.
The day I visited began cloudy, gradually brightened up, and by the time the hot midday sun arrived I was well ensconced among the trees on the Nature Trail. The trail has a few well-placed benches and even a gazebo; a trail map available in the Visitor Center as well as at the entrance to the trail points out the views, so you’ll want to have the map if you particularly enjoy scenic vistas. Other than birds, squirrels, and chipmunks I didn’t see any animals, although a sign points out a particular tree where a forest ranger once saw a bear; the bear’s scratch marks are still visible. The bear was removed and relocated to a more appropriate setting in the Adirondacks.
Boscobel’s location above the banks of the Hudson offers stunning views across the river; it’s opposite West Point and can be reached along Route 9D. If you’re coming from the other side of the river, the Bear Mountain Bridge is convenient and connects you with Route 9D. Weather permitting, you can take a picnic lunch; otherwise, Cold Spring, a few minutes’ drive to the north, has a great variety of cafes and restaurants.