Boscobel House & Gardens

The Boscobel House flanked by massive maples in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

The Boscobel House flanked by massive maples (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Although its foundation is now firmly planted on the soil of Garrison, New York, the magnificent Boscobel house did not originate there. Instead, the stately residence was moved from Montrose, New York (about 15 miles away), where building was completed for the Dyckman family in 1808. States Dyckman envisioned his future home as a sanctuary from the stresses of serving the British army, so he chose the name of Boscobel after the Boscobel estate in Shropshire, England, where King Charles II took refuge after battle. Sadly, States passed in 1806, before the construction was finished. While considered a very luxurious home for its day, Boscobel functioned as a working farm with 250 acres and a variety of animals (fowl, hogs, cows, sheep and horses) that were managed by States’ widow, Elizabeth Dyckman, until her death in 1823. Descendants of States and Elizabeth continued to live in the home until 1888.

Boscobel in Montrose, New York around 1950 in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Boscobel House in Montrose, New York around 1950

The estate went through a succession of private owners until The Westchester County Parks Commission acquired the land in 1923. The house remained vacant while the property transferred to the Veteran’s Administration in 1945 (the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Veteran’s Administration Hospital is still there today), and by 1955 Boscobel was put up for auction and purchased by a demolition contractor for $35. Thankfully, a group with vision and passion formed an organization called Boscobel Restoration, Inc., which raised enough money to stop the demolition and purchase the building. By 1956 the Garrison tract of land came on the market, and over a five month period the house was dismantled and moved. Assembly was completed in 1960, and during the final stages a landscape architectural firm was brought in to provide an “appropriate historical setting” for the restored house. Giant maples, mature shrubs and an entire apple orchard were trucked in on flatbeds to give the property an established feeling.

The view from Belvedere Overlook in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

The view from Belvedere Overlook (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Today those majestic maples stand as sentries at the front of Boscobel, while the limbs of mature apple trees hang with abundant fruit along a brick walkway that steers you toward the Hudson River. And speaking of that glorious river, what a breathtaking view to behold (especially from the Belvedere Overlook). Boscobel is strategically sited with an unobstructed panorama of azure skies, rolling emerald mountains and gently pulsating waves. In fact, Boscobel is known for having one of the best vantage points to observe the Hudson River in its infinite glory. I’d venture to say that if States Dyckman and his family were present today, they would be quite satisfied with the new location of their former homestead.

The pond and fountain at picnic area in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

The pond and fountain at picnic area (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

But tear yourself away from the Hudson vista for a little bit, because there is a lot more to see on this 16 acre estate. For starters, on the western corner of the property is a spectacular geyser of water shooting up like a rocket from the center of a sparkling pond. Tall grasses sway beside the water’s edge, and along the shore a clump of white birches are accompanied by half a dozen (or so) stone orbs of various sizes. Additional wire spheres appeared to roll with the slight curves of the lawn, and several cozy tables and chairs rest in a shady spot nearby, inviting you to sit and enjoy the tranquil ambience.

*For another beautiful garden overlooking the Hudson visit: Wave Hill

Maple lined driveway to Boscobel House in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Maple lined driveway to Boscobel House (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Parallel to the pond is a maple lined driveway that leads to Boscobel House, which is open for tours every half hour and well worth the visit. The home has been meticulously restored (down to paint materials, colors and finishes) and is furnished with a notable collection of Federal period antiques and decorative art, including some items belonging to the Dyckman family. The front door opens to an opulent parlor with a grand stair case, where we were told Peter (son of Elizabeth and States) married Susan Matilda Whetten in 1819. The views from the front of the house are spectacular on both floors, thanks to the generous floor to ceiling windows (complete with indoor folding shutters to provide shade on warmer days).

Looking out of the Orangery in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Looking out of the Orangery into Herb Garden (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

To the right of the driveway, you’ll find a brick path that leads to the Herb Garden, an area fenced with espaliered trees and embroidered with raised beds heaped with colorful vegetables (including heirloom tomatoes) and sumptuous herbs such as sage, rosemary and chives. Sprinkled throughout are vibrant annuals flanked by neatly trimmed boxwoods that line the walkway to the Orangery; a brick and clapboard building that would be used to shelter non-hardy plants and fruit trees during the winter.

The Rose Garden at Boscobel in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

The Rose Garden at Boscobel (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Further along you come to the Rose Garden (sited where a kitchen garden likely would have been), an English style garden designed in the 60’s that is protected by a tightly planted mini amphitheater of arborvitaes. A fountain stands at the center encircled with a tightly cropped boxwood hedge and a row of fiery red roses to ignite the setting. The outer perimeter is lined with comfortable benches (many offering glimpses of the Hudson River) accompanied by over 150 varieties of roses in a kaleidoscope of rich colors from the palest yellow to the deepest pink, many exuding the most intoxicating fragrances imaginable.

Secluded seating at the Summerhouse Pavilion in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Secluded seating at the Summerhouse Pavilion (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

The last part of the journey is a stroll on the Woodland Trail, a well marked, easily navigable path that winds through the wooded area of the property. Along the way, you will pass masses of ferns, a brook with a tumbling waterfall, and two gazebos that offer a soothing atmosphere for calm reflection. There are a few secluded points that allow you to see the Hudson River and the marsh, and a pathway that leads to the marsh if you’re so inclined (I passed for two reasons: 1.) The bank was very steep and it was over 90o that day, too hot for a mini-mountain trek, and 2.) I was by myself and quite concerned about slithering creatures that might be basking on the marshy trail). But don’t let me discourage you from such an adventure!

It is said that no other house has traveled such a road to resurrection, which makes the trip to Boscobel all the more inspiring~*~

To find out more about Boscobel House and Gardens, please visit: www.boscobel.org

 

Comments

  1. Another one of the many beautiful wonders of this country, that I’ve never heard of… You find the most secluded spots & show them off! Thank you for giving us readers a tour of some spectacular places we may not get to see otherwise!

    • My pleasure! Thank you! That is exactly what I try to do . . . give folks an opportunity to visit a beautiful spot, if only through my words and images . . .

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