House, grounds & viewshed tour this Saturday benefits Olana restoration
The Olana Partnership and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation will join with neighboring landowners to celebrate the beauty surrounding Olana’s 250-acre landscape on Saturday, October 24. This self-guided tour focuses on the farms and privately owned landscapes within the Olana viewshed. Visitors can stand high above the Hudson River Valley in rarely seen locations; they’ll be able to walk across meadows, beside ponds and streams, through orchards and gardens, often looking back at Frederic Church’s Olana. They will experience first-hand the variety and magnificence of the region that Church called “the center of the world.”
Often referred to as the “crown jewel” of the Hudson Valley, Olana was the home of Frederic Church: one of America’s most important artists, a student of Thomas Cole and a major figure in the Hudson River School of landscape painting. Also a contemporary and colleague of Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux, Church designed Olana’s Persian-style house amidst a 250-acre landscape and working farm.
When designing his landscape in the 19th-century Picturesque landscape style, Church intentionally integrated his setting within the surrounding landscape, revealing and framing exceptional views. The grounds, now under restoration, constitute a masterpiece as important as any of his paintings. In creating this three-dimensional work of art, Church used the principles that he used in his painting, with a foreground of house and environs, middle ground of woodland, parkland and farmland and the panoramic background of the Catskills, Taconic range and the Hudson River.
The ten unique private properties featured in this Saturday’s tour are located along the Hudson River and the foothills of the Catskill range, and include an 1870s Calvert Vaux-designed home, the former estate of the famous landscape painter Charles Herbert Moore, a biodynamic farm and a restored 1743 barn perched above 436 protected acres. Additionally, members can ascend to Olana’s seldom-visited Bell Tower, with its unparalleled river and mountain views. Following the tour there will be a party at an 1850s farm with 180-degree views of the Catskill range.
A benefit to support the restoration of Olana’s historic landscape, the Viewshed Tour runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tour tickets are $50 general admission, $40 for members; admission to the party, from 4:30 to 6 p.m., is $100 general and $75 for members. Bell Tower tours, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., are $50 general admission and free for members. Contact Melanie Hasbrook at (518) 828-1872, extension 103, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.