I checked with our local library to see what free events they sponsored currently. A few weeks ago it was a free ticket for a family of four to go to The Children’s Museum. Normally, admittance price for adults is $10 per person. My daughter, granddaughter and I attended the day for free. We didn’t spend $20 (kids are free) and had a blast!
This week, it was a ticket for a family of four to visit the famous home Olana, built by Frederick Church, a world renown painter from The Hudson Valley. Entry fees for adult tours are $15 per person. This time it was only hubby and I attending. We packed our lunches as the grounds offered ample picnic areas. We also packed our own drinks and snacks. Based on a cafe’ menu, sandwiches, if purchased would have cost $8 each and a bottle of water or ice tea was $3. Technically, we didn’t have to spend at least $52 for our lovely day out at Olana.
Frederic Church is well-known as a painter, but he was also a world traveller, a family man, and a self-taught architect, farmer and landscape designer. He and his wife Isabel were pious, wellread, and funloving. They raised four children at their estate overlooking the Hudson. Though Frederic and Isabel Church moved among New York City’s cultural tastemakers, Olana was their primary home.
The main house at Olana, sited impressively at the top of a long slope, is a unique mixture of Victorian architectural elements and Middle-Eastern decorative motifs. Frederic Church worked closely with architect Calvert Vaux to realize this distinctive home. Stylistically, the building is a villa with asymmetrical massing of towers and block masonry punctuated by fanciful windows and porches. The irregular silhouette of the exterior contrasts with the more regular rhythm of rooms arranged around a central hall. On the exterior, Middle Eastern motifs are carried out in colored brick, wood, slate, ceramic tile and especially stenciling. Together, the various motifs and themes create a unique artistic unity, one that is difficult to categorize.
Here’s a slideshow of the many, many photos I took throughout the day with my reliable iPhone 7S. As you can see by the clear blue skies it was a perfect summer day. Olana offered breathtaking views of the Hudson River, as well as the historic Rip Van Winkle bridge and a man made lake located on the Olana property. There even was a hidden secret garden (you know how I love those!). Hubs and I stopped mid day to enjoy our lunches. Afterwards, we took a (free) guided tour throughout the interior of Olana.
We don’t have to travel to Europe or The Middle East to seek spectacular beauty. We have everything we could ever want, right here at home. ENJOY: