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Saturday, March 29, 2014


The forecast called for a dry morning with partial sunshine before clouds and heavy rain moves back in this evening, so I headed down to the Olana State Historic Site in Hudson.  Olana was the home and estate of the famous 19th century artist Frederic Church.  It is owned by the state and provides over 5 and a half miles of old carriage roads and walking trails on 250 acres.
Trees in the large field near the entrance.
The mansion has an unusual mixture of Victorian and Middle Eastern styles, and sits proudly atop the hill with splendid views.
There are many interesting benches and interpretive signs throughout the property.
Access to the grounds is fee and open to the public, but there is a small nominal fee for tours of the inside of the mansion.
Amazing views to the southwest beyond the lawn and down to the Hudson River.  The Catskills can also be seen rising steeply over the Hudson.
Looking up at Olana's facade.
The Catskills Mountains majestically rising to the west.
Looking up at the castle from down on the lawn area.
There are great views in many different directions from Olana.  Here is a view to the south and east with Blue Hill rising over farms.
Church had a artistic vision of how he wanted the landscape to look and created a pond at the foot of the hill.  This was all part of his plan to create, conceal and reveal vistas of his house and the surrounding Hudson Valley.
The Ridge Road follows the northern meadow of the property and leads to a large clearing with direct views over the Hudson and Rip Van Winkle Bridge leading into Catskill.  This is a fantastic place to picnic and linger.
Large ships and barges come through this stretch of the river often.  This one was heading south.
The Rip Van Winkle Bridge is far below, connecting Hudson and Catskill.
Views to the north follow the River up towards Athens.
The Catskills rising up towards the skies.
One last view of the picnic area in the clearing.
East facing hills from Ridge Road.
Ridge Road was a carriage road built by Church to provide access to the north meadows.  Far reaching views to the east are visible as well.
A large field provides a nice spot to take a break and enjoy the northeastern viewshed with Mount Merino directly ahead to the north.
This goose was just hanging out on the melting ice.
The man made pond remains mostly frozen over.
The trails were a regular spring mess wherever they weren't paved.  Here is a section of the lower carriage road that was completely iced over.
The mansion and fields from the pond area.
A side trail breaks off from the carriage road and leads to Red Hill.
The trail follows a long thin ridgeline to a spectacular clifftop area far above Route 9G.  Barns, fields and woods can be seen stretching down to the Hudson here, with the Catskills well beyond.
Facing north from Red Hill.
This location also provides an ideal view of the RipVan Winkle Bridge.
Inbocht Bay is visible about 3 miles in the distance to the south.
The barns and lower carriage road area in the foreground from Quarry Hill.  A carriage road leads through the woods and arrives at this clearing with a direct view up the lawns and access road to the mansion.
The road leading to Cozy Cottage.  Cozy Cottage was a small country cottage that Church and his wife lived in for several years while the mansion was being completed.
North Road leads from Cozy Cottage and winds its way through the woods on its way north to the mansion.
Hiked about 5 miles on a cool, but very nice morning.

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