With a little advance planning, a small fee, and quick action as the opportunities come up, you can enjoy the expertise of the savvy experts who conserve and study the extraordinary art and artists represented in the Rockefeller Brothers collections at the family home known as “Kykuit,” which is Dutch for “Lookout.” (See Photo #1 above.)
I’m not talking about the public tours—I’m talking about going deeper. Some of the recent pleasures I’ve enjoyed here include a walk around the amazing gardens with the Kykuit chief gardener to learn about the how and why of the property’s landscaping; a photography course with talented NY event photographer Todd Shapera, and a special presentation on the exceptional Lachaise statues from the Gaston Lachaise Foundation. These nearly private tours often feature refreshments along with exceptional lifelong learning experiences. If concerts or arts performances are more your pleasure, you can sign up for these and enjoy groundbreaking art by funded performers. In order to be on the A-list for these events, you need to sign up for emails from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund’s Public Programs & Artist Residencies. When you receive an invitation, act quickly! These events sell out rapidly.
Not a planner? You can take tours of the beautiful Hudson Valley Historic Homes, such as Kykuit, Lyndhurst, and Washington Irving’s Sunnyside, and I promise you that you will want to linger longer and ask a lot of questions, so becoming an insider is a real perk.
Care to relax in luxury when you are done? Tarrytown Estate House (photo #2, above–Biddle Mansion Carriage entrance), recently added to the Iprefer collection of distinctive hotels offers you a million dollar view of the Hudson River along with accommodations fit for a millionaire. They do a lot of events-especially weddings there—so quick action will help you snag a great view from the King Mansion (lots of stairs here) or a more contemporary room in the Conference Center. Dine in Cellar 49 for casual, hearty locally sourced meals with a seasonally changing menu complemented by an international wine list. The Cellar was formerly Mary Duke Biddle’s bowling alley. Breakfast is available upstairs in the Biddle Mansion—the Crystal Palace—with a gorgeous view of the mighty Hudson. If you enjoy local history, the photographs around the property will pique your interest. Meeting planners take note: this luxury hotel was the birthplace of the modern conference, handling events of around 500 people or so. I’ve enjoyed it during busy and quiet seasons—no excuses about your exercise routine given the beautifully landscaped garden walks and excellent indoor fitness center and indoor/outdoor pool. Spoil yourself. You don’t have to be a billionaire to enjoy it.