Locust Grove

Nestled in the Hudson Valley is a historic home and nature preserve called Locust Grove. Once the home of Samuel F. B. Morse, "the Father of the Telegraph" , this mansion is a hidden gem on the Hudson River, that speaks of a bygone era.  In these times, homes were often the center of social life and entertainment. The sweeping views are impressive and the mansion's unique architecture is almost enveloped in a warm embrace by the the nature around it.

The mansion is right on Route 9, hidden from view, and passing it you could easily miss it, because it pushed back from the main road.  I found it one day while driving to Starbucks and was surprised to learn its history.  The grounds are mainly behind the house, so it is awe-striking to actually walk them and see how large the estate really is.  This site is completely worth a Sunday drive.  The estate includes 180 acres, and the grounds boast well maintained trails that are easy enough to walk for a family with children.  The trails take you to a beautiful view of the Hudson river, and include many beautiful nooks and crannies.  Weddings are often hosted on these grounds for its scenic beauty.

There are several ways to enjoy Locust Grove.  Be sure to tour the large acreage surrounding it, which includes a beautiful hiking trail.

Here are some different ways to enjoy the estate:

1.Take the Mansion Tour.  The mansion itself built in the Italianate style under the direction of the prolific architect, Alexander J Davis, who is famous for introducing many new forms to American architecture.  Davis would later design State capitols and universities (Wikipedia 2016).

2.Explore the Grounds.  Another way to enjoy the estate is to tour the large acreage surrounding it, which includes a beautiful hiking trail and exterior buildings.  Our family chose to forgo paying for admission, and instead we took a tour of the grounds.  The trails have ample visible signage.  These grounds were once only available to the wealthy family that lived here, so it was nice to be able to see them.  The house itself has a beautiful entrance, and you can find a few interesting items.  One is a metal scraper used to scrap mud off boots in the times of Horse and buggy.  Another is the setup of the entrance is intended for horse carriages to be able to drive right up the house.

You will find a trail behind the house that leads to an ice house, originally used to store ice before the days of refrigeration.  Next to the main house, there is also a carriage house. Walking down the trail, you will come across a small pet cemetery, home to the remains of the many pets the generations of families owned.  You will also see a red stable and wagon barn.  At the end of the trail, you will see commanding views of the Hudson valley and glimpses of the Hudson River train line.

3.Visit the Museum.   The Museum Pavilion explores the life of Samuel Morse as an artist and inventor.  One gallery contains replicas of the early electromagnetic telegraph and information about the Morse code.  This gallery is a great educational resource for children.  My daughter visited this site on a school trip, and the educators talked about how the pulley systems were used to move hay and other materials.  There are quite a few teachable moments available on these grounds.

4.Attend a wine tasting evening.  Locust grove hosts wine tasting paired with artisan food from local chefs on many evenings throughout the year.  The elegance of the location lends itself well to this event, and I think it will be a great date night idea for couples. Guests are given a tour of the mansion, and treated to a Tapas bar for certain events.  The event featured in December (details are below) "Sunset Sensations" is focused on heirloom varieties from the Locust Grove Estate kitchen gardens.

5.Attend a Holiday Event.  This year, the house is outfitted with Holiday decorations and a special exhibit featuring antique toys and games that belonged to the Youngs, the family that lived beginning in 1901 after the mansion was renovated.



Details about past events:  Access Museum website link here:

Sunday December 4 – Holiday Open House

Locust Grove’s historic mansion glitters for the holidays with festive decorations and special exhibit from the museum collection; antique toys and games! In 1901 William and Martha Young moved into a newly-renovated house with their two children, Annette (then 16) and Innis (then 14). The Youngs brought trunks of toys with them, and carefully packed them away as their kids grew up. We’ve unpacked them and and brought more than a dozen out for you to see. On December Sundays, take a self-guided tour of Locust Grove’s 25-room mansion. Our expert guides are stationed throughout the house to answer your questions, and we’ll have a fact-filled hunt for kids! $11/adults, $6/kids. 12pm – 4pm.

Thursday December 15 – Sunset Sensations Wine & Food Event

Join us this month for the holiday edition of our wine pairing and food samplings, featuring local chefs! Back for the 11th year, “Sunset Sensations” is inspired by heirloom vegetables from the Locust Grove Estate kitchen gardens. This month guest chef Michael Polasek of Bluestone Bistro will create three treats for you to sample, each paired with wines by Kevin Hall of South Side Wine and Spirits. Guests will also be treated to a self-guided tour of the historic mansion, extravagantly decorated for the holidays. 5:30 – 7:30 pm. $32/person, $35 at the the door.

Locust Grove Visitor Center

Locust Grove website:

Open every day from 10 am – 5 pm

Locust Grove Mansion Tours  (Mansion open by guided tour only)

May 1 – November 30, Guided tours offered daily

April and December, Guided tours offered on Saturday and Sunday

Tour departure times:

10:15am • 11:30am • 12:45pm • 2:00pm • 3:15pm
Tour fee:  $11 Adults,  $6 Youths (6-18)

Locust Grove Gardens & Grounds

8:00 AM to dusk, year-round

Interested in wedding photos or group photos? As of January 1, 2017, a permit will be required for all wedding and other group events.

Locust Lawn Farm and
Terwilliger House
Open by appointment for groups of 10 or more.  Please call 845.454.4500 x 211 or email for more information.