By Christine Pasqueralle
On a clear summer day in July, we decided to take a trip back in time and visit Kykuit – the Rockefeller estate located in Pocantico Hills. The estate is absolutely stunning, boasting amazing gardens which contain priceless art sculptures, an ornate mansion and breathtaking views of the Hudson River and the Palisades.
John D. Rockefeller built Kykuit in the early 1900’s and four generations of Rockefellers had the privilege to call it home. Kykuit is now part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and tours are offered through Historic Hudson Valley for half of each year.
There are various tour options to choose, depending on how much time you have to spend at this sprawling estate. We decided to take the Classic tour. It lasts a bit over two hours and begins in the main floor of the house, which showcases its fine art and furnishings. Amongst the rooms we toured were the drawing room, dining room, his and hers studies, library and even the china room (for selecting your dinner party finest).
Next, we were led outside to see some of the sculptures placed strategically throughout the grounds. Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller had many of these sculptures commissioned by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Henry Moore, Alexander Calder, Louise Nevelson, and David Smith. After meandering amongst the art and taking in views of the magnificent Hudson Valley, it was time to visit the subterranean art gallery.
The last stop on our tour was the Coach Barn, which features many antique carriages and classic cars from the Rockefeller collection. A Cadillac limo complete with a “Governor” license plate and a registration dating from 1984 was an interesting highlight for me.This was a real pleasure. The cool gallery was a respite from the heat of the outdoors. Nelson Rockefeller also curated this gallery which features modern works from artists such as Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso. Some of the more interesting pieces of art contained here are the large tapestries that were painstakingly created in the style of many of Picasso’s famous paintings.
It’s always fun to escape to another time and place, and visiting historical sites such as this are always a real treat for the senses.