The dirt driveway promises nothing in the way of beauty as you drive up; but as you cross a covered bridge and the gorgeous atrium comes into sight you realize your family is in for a treat. Stonecrop Gardens is located in Cold Spring and the grounds cover 15 acres of the Hudson Highlands. It is a not-for-profit that serves to educate and showcase its gardens for horticulture enthusiasts and/or local families looking for a unique day out. The grounds of Stonecrop Gardens are covered in trails that take you through expansive flower gardens, bamboo forests that open up onto rocky waterfalls and ponds alive with frogs and turtles. There are balmy greenhouses and atriums filled with tropical plants that give off the fragrances of far away places.
The flower gardens are full of every petaled plant imaginable, hummingbird moths darting in and out. You follow paths that are like a beautiful maze through what feels like your own secret garden.
Another path leads to a dark and humid bamboo forest which opens up to Asian inspired Zen ponds. If you continue on this path you find yourself in an ornately decorated wooden structure overlooking the ponds and rock waterfalls. There are benches for sitting and reflecting. We opted to cross some rock bridges and dangle our feet into the cool running water. There were plenty of places to traverse and play in the water and even a life-size frog sculpture made out of metal that playfully watches over the gazebo area. We spent a good part of our day climbing and splashing.
We made our way back up toward the entrance and stopped off at another area to watch the frogs and turtles sunning and enjoying some murky pond water. My daughter loved chasing them till they plopped out of sight. There were literally hundreds of them.
We then found a picnic area and ate our lunch admiring the peaceful beauty of the place, not another person in sight even on a weekend in the summer. Your family will want to come back over and over to bask in the quietness or to explore and discover all the hidden areas the gardens have to offer! A perfect and inexpensive place to get outside and just be in nature!
Tips for visiting the gardens:
- There is an admission fee and they accept cash only. 5$ a person, children under 12 are free.
- They are open Mon-Sat 10-5, April to October.
- Bring a blanket and picnic, you are allowed to bring in your own food.
- Trails are not stroller friendly and there is some minor rock climbing in places so I would babywear or bring a hiking backpack for children who are not good walkers. Most of the terrain is flat but nothing is paved.
- They sell plants at the gardens, cash only.
For more information visit Stonecrop Gardens.
If you are looking for lunch or places nearby, here are some links:
- Our favorite lunch spot for authentic Texas BBQ, voted "best BBQ on the East Coast" Round Up Texas BBQ (the exterior looks scary but please give it a chance, its amazing).
- Our favorite place for ice cream, in the downtown of Cold Spring Moo Moo's Creamery.
- Downtown Cold Spring is not to be missed! There are lots of shops and art galleries.
- Cold Spring is home to one of our favorite playgrounds, the Cold Spring Tots Park. Its completely fenced in and there is lots of shade!
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