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Olana was meant to be an oasis in the Catskills for the artist Frederic Church, and as you drive up the long winding driveway that is exactly how it feels. The property is a gorgeous mixture of manicured lawns, fragrant flower gardens, sweeping river views, deep forests along with various barns and cottages to make up a Hudson Valley paradise. There is so much to explore at this artist's home, your family will love spending the day running free.

Frederic Church, a student of Thomas Cole, planned every aspect of Olana. Your family will want to thank him as you take in the amazing views of the Hudson River from the porch of his Persian palace or as you hike the trails through the beautiful orchards and gardens.
Your family can explore the grounds of the Church residence completely free of charge. The property has 1.5 miles of historic carriage roads that pass by ponds, wind around fields of wildflowers or meander passed barns and orchards. The carriage roads are completely stroller friendly and easily to hike for any age or ability. Pack a picnic and feel free to find a quiet, secluded area to take it all in.
There are so many hidden treasures to find all throughout the property; secret gardens, gnarled benches or hiking paths leading to breathtaking views. Your family can definitely stretch their legs and spend a whole day outdoors living a simpler life!
You can book a tour of the main residence, a huge castle like house that is ornately decorated. The Church house looks like it belongs in a Middle Eastern fairy tale! The tours book quickly and are not child friendly, so if you have small children I suggest just enjoying the house from the outside and playing on the grounds. My daughter absolutely loved imagining the life of a princess living in such a gorgeous house, there was no need to go inside to spark her imagination!
Olana is truly a magical place full of natural wonder, beauty and plenty of space for a family to explore! Take a trip back in time!

Tips for this visit:
  • Open year round, 8am-sunset.
  • Grounds are free for self-guided tours or recreational use.
  • Picnicking is allowed.
  • The carriage roads are pedestrian only, there is plenty of free parking.
  • The grounds are stroller friendly.
  • The house is not stroller or child friendly and only available for tours by advanced reservation. For more information on house tours click here.

For more information please visit Olana State Historic Site online.

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A special thank you to Justin Goodhart Photography for letting us use some of his photography in this blog. Feel free to check out more of his wonderful Hudson Valley photography!

Other articles by Katie's Hudson Valley Travel Journal