Kykuit, Westchester's Top Cultural Attraction, Opens for the Season on 5/4

Kykuit, Westchester's Top Cultural Attraction, Opens for the Season on 5/4

Kykuit, the hilltop estate that served as home to four generations of Rockefellers, opens to visitors beginning Thursday, May 4. The Kykuit season lasts through Sunday, Nov. 12.

The remarkable backdrop of Kykuit's six-story stone house, sculpture, gardens, and landscape are a scenic stage for telling the story of the Rockefeller family's commitment to philanthropy, public service, the environment, and the arts, as well as its family traditions.

Kykuit's modern and classical art collection, architecture, and expansive gardens are consistently rated the top cultural attraction in the Lower Hudson Valley and draw tens of thousands of visitors annually. A recent New York Times piece notes, "Kykuit's numbers indicate the magnitude of what there is to see: a six-story stone manor, 40 rooms, 20 bedrooms, almost 40 fountains, over 100 works of modern art in the galleries, more than 70 pieces of modern sculpture outdoors and a sprawling coach barn with numerous horse-drawn carriages and family automobiles."

Visitors to Kykuit learn the story of The Rockefellers, beginning with John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil, whose business acumen made him the richest man in America in his day. He later became the country's first significant philanthropist. By his death in 1937, he had given away more than half his fortune through various philanthropic programs.

Tours of Kykuit are available Thursdays through Sundays from May to September and November 1-12. In October, tours operate daily except Tuesdays. Tours also take place on Memorial Day, July 3 and 4, and Labor Day.

Visitors can choose from four tours: Classic, Grand, Timesaver, and Landmark.

The Classic, ideal for first-time visitors, is a shorter experience than the comprehensive three-hour Grand. Besides the mansion, both of these tours include time in Kykuit's art galleries, gardens, and Coach Barn, with its collection of horse-drawn carriages, vintage automobiles, and equestrian equipment. The 90-minute Timesaver is ideal for those on tighter schedules, while Landmark maximizes time in the gardens.

Visitors can buy tickets online in advance, choosing the exact tour, time, and date they want to visit. Tickets are on sale now at http://www.hudsonvalley.org. Ticket prices range from $25-$40 ($15-$30 for Historic Hudson Valley or National Trust members).

Visitors arriving via Metro-North Railroad can receive a $5 per ticket when purchasing a round-trip Metro-North rail fare from Grand Central to Tarrytown, plus a Kykuit tour ticket in advance online. Information: www.hudsonvalley.org/historic-sites/kykuit/MetroNorth.

For those interested in an extended visit, Tarrytown House Estate offers special packages that include overnight accommodations and tickets to Kykuit. Information: www.tarrytownhouseestate.com

Historic Hudson Valley recommends advanced ticket buying, particularly for weekend tours, which fill up quickly. Besides online at www.hudsonvalley.org, tickets may be purchased by calling 914-366-6900 ($4 per ticket service charge additional) or at the Kykuit Visitor Center. All tours start at the Kykuit Visitor Center at Philipsburg Manor, 381 N. Broadway (Route 9) in Sleepy Hollow, two miles north of the Tappan Zee Bridge. Doors open at 9 a.m.

Kykuit, a historic site of the National Trust, is operated and maintained by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund as a center for its philanthropic programs. Historic Hudson Valley operates the public visitation program.

Other sites in Historic Hudson Valley's network of National Historic Landmarks include the Union Church of Pocantico Hills, which has opened for the season, Philipsburg Manor and Washington Irving's Sunnyside, which open to the public for tours beginning Wednesday, May 3, and Van Cortlandt Manor, opening on Friday, June 30.

Information: 914-366-6900, www.hudsonvalley.org.

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