The forgotten magic of Untermyer Gardens

September 22, 2014 |  Category:   favorite posts life outings












Discovering a gem like we did on Sunday makes you wonder how many other little known places remain hidden. You know how we love to visit old mansions and estates in the New York area. This one was never on our radar until we happened to casually do a last minute search on things to do within an hour’s drive of the city. Untermyer Gardens may currently be in a period of restoration, but there’s no denying that the state of ruins add to the magic and nostalgia of days gone by (the foggy weather helped too).

You know a place is really special when you turn a corner and find something unexpected that completely surprises you. I was taking my time looking at all the flowers in the walled garden when the girls excitedly called me over. I didn’t expect to see the the long vista of stairs leading down to a view of the Hudson River. We didn’t expect to come across a rocky tower capped with a lacy filigree temple either. A maze of narrow stairs, little alcoves and tunnels made of stones lead you up to a landing overlooking a curious arrangement of rocks. The graffiti reminds you that this place was neglected for some time, but it doesn’t take away from the charm at all. I think I’d even be a little sad to see all the graffiti washed away if this part of the gardens get restored.

This place is for fantasy, perfect for the girls to explore and pretend play and perfect for a short break from the city. It felt like we were the only ones there. We’re coming back when the leaves reach their peak; with only the edges of a few trees turning color, we saw just a hint of what could be.

You Might Also Like

  • Orchid September 22, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Thank you for posting photos of this gorgeous place! Your blog was the reason that I first found out about the Storm King Art Center. I went there a couple of years ago and the beauty of the nature out there blew my mind! I’m heading to New York next month and am looking forward to checking out Untermyer Gardens!

    • Jenna September 22, 2014 at 8:18 pm

      That’s so cool! I haven’t been to Storm King since that post, though the rest of the family has. I need to go back.

  • Dee September 22, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    This place is *breathtaking*. Just beautiful. I recently drove from New York to Montreal and resolved that next summer, when I bring my kids to Brooklyn to visit grandparents, we absolutely *have* to spend a day or two upstate.

    • Jenna September 22, 2014 at 8:19 pm

      yes, so many beautiful places along the Hudson River!

  • Diane September 22, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    breathtaking, and the girls are looking so grown-up! what a perfect escape for a few hours!

    • Jenna September 22, 2014 at 8:20 pm

      I know, the girls are looking like teenagers these days. They were just babies when I first started blogging!

  • Claudia September 22, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    Such lovely photos. You have such a good eye for capturing this age and the mystery of what being a girl can be.

    I grew up very close to Untermeyer Park and didn’t go there enough when I was younger. In high school, we heard urban legends about the park and Son of Sam. You used to be able to see weird/creepy graffiti if you walked down towards the aqueduct- not sure if it’s there anymore. What an interesting place- so majestic and strangely chilling.

  • Britta September 23, 2014 at 10:37 am


  • Vicki in Michigan September 26, 2014 at 10:53 am

    What beautiful and evocative shots of a gorgeous place!

    And … no one there. My favorite.

    Thank you for sharing it with us.

  • Ronnie October 1, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Oh my, Jenna, some of my favourite photos of yours right here.
    Absolutely magical.
    Ronnie xo