Kykuit: The Rockefeller Estate in Hudson Valley

My friend Alia and I had Kykuit, the Rockefeller Estate, on our summer to-do list for at least four years now. Well, we finally made it there. Better late than never.

You can only visit the estate through guided tours, so a week before, we bought our tickets online. The Grand Tour ($40) is the only one that takes visitors to the second floor balcony and it’s the most comprehensive at 3 hours and that’s the one we picked. Other options include the Classic Tour ($28) and a Selected Highlights Tour ($25) both lasting 2 1/4 hours, and a Timesaver Tour ($25) which is just 1 1/2 hours.

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We met up at Grand Central Station to take the Metro North to Tarrytown, NY. It came out to $19.50 for the round-trip ticket.

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The ride just took over 30 minutes. The ride was pretty serene, and fairly quick.

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Once at Tarrytown, we took a quick walk to Silver Tips Tea for afternoon tea. After our tea, we walked back to the train station and grabbed a taxi from the nearby taxi stand. The ride was $7, one-way.

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The tour starts at the visitor’s center where you can take a look at the Philipsburg Manor from across the wooden bridge. It looks like a scene taken straight out of Little House on the Prairie. There’s a separate tour for this manor, which we did not go on.

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At the visitor’s center, we checked in and got a sticker to indicate which tour we were a part of. There were about 16 of us, and from the visitor’s center, we climbed onto a shuttle bus to take us up to the estate, which is on top of a hill. Kykuit, pronounced ‘kigh-cut,’ means ‘lookout’ in Dutch.

The shuttle bus dropped us right in front of the estate.

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Facing out from the estate’s front steps. What’s an estate without a Greek god fountain or two?

Like most estate/residential tours, photography isn’t allowed inside. However, it is permitted on the grounds, which are extensive here.

Once inside, we walked through the rooms, including the gallery downstairs, the upstairs bedrooms, multiple sitting rooms, and one of the two kitchens. The rooms and the interiors were all set up beautifully, so it was easy to imagine the place as an actual residence.

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Onto the gardens! There are multiple gardens and we walked through most of them.

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A lovely surprise, a Japanese tea house on the grounds, because limiting tea to just inside the estate wasn’t cutting it.

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After walking the estate and the grounds, we were taken back onto the bus to see The Coach Barn. The Coach Barn was fascinating on its own since it’s huge, and houses antique carriages and automobiles. It’s like you’ve landed in Downton Abbey.

The tour ends right back at the tourist center, right at the 3 hour mark. Is Kykuit worth a visit? Definitely.

A tip: bring bottled water!

INFO: Kykuit: The Rockefeller Estate | 381 Broadway | Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591 | 914.631.8200
ADMISSION & TOUR: Grand Tour, $40

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