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“Absolutely beautiful”

Olana State Historic Site
Ranked #1 of 25 things to do in Hudson
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Hudson River School painter Frederic E. Church designed Olana, his family home, studio, and estate, as an integrated environment embracing architecture, art, and landscape. Olana, a National Historic Landmark, is an icon of naturalistic landscape design, with five miles of carriage roads and a Persian-inspired house at its summit, embracing unrivaled panoramic views of the vast Hudson River Valley. Today, visitors can experience an array of activities, from meandering through the 250 acre artist designed landscape, to taking a tour of the house and surrounding landscape, to viewing the changing exhibitions both in the main house and a gallery devoted to contemporary photography. They can see a 17 minute award-winning video on the property and a permanent orientation exhibit. They can also participate in a variety of educational programs in the Wagon House Education Center, including a free backpack program that includes a variety of projects for children.
Ansonia, CT
Level Contributor
212 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 95 helpful votes
“Absolutely beautiful”
Reviewed 9 November 2013 via mobile

You've never seen a home like this before! The moorish architecture is beautiful. The stenciled paint on the walls is very beautiful. The artwork on the walls is beautiful. The artwork alone is worth seeing. We were awed. The only thing is you don't see the kitchen, the basement, or the second and third floors, no bedrooms! Apparently to make the house open for tours like to install ventilation they had to use the bedrooms to run ductwork. We were disappointed. The tour lasts an hour.

Visited November 2013
2 Thank javaandjazz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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544 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Earlton, New York
Level Contributor
49 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Really beautiful area!”
Reviewed 8 November 2013

While the museum is wonderful, I would like to take a moment to note the wonderful grounds this site has. The home sits on a large piece of property that is perfect for visitors. I go there all the time with a picnic lunch, a book, with friends, or just for a walk. Some nights during the summer they show films out on the lawn. It's just a great place to go if you don't want to tour the house, but you want to spend a few hours in the fresh air, and with a beautiful view.

Visited October 2013
2 Thank Rebecca A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Laguna, CA
Level Contributor
57 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Lovely Unique Mansion”
Reviewed 4 November 2013

We learned about Frederick Church and the Hudson River Valley art movement during his time on this tour. The history of the house is very interesting as its unique design and furnishings. The views from the home are of course wonderful. We have visited many other mansions along the Hudson and this one ranks right up there. While Persian/Middle Eastern in design, it is part of our American history. When we later saw some of Church's works at the Metropolitan Museum in NYC, we could appreciate the artist and his works since we have been to his home and studio and had seen the surroundings that inspired him. Note: We did book our tour over the phone weeks in advance since we were traveling across country. There were people who were turned away the day we were there because the tours were fully booked for the next several days. We did not have to pay ($12 per person) until we got there, so making a phone reservation would not result in any non refundable charges like advanced ticket sales for Kykuit or Lyndhurst in Tarrytown.

Visited October 2013
Thank likesc0mf0rt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Olana - Frederick Church Home”
Reviewed 2 November 2013

Well worth the drive. Persian/middle eastern design brought to Hudson, NY. ...and in a beautiful setting on top of a hill with spectacular views.

Visited October 2013
Thank radfahren48
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
East Windsor, New Jersey
Level Contributor
122 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
“spectacular house and tour”
Reviewed 30 October 2013

We were staying in Hyde Park and made the 35-minute drive to Olana. It was worth it.

The house contains one of the richest and most varied collection of art from around the world circa 1870 I could imagine. Visually, it verges on overwhelming. Thomas Cole originals are on the walls, along with Church originals of course. But there are also pre-Columbian vases, Persian sculptures, Turkish tapestries, ornately carved furniture, ornately carved fireplaces....I could go on. The closer we looked, the more we saw. Each room has a large window with some remarkable view of the Hudson and the Catskills. The rooms face different directions but every one has a great view.

Fredric Church clearly was a visual genius and the house and grounds are a testament to his talents.

Our tour guide (I've forgotten his name) was remarkably knowledgeable, a Ph.D. student in art history from nearly Albany. He adeptly handled questions from the group that I can only describe as over the top (some of the group were artists themselves, I was made to understand from their questions).

Visited November 2012
1 Thank Mark D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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