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“It's about the light” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Olana State Historic Site

Olana State Historic Site
Ranked #1 of 25 things to do in Hudson
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
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.
Cairo, New York
Level Contributor
113 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 104 helpful votes
“It's about the light”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 August 2014

And the view is spectacular of the Hudson Valley. Like Thomas Cole House below, Frederic Church had a better view above the valley. Wonderful views, absolutely great house tours, and this Hudson River is not only for tourists, but for local's who see the house from the Rip Van Winkle bridge. You just have to go up the road and explore the lovely grounds and views.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank drdavenyc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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535 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Uncomfortable and Unwelcoming”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 August 2014 via mobile

Unfortunately, my elderly parents and I had to excuse ourselves and leave the tour in the first room. The group was treated like children, nagged about where to stand, women were told how to carry their purses and shuttled along like school children. A lifetime of art appreciation and touring in the Americas, Europe and Asia had never treated us so paranoid or unwelcomingly. It's sad that people are treated this way. We tried to give feedback, gently, to the manager who was unsympathetic. Unfortunate.

This beautiful site deserves a warm, enthusiastic staff who are more adept at leading and managing tours. I hope this message helps to prepare future visitors.

Helpful?
13 Thank James K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
79 reviews
50 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“An Unexpected Combination”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 August 2014

The Olana house and grounds are perfect for a nice summer day to take in the scenery and learn about Frederic Church's home. The 1800s mansion is completely unique in its painstakingly coordinated design and decoration. The Persian style, stencils, furniture and windows were gorgeous and well preserved. The staff provided a tour that lasted a little over an hour that supplied a wealth of information.

Visited August 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank nbee98
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Princeton, New Jersey
Level Contributor
190 reviews
77 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
“Out of place and amazing”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 August 2014

This amazing place just drew me in the first time I crossed the Rip Van Winkle Bridge, approaching Hudson from the west. Olana sits on a hill - so imposing, so strange. It commands investigation. Alas, the first time I visited it was closed for renovation. This time we arrived just as a tour was to begin. The guide was knowledgeable and responsive, but clearly happier in the air conditioned comfort of the interior than lingering on the porch. Nevertheless, the tour hit all the important parts of the house's construction and the amazing character, Frederick Church, whose eye and deep pockets created this sight. It also helped significantly that little had been done to the building and grounds by the few subsequent owners since Church's time. The visitors center in the carriage house as well as the little exhibit nearby are also worth a look. Next time perhaps the farm buildings will be open for tours as well. Well worth the visit.

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank nomad_rover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Albany, New York
Level Contributor
105 reviews
43 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“A lovely place to visit and walk.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 August 2014

Take the house tour and walk the grounds. Great place for pics and to get a taste of what it was like to live in grand style on the Hudson river. Just minutes from the city of Hudson and about ten minutes from the NY State Thruway.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
Thank Dave G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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