servatory, comprising 11 interconnected
glasshouse galleries around two elegant
pools. Wave Hill, also in The Bronx, is an
1843 clifftop estate overlooking the Hudson
River with lovely gardens.
Opened in 1911, the exquisite Brooklyn Botanic Garden (original site work by
Olmsted’s firm) comprises 15 gardens,
five conservatories and more on 52 acres.
Hosting events for 130 people, the LEED
Gold–certified Steinberg Visitor Center features geothermal heating and a living roof
planted with native grasses and wildflowers. Groups of 275 can also gather at the
Victorian-era Palm House.
The gardens sit between the event-capable Brooklyn Museum and another Olmst-ed-Vaux national landmark, Prospect Park,
celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.
Attracting some 10 million annual visitors,
“Brooklyn’s Backyard” hosts events in its 1905
Beaux Arts Boathouse and historic Picnic
House, overlooking 90-acre Long Meadow.
Staten Island, the “Borough of Parks,” is
home to the national landmark Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden.
Set on an 83-acre campus created in 1833
as a haven for retired sailors, the gardens,
opened in 1977, include the Ming Dynas-ty-inspired New York Chinese Scholar’s
Garden, one of only two in the nation, and
Tuscan Garden, both available for events.
At the Queens Botanical Garden, groups
meeting at the LEED Platinum-certified
Visitor & Administration Building also have
39 acres of lush landscapes and specialty
gardens for break-out sessions and team-building activities.
Westchester County’s collection of
Gilded-Age estates includes event-capable
Lyndhurst (1838). Considered a paragon of
Gothic Revival architecture, the tour-capa-
ble mansion is set on 67 acres overlooking
the Hudson River. Landscaping highlights
include the event-capable Great Lawn;
framework of the nation’s first steel-framed
conservatory; Rose Garden; and weeping
beeches—step inside for a cathedral-like
communion with nature.
Long Island’s heirlooms include the
former Coe Estate, now Planting Fields
Arboretum State Historic Park. Featuring a
historic mansion and conference-capable
venues, this 409-acre escape’s horticultural
charms include magnificent greenhouses
and a new Sensory Garden.
Surrounded by 40,000 acres of protected, pristine forest, the fairytale Mohonk
Mountain House, with 85-plus miles of
hiking trails and unique features like the
Labyrinth rock scramble and its legendary Lemon Squeeze vertical ladder climb,
offers outdoor pursuits on a grand scale.
True to its 1869 founding as a place of
peaceful retreat, this 600-room National
Historic Landmark Victorian castle-resort
in New Paltz, N. Y., some 90 miles north of
NYC, also presents more intimate connections with nature, such as tours of its Victorian Show Garden. Led by the property’s
master gardeners and horticulturists, this
guided experience reveals the greenhouses
and gardens, where each year, more than
300 flower and plant species are incorporated in a themed showcase.
The horticultural heritage continues in
Dutchess County, some 90 miles north of
NYC. Highlights include magical Innisfree
and its Chinese-inspired
“cup gardens” in Millbrook; the time capsule
Italian, pool and rose
gardens at the Vanderbilt
Mansion National Historic
Site in Hyde Park; and
the landscaped grounds
Olana, the 1891 Vaux-de-signed hilltop home of
Hudson River School
painter Frederick Church.
For Albany, the March
2017 debut of the Albany
Capital Center, more than
two decades in the making, ushered in a
fertile new era of conventions and meet-
ings for the state capital. With 127 events
contracted from March 1, 2017 to Dec. 31,
2017, the $78 million, 82,000-square-foot
facility united with the Empire State Plaza
Convention Center, The Egg Performing
Arts Center, and the Times Union Center
Arena to form The Capital Complex. At
more than 159,000 square feet of flexible
space, it became the largest meeting facility
in Upstate New York.
With this fruitful future-forward step,
Albany remains a destination with unique
heritage appeal. For groups visiting in June,
the Historic Albany Foundation offers
its annual Hidden City House & Garden
Tour. With the 43rd edition ahead in June
2018, this guided tour showcases historic
buildings and their gardens, highlighting
premiere Albany architecture and ongoing
preservation efforts. Planners can also
arrange customized tours, with options to
include, for example, local master gardeners and outdoor sculpture artists.
Capital Region groups can experience the
rare Albany Pine Bush Preserve. One of only
20 remaining inland pine barrens in the world,
this 3,200-acre National Natural Landmark
includes 18 miles of recreational trails and the
LEED Gold-certified Discovery Center.
Saratoga groups can book a historic hotel
inside a national landmark park. Located
within the 2,300-acre Saratoga Spa State
Park, the 124-room Gideon Putnam resort
offers 12,000-plus square feet of indoor
and outdoor space, including the newly
renovated ballroom. Groups can also tour
Saratoga’s popular free-admission Yaddo
Gardens, an experimental creation from
1899 featuring terraced rose and woodland
In 1868, it was the Buffalo Parks Commission’s turn to seek out Olmsted.
CENTRAL PARK, MANHATTAN
MOHONK MOUNTAIN HOUSE, NEW PALTZ