Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
*While the Museum at Bethel Woods is closed until further notice, Earth in Focus is available to view outside the museum. Visit the site’s COVID-19 page for more information.
Want to separate from other people at a historic site? Then come view the Earth in Focus: A Celebration of Our Dynamic Planet exhibition at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, a celebration of the 50th Earth Day featuring community-submitted photographs displayed outside the museum. The Center’s grounds also have a number of twisting nature trails for those who would like to take a stroll.
The late Harvey Fite’s sculpture garden resides in and around an old quarry near the border of Saugerties and Woodstock. The pioneering artist and Bard professor carved, stacked, and masoned its extensive 60-acre grounds into a sculpted masterpiece of landscape art. Bridging art and the outdoors, the non-profit space spans meadows, bluestone quarries, and trails, and a group of stonemasons has recently restored its central sculptures and stone-lined trails.
Rockland Center for the Arts
The Rockland Center for the Arts (ROCA) will keep its outdoor Catherine Konner Sculpture Park open through May. On display will be two site-specific installations: a group of “human nests,” small huts woven together mostly from wild grape vines; and Natural Progressions, which features unique large works from a group of artists including Mark Attebery, Janet Rutkowski, and Thea Lanzisero.
West Nyack; www.rocklandartcenter.org
Thomas Cole Historic Site
Thomas Cole worked in the house at this Historic Site from 1833 through his death in 1848. He painted some of the masterpieces that defined American landscape painting here, including many views of and throughout the Catskills. Though the site’s buildings will likely be closed, the grounds, with their splendid views of the Hudson River and the Catskills, will remain open for strolling, viewing, and contemplating vistas that Cole glimpsed often during his time in Catskill.
Hudson River Skywalk
This scenic walkway on the Rip Van Winkel Bridge connects the homes and studios of Thomas Cole and Frederic Church. It’s a three-mile walk each way. You can also take the short drive across the bridge. Either way, if you’re heading east make sure you look out for Whitecliff Vineyard & Winery’s new Hudson location, Cherry Ridge Farm, just off the bridge. Their field of crimson clover and the newly planted vineyard will be visible from the Skywalk. A tasting room at this location is scheduled to open later this year.
Olana State Historic Site
Frederic Church was already one of the most famous painters of the Hudson River School by the time he settled at Olana in 1861. Ten years later, he helped to design the striking, Persian-inspired sandstone mansion in which he lived until his death in 1900. In addition to the house, he sculpted his own arcadia of paths, woods, and meadows, a physical correspondent to the dramatic and aesthetically innovative landscape paintings for which he is known.
A recent project has worked to restore the grounds to their 19th century prime. Programming and tours of the house are suspended for the time being, but you can stroll the park’s 250 acres for free from 8 a.m. until sunset.