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The Shape of Things – Montgomery Place
March 27, 2024

Loving the Lay of the Land

A visit to Montgomery Place offers history, horticulture, and heirloom edibles.

By Cynthia Hochswender

The journey to Montgomery Place in Red Hook is enchanting. Winding backcountry roads lead to a stone gateway that reveals the historic mansion and its lovely formal gardens, hundreds of acres of forest and farm, waterfalls, picnic areas, and hiking trails. There are views of the Catskill Mountains and the Hudson River, particularly exquisite at sunset.

Montgomery Place began as a working farm in the 1800s, when it was purchased by Janet Livingston Montgomery, according to Amy Perrella, director of horticulture and arboretum at Bard College, which has owned the property since 2016. 

Although there are showcase gardens—which are particularly glorious in May and June, according to Perrella—Montgomery Place is known more for the overall landscape than for any individual plants, and for what Perrella says is an indescribable but palpable spirit of place. 

The property is open all year from sunrise to sunset. The Gothic Revival mansion, designed by Alexander Jackson Davis has just been restored. 

A day trip to Red Hook can also include a tour of the horticulturally magnificent Bard College main campus and the Montgomery Place Orchards Farmstand, which is open from May to November. Located on Route 9G between the college and the estate, the farmstand sells many of the heirloom apples originally imported from France by Janet Livingston Montgomery, as well as produce grown at Montgomery Place and on other Hudson Valley farms.

26 Gardener Way, River Road, Red Hook,