I almost don’t want to tell anyone about what is perhaps the best day trip from NYC.
It is the ultimate secret weekend getaway from the sweltering city. Really. It’s so delightful that it would be a shame to over-advertise. But I will. Because keeping it to myself and the locals is just torture.
Towering pines, winding paths, manicured gardens, captivating Greek and Roman statues are entranced in the sounds of music and encapsulated into delight that can only be felt. This is Caramoor, Center for Music and the Arts in Westchester County, only 1-1.5 hours north of NYC that seems time and space away.
A place to take your family, spend a day with music, enjoy a picnic, lounge in a hammock, explore the historic grounds, meditate, soak up relaxation.
We discovered Caramoor accidentally. My husband and I moved to Connecticut in June 2013, as I started a new job in its southeast corner. We were just an hour north of NYC, but we might as well have moved to Mars, because we felt isolated from the world we left behind in Northern NJ/NYC. Friends had become scarce visitors and we spent that summer roadtripping around Connecticut, discovering with each venture how absolutely stunning the state is. Mostly during those summer months, I fell in love taking the drive from Stamford, CT to Ridgefield, CT, taking Long Ridge Road. From Stamford, it slowly transforms into a country road, with shrubs turning into tall lush trees that bow with greenery and hugging the road. On warm weekends, we’d get into our little Mazda and drive in search of estate sales, tiny cemeteries, antique houses, lakes, hell, anything. We reveled finding beautiful towns like the tiny Bedford, NY, where Martha Stewart and Blake Lively make their homes, Pound Ridge, NY, which you might miss if you blink, and of course, the upscale and classy New Canaan, Ct. We made lots of discoveries exploring those roads, but one day we decided to offroad and literally stumbled on the turn to Caramoor, hearing music echoing through the trees. We found Caramoor hosting a folk festival that weekend and after leisurely exploration of the grounds, we really saw the romance of this place.
Caramoor provides a beautiful setting for outdoor arts and music festivals, hosting American Roots Music Festival, Jazz Festival during its many summer music engagements. Families arrive with picnic baskets and chairs, parking themselves for a comfortable day. Folk, opera, classical concerts are all common themes here with an entire summer of programming. But beyond the music, there is the beauty of the gardens, each a mark in its own right. Let me show you around.
Caramoor house, garden and grounds are all part of an estate that belonged to the Rosen family – Walter & Lucie, two incredible souls passionate about music, arts, travel – who built the estate that became the place we love.
The Italianate house is full of the treasures they brought from their travels. They preserved and built new gardens, as well as building the Venetian theater, intended to entice and entertain visitors from around the world. They hosted music and arts festivals that became the roots of the festivals Caramoor continues to organize today.
Caramoor is an incredible legacy and I hope that anyone who reads this is inspired to visit this unique place.
If you enjoyed this post, please follow me for future adventure posts on Facebook.