Tucked away into a gorgeous hideaway that looks down over the Hudson River in Poughkeepsie, NY, is Locust Grove Estate. Here you’ll find an enchanting Italianate villa, which was crafted for Samuel F. B. Morse (the inventor and artist) by Alexander Jackson Davis (the architect) in 1851. Dotted throughout the landscape are serene landscaped grounds, mile-upon-mile of carriage roads and photographic views of the Hudson River.
Today, it serves as a nature preserve, as well as a non-profit museum, thanks to Annette Innis Young. She kindly has allowed the use of her timeless collections of antiques and art that are distributed accordingly throughout the 25 rooms that are found in the mansion.
Welcome to Morse Historic Site!
This site is dedicated to the land and dream that was originally Mr. Morse’s
Ah, the Mansion…
The mansion, or the main house, is the artful creation of a charming Italianate villa. Designed in 1850, it was renovated 50 years later for Martha and William Young, the proud new owners. They also chose to expand it. But it’s their daughter we mainly have to thank for what we have today – Annette Innis Young. It was her doing that provided the basis for the estate’s museum status today.
The mansion is open from the 1st of May to the 30th of November each year and there are daily tours available. If you’re going to be visiting in April or December, be aware that while it isn’t completely closed, you will only be able to tour on weekends. Tour times are as follows:
- Departs: 10:15 and 11:30 A.M. – 12:45, 2:00 and 3:15 P.M.
- Cost of Tour is $6 for kids 6-years-old to 10-years-old.
- Cost of Tour for 11-years-old and up is $10
Beautiful Gardens, Breathtaking Scenery
Painted on a cliff above the beautiful Hudson River are lazily rolling hills, picturesque towering trees and dreamy villas. While you won’t find garcinia cambogia growing here, this alluring landscape, while certainly breathtaking, elegantly preserves a sense of history – you can feel the aura of what it felt like over a century ago when Mr. Morse enjoyed his grand property.
It’s clear that he very much leaned toward the look and feel of the romantic, legendary 19th century. Locust Grove was the perfect place to create his idea of a piece of heaven on earth. The landscape here naturally catered to his love of perfectly-framed views, elegant vistas and a natural, surreal surrounding to sit back and enjoy an evening in.
But in 1895, things changed. When William and Martha Young took over this beautiful estate, they had a different idea for it. Soon, nearby land was bought and added to the property. Flower gardens sprung up near the mansion. These formal gardens are portrayed today in the Perennial Gardens, a place that has stayed true to Martha’s vision of the land.
For more than two centuries, produce was grown in the kitchen garden, providing a constant stream of fresh food for the Locust Grove Estate residents. And yes, today this still holds true. Today it’s called the Heritage Vegetable Garden. Visitors and tourists that visit today have the opportunity to learn about the different fruits and vegetables that were historically gown here.
A Non-Profit is Born
Annette Innis Young brought the non-profit to life in 1975. The youngest family member to make Locust Grove her home, she wanted future generations to enjoy the serenity and livelihood of the estate, as well as teach them what life was like during that time. She provided over 125 acres of the grounds and beautiful gardens you can still see today. In fact, there’s much more to it today. Over the years, museum trustees have continued the expansion of the estate and there are now almost 200 acres.
The Locust Grove Estate proudly offers a range of educational activities for youngsters. From learning about telegraphy and the development of communications, to levers and basic machines used in the past, to a challenging house hunt that teaches them about items (cooking, lighting, entertainment, heating and more) and helps them understand what was life was like. FoodSecurity.org particularly loves the natural, earthly tone that these hunts provide for clean kid-friendly entertainment.
We also host weddings and other special events.