Bayard Cutting Arboretum
Most people only know of Bayard Cutting Arboretum as a pretty place to go take engagement and wedding pictures on the South shore of Long Island. If that was the case I wouldn’t be writing this post. There is so much more and my kids enjoy visiting all 4 seasons. Are you intrigued? Well, then….good. You should be checking out our 1quest2thenext page daily anyway!
I’ve taken the kids here several times. We have the Empire Pass, which is a wise investment – it can be used at State Parks, Preserves, beaches and more. During the Spring, wildflowers bloom all over; The foliage is a sight to see in Autumn, in the Winter you may freeze your butt off by the river, but it’s very tranquil and during all seasons I enjoy watching the kids explore and find new places to check out each visit!
Mia, 2: (Pointing at the pic above) Running after birds, I like that. I liked sitting on Alana (a few pics below). Fun!
Brandon, 10: I remember we saw a big house and a big lawn and we saw a lot of geese. Mia was so funny trying to chase the geese down to the water but they were faster than her. We also sat by a river that kind of looked like it was frozen. It felt pretty cool to hang out by the river!
Alana, 5: I like the part when Mia ran and jumped on my back. We played and had fun. It was really cold!
Back in the ’30’s, the Bayard Cutting family was thinking of donating the Arboretum (then called ‘Westbrook’) to the Long Island State Park Commission William Bayard Cutting’s daughter, Olivia James, described the proposed mission that the family wanted for Westbrook:
“These purposes are:
(1) That Westbrook shall be an oasis of beauty and of quiet, and that it shall be a source of pleasure, rest and refreshment to those who delight in outdoor beauty.
(2) That it shall serve to bring about a greater appreciation and understanding, on the part of both the general public and of those professionally concerned with landscape design of the value and importance of informal planting, and shall thus be an influence in preserving the amenities of our native landscape.”
The Arboretum encompasses almost 700 acres located on the scenic Connetquot River. Many trees are identified and marked so your kids will come away from your visit with new information to share with their friends, teachers and family.
Inside the Manor House you will find original-style furnishings from long ago. Tours can be scheduled (see Notes section). An old barn is located in the farm area and old photos show that ‘Westbrook’ or Bayard Cutting Arboretum at one point in time was a well known dairy farm producing milk for sale locally.
It’s a wonderful place to relax, read a book, and experience the peace and serenity of estate living in the 1920s and ‘30s. Come visit!
Sofia, 7: So Mia was pointing at the birds and then I looked her and she wasn’t able to talk a lot yet because it was last Spring. She knew how to walk already though. I also want to talk about the picture below this one. It looked like she was pointing at the sky and was going to blast off but she was just excited about the birds flying around 🙂
I took a day off on my birthday in May this year and after picking up Alana from pre-school we spent the afternoon at the park together. It was a great gift from one of my sweet girls 🙂
Alana, 5: On daddy’s birthday, just me and him went to the park and we were taking pictures and had a good time! And the flowers were so pretty I could smell them. I liked the baby geese because they were so quiet. I was trying to be quiet too. They were by the water and when we got too close they walked the other way down the trail. The mom and dad geese made a lot of sounds when we got too close….
Vegetation and the Big House:
Utilizing plans conceived by the noted landscape architectural firm of Frederick Law Olmstead, arboretum development began in 1887. The site was originally wooded and many of the large oaks now seen were retained during the clearing of the land. With the cooperation of Charles Sprague Sergeant, then director of Boston’s Arnold Arboretum, Mr. Cutting several years later began to plant his conifer collection in the area just north of the Carriage House. Unfortunately, and in most instances the result of a severe hurricane in 1985, many of these original plants have been lost. However, because of subsequent plantings made during and after the 1940′s, the current collection of fir, spruce, pine, cypress, hemlock, yew and other lesser known conifers is still probably the most extensive to be found on Long Island. Contained within the collection are several trees which, regionally, are the largest of their species. Also found are extensive plantings of dwarf evergreens, rhododendron, azaleas, hollies and oaks. Wildflowers and daffodils are featured in many native woodland locations. Combined with the site’s ponds and streamlets, these areas also provide opportunities to observe a broad range of land and aquatic birds and occasional glimpses of fox, raccoon and other small wildlife.
Located in the former Cutting residence are magnificent fireplaces, woodworkings, stained glass windows and a small natural history display. The manor house also contains a café with an open porch overlooking the Connetquot River and the administration office.
Alana and I really enjoyed just sitting on a bench, trying to be real quiet and watching the baby geese and their protective parents! The babies got along really well, no fighting over barbies or XBOX!
The Hidden Oak Café is located inside the Manor House; they offer a full menu and are open to the public Tuesday – Sunday. Advanced reservations are necessary for certain events, including the Victorian Tea, please call them directly at (631) 277-3895.
Private Manor House tours for ten or more people are available. This must be scheduled in advance, please contact the Arboretum directly for further information.
Photography is allowed in the Arboretum, however, there is no flash photography allowed in the Dining Room in the Manor House. If you are looking to have professional photography taken on Arboretum grounds a Photography Permit of $100 is required. Please see the official State Park page to order this permit. No Pets, sports games, picnicking or biking (no one seems to mind my kids running around the Great Lawn making lots of noise though!)
Walks, public buildings and rest rooms are accessible to handicapped persons.
Admission and Hours: Closed Mondays and Tuesdays, as well as New Years, Christmas and Thanksgiving. Other days, open from 10am-5pm. Admission to the Arboretum is $8 and no tickets are required for entrance to the Manor House. Arboretum events and programs are also free unless otherwise noted. Empire Pass is accepted.
Grand Central Pkwy to Northern Pkwy, or the LI Expressway to Sagtikos State Parkway, south to Southern State Pkwy, east to Heckscher State Parkway, south to Montauk Hwy (Rte 27A, exit 45E) to the Arboretum. From Eastern Long Island: Sunrise Highway (Route 27) west to Southern State Parkway, south to exit 45E (Route 27A), east on Route 27A to Arboretum.
440 Montauk Highway, Great River, NY 11739
Click Upcoming Events on my home page for some things to do at the Arboretum coming soon!
Visitor Brochure & Official Map::
For high resolution versions of these photos and additional pics of Bayard Cutting Arboretum, please follow this link to the associated photo set on Flickr:
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