Kykuit – The Rockefeller Estate


If you are visiting New York or surrounds, consider shaking things up a bit and take a day trip to discover the Kykuit Estate.

Home to four generations of the Rockefeller family, Kykuit is a 40 room mansion located near Tarry Town, overlooking the Hudson River with the Palisades in the distance, just 40 minutes by train north of Manhattan.   This stunning estate was first conceived by John D Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil, and further developed by his son, John D Rockefeller Jr. who raised his five sons here, including Governor Nelson Rockefeller.  In turn, Nelson made it his home.


Entrance to Kykuit Estate


Kykuit Mansion


Kykuit Mansion showing terrace

With such an extraordinary history and untold wealth, you would expect exceptional grandeur. However, although the house is luxuriously furnished and superbly appointed, the overriding impression is intelligent and discrete fine taste.

Kykuit - Ladies drawing room

Kykuit – Ladies drawing room

View of the Hudson River from the terrace lawn

View of the Hudson River from the terrace lawn

What is exceptional is the art collection. Within the gardens of Kykuit is an outstanding collection of sculpture. Ranging from classical figures to works by notable modern sculptors, the collection is spectacular.  The gardens equally so.


Oceanus Fountain viewed from entrance to the mansion


Patio light fitting designed and made by Tiffany

The addition of modern international works began in 1963, when  Governor Nelson Rockefeller, who shared his mother’s love of modern art, extended the collection.  He personally took great care to designate the precise positioning of each work.

“Nude” Sculpture by Alberto Giacometti


“Night” Sculpture by Aristide Maillol with view of the Hudson River in the background


Kykuit gardens

An extraordinary collection of paintings and tapestries can be found in the transformed basement passages beneath the mansion (previously a bowling alley). Many of the big names can be found here – Picasso, Chagall, Warhol – the list goes on. Most stunning of all are the tapestries which have been copied from Picasso paintings (the work personally supervised by him) and which hang along the walls of the basement passage way.


Basement gallery. Tapestries of Picasso’s paintings Photograph by Mick Hales

The Coach Barn stands quite separate from the mansion but is no less fascinating in the design and contents. There is a collection of classic automobiles (surprisingly not exceptional) and horse-drawn carriages and accompanying tack.


Coach Barn interior featuring one of many magnificent light fittings

Getting there:

From Manhattan the Metro-North’s Hudson Line trains depart Grand Central Terminal.  Take the express to Tarrytown (just 36 minutes) where cabs wait to meet the trains.  The ride to the visitor centre (Philipsburg Manor) is approximately 5 minutes.  It’s a relaxing journey and easily done.  It’s advisable to book ahead for a timed tour.

Call 914-613-8200 or visit  for further information and directions.