The Samuel F.B. Morse Historic Site at Locust Grove is right down the road from all the strip malls and suburban sprawl of Poughkeepsie, but once you step foot on the grounds, all of that feels a million miles away. The 200-acre estate includes gardens, trails, amazing views of the Hudson River, a nature preserve, and two pet cemeteries (they’re not creepy; we promise). The museum on the estate is the gorgeous Italianate 25-room mansion you see in the photo above, which was designed by architect Alexander Jackson Davis for inventor/artist Samuel Morse (yes, that Morse, as in Morse code), and it features an extensive art collection owned by the Young family, who renovated the mansion in 1900 and occupied it until 1975.
Locust Grove consists of roughly 5 miles worth of old carriage roads, now hiking trails. None of them are terribly physically taxing, but we recommend taking appropriate tick and mosquito precautions, since there’s lots of vegetation and ponds ar0und. Keep an eye out for snakes, too. Plan to set aside a couple of hours to poke around. Once you start down one trail, you may find, as we did, that you want to explore them all.
Locust Grove holds a number of events throughout the year, including art exhibitions, wine tastings, live music, and scavenger hunts. The estate is also available to rent for weddings, receptions, and special occasions. Hours of operation, trail maps, event calendars, and all kinds of information about the estate can be found on the Locust Grove website.