Photo by Cassandra Daye Photography
The Hudson Valley is home to a number of outdoor venues that enjoy breathtaking views and picturesque, historic architecture.
– Untermyer Park and Gardens –
Transportation might be the word that best denotes the exchange of vows at Untermyer Park and Gardens, a heavenly, beautiful place hovering high above the Hudson River with a history of splendor and decline – and splendor again – that of the City of Yonkers reflects where it lives.
Today’s 43-hectare site was laid out at the turn of the 20th century as a private garden by Samuel Untermyer, a lawyer and investor who was almost as well known for his horticultural knowledge as he was for his work as the first lawyer in the United States. Dollars on a case-by-case basis.
The grounds of Unteauers Beaux Arts architect and landscape designer William Welles Bosworth offer a number of backdrops that will amaze you. There is the dramatic descent to the bank of the river, which unfolds like a band of stairs modeled on the Villa d’Este on Lake Como in Italy. The staircase ends in two Roman columns made of Cipollino marble by the architect Stanford White and offers a wide view of the palisades. The Temple of Love, a fantastic and aptly named folly with a round pavilion on a rock cascade hollowed out as planters, provides an indispensable backdrop for bridal showers. And then there is the Walled Garden, a sacred sanctuary modeled after the Indo-Persian gardens of antiquity and in which the visual symmetry provides a drama that is reminiscent of paradise on earth. Canals and reflective pools are adorned with lotus and water lilies, irises, pickerelweed and the grass-white rush of stars. The dead feature of the room could be the amphitheater guarded by two winged sphinxes. Sculptural flourishes on two towering Ionic columns.
– The Davenport Herrenhaus am Sound –
Guy Demeo is the only one known at Davenport Mansion on the Sound, a 19th-century house on New Rochelle’s Davenport Neck overlooking Long Island Sound, an area populated by wealthy Manhattanites who wanted a square looking for their summer homes. His company, Unique Affairs Catering, hosts weddings from this salty sea bass with its balustraded porch and dramatic Port-Cochere. The venue is known for its one-wedding-a-day policy, which gives the first day of marriage the morning-to-evening meaning it deserves.
Centered from the original manse and now painted in brilliant white, the property hosts outdoor micro-weddings for 50 or fewer with a horseshoe made of chairs and a flowered arbor on the lawn or patio. Adventurous duos can walk barefoot down an aisle on the beach and then pose for photos by the water or in front of a fall of moss-covered rocks.
The appealing landscape vouches for the site’s popularity with architects and landscape architects such as Stanford White and Frederick Law Olmsted, who were hired for projects that continue to exist to this day.
For his gracious hospitality, adapted on the fly for unprecedented times, Demeo is praised by brides and grooms alike who rave on online forums about the debt they owe him to ease their stress at a difficult moment and so their wedding day to make it special and memorable. No wonder his company has received numerous awards in the wedding world.
Valley Rock Inn & Mountain Club
Who needs a wedding planner when the meticulously designed Valley Rock Inn & Mountain Club is their destination? The Sloatsburg Resort is the latest love affair from Michael Bruno, the serial entrepreneur who brought antiques to life on the internet with 1stdibs.com. It’s a one-stop venue that will inspire the happy duo and their guests to linger.
Bruno acquired a number of buildings and land that were constructed in the quiet hamlet of Sloatsburg in the early 20th century. Hidden behind the main street storefronts, Valley Rock respects the tranquility of its host village with a refined style that maximizes its programmatic capacity while complimenting the area’s modest size.
The resort is divided into discreet, neat vignettes. each with its own theme: a shady garden is planted with slender maple trees trimmed to a level of foliage that allows conversation while the waiters circulate with cocktails. An open-air dining room surrounded by rustic walls can be set up just as easily with four ceilings as it is with long trestles for 12 or more people. Another casual al fresco restaurant features tables under a wavy portico that rests on the trunks of cedar trees that are stripped and shiny and gracefully dissolve into a bed of gravel. The main lawn is littered with hanging fire pits hung on tripods reminiscent of colonial bonfires.
On-site accommodation is available to 34 guests, all but one of whom can enjoy their own bathroom thanks to a number of clapboard farmhouses that have been renovated and furnished with simple but tasteful decor that is Bruno’s trademark. There in an intimate garden where many a ceremony took place. There is a pool on the property. A range of recreational activities can be enjoyed just 10 minutes away, including hiking and biking in Harriman State Park and Sterling Forest.
– Glynwood Center for Regional Food and Agriculture –
Preservation and management of the land are the tenets of the Glynwood Center for Regional Food and Farming, which is open to the wedding ceremonies of future husbands and wives who are likely to share the same ideals. The 225 acre farm is on the outskirts of Cold Spring and was founded in 1929 by financier George Perkins and his family. Since then, it has continued the tradition of conservation of his father, George Walbridge Perkins, who was instrumental in founding the management of the Palisades Interstate Parkway Commission.
Glynwood is a local food production advocate and educator in local agriculture. He practices regenerative agriculture and strives to share the beauty of his property on special occasions. Among the places where the eye can rest are the hydrangea-lined lawn in the shade of trees, a rustic boathouse, and a wisteria-adorned field stone house. Known as Perkins House, the house is one of three accommodation options, including the Appledore Cottage (eight guests) and the 18th century farmhouse with 12 beds.
Newlyweds and their guests are pampered with amenities such as pastureland on pastures, spacious plots with lettuce, cabbage, spinach, beets, radishes and bok choy as well as many other vegetables and fruits. Swimming in the lake is permitted if a rented lifeguard is present and catering and tents must be obtained from external providers. A farm-style breakfast is prepared for overnight guests.
– Stone tavern Farm –
Two and a half hours north of White Plains is the hamlet of Roxbury, birthplace of rail financier Jay Gould, which was less than 3,000 people as of 2018. Couples looking for a pastoral setting with rustic improvements like those in abundance at Stone Tavern Farm.
The Stone Tavern Farm was founded in 1803 and now covers 250 acres in the Catskill Mountains. It accommodates both intimate (80 guests) and large (250 guests) weddings. The ceremonies take place on a hill with a panoramic view – wild meadows, stately maple trees – or in the Waterside Pavilion, where a glassy pond gives sunset cocktails and rehearsal meals a shimmer. A 12,000 square foot hemlock event barn has a 400 capacity when social distancing is out of fashion.
The property is criss-crossed with old streets, stone walls and remains of original structures including a historic toll booth. The six bedroom Stone Tavern House is on property and was once an inn for travelers from across the mountain. Today it is considered the oldest house in the city. It is popular with brides and their followers. Other guests can stay nearby in a variety of houses connected to Stone Tavern.
On-property amenities include canoeing and kayaking, volleyball, lawn games, and visits to local farm animals such as horses, sheep, dogs, and goats. Hikers, bikers, horseback riders and cross-country skiers will enjoy a scenic 18-mile railroad bed that evokes the spirit of the city’s most famous local. Depending on the season, there are opportunities for skiing, snowboarding and zip lines elsewhere on the Catskills playground.
Most wedding packages include party lights, ice cream, garbage disposal, early arrival storage, restrooms, supervisory staff, bath and valet parking, tiki torches, and campfire supplies. Fireworks are extra.