Sat, Aug 4, 2018
The Abeel House Prairie is four acres of wildflowers and native grasses. It blankets a small holler in a secluded valley next to an eighteenth-century Dutch stone house once owned by David Abeel, an early settler in the Hudson Valley. The owners planted the prairie eight years ago, a decision they regretted almost immediately. Apparently they thought the prairie would be a low-maintenance solution to a brush-covered hillside that was too steep to mow. In hindsight, they say it would've been easier to cut the brush weekly with a pair of hand sheers. They learned that establishing and maintaining a wildflower prairie is a non-stop battle against invasives. Today, however, the results are magnificent. The prairie is full of more than two dozen varieties of flowers and grasses. Bordered by a small brook and bisected by a short hiking trail, it is an easy walk. While strolling through the prairie you may hear a noticeable buzz—a collective celebration of bees that visit here for one of the finest dining experiences of their lives. In fact, there is a huge honeybee nest in the trunk of a large cedar tree next to the estate's cemetery.
Directions: From points west of the Hudson River via the Rip Van Winkle bridge: After you cross the bridge, turn left at the first traffic light onto Spring St./NY-385. After 0.5 mile, turn right at the stop sign onto Bridge St. Stay on Bridge St. for 1.5 miles. It will merge with Route 9W, but don’t let that confuse you. Just keep plowing ahead. You can do this. When you get near the Price Chopper, the street name will change yet again. The road is now called 23A. Don’t get frustrated or intimidated. This is merely the highway department’s way of trying to get people to stay home. You will drive another 3.5 miles past the Price Chopper. Number 739 will be on the left, 1/10 mile past Underhill Rd. You’ll see a large brown mailbox and a break in the guardrail.
From points south of Catskill on the NYS Thruway: Take Exit 20 and follow Route 32 north for about 8 miles. There will be a few turns and a veer to the right, just make sure you stay on Route 32. At Story Farms, turn right onto Route 23A. Go just about 2.5 miles. The road will turn sharply to the left and you will see a break in the guardrail on the right. The driveway is at that break in the guardrail. If you get to Underhill Road you’ve gone too far. Should that happen, you can either give up and go home -- or you can turn around and go 1/10 mile back in the other direction.
From points north of Catskill on the NYS Thruway: Take Exit 21 (Catskill/Cairo) and turn left onto Route 23B. After about 1.5 miles take the ramp to the right onto Route 9W south. After about 1.5 miles, Route 9W will turn to the left near the Price Chopper. Don’t make that turn. Keep going straight. You’re now on Route 23A. Drive another 3.5 miles to address #739. It will be on the left, 1/10 mile past Underhill Rd. You’ll see a large brown mailbox and a break in the guardrail.
Open Days 2018: August 4
Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Admission to this garden is $7 for members and nonmembers without tickets purchased in advance.
Buy discounted admission tickets in advance! They can be used at most Open Days to make garden visiting easier.
Nonmembers get 6 visits for the price of 5 with advanced ticket book purchase.
Members get 50% off ONLY by purchasing ticket books in advance.
Digging Deeper program: Confessions of a Prairie Plant Addict at the Abeel House Prairie. 10 a.m. Registration details here.
*Please note: The High Falls garden in Catskill will not be open on this date as originally published in the 2018 Open Days Directory.
Join us for Digging Deeper at Abeel House Prairie
Saturday, August 4 at 10 AM: Confessions of a Prairie Plant Addict in Catskill, NY
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