Boscobel, the elegant Federal-period house museum set on lovely landscaped grounds with breathtaking views of the Hudson River, has been welcoming visitors to explore its man-made and natural beauty for over half a century.
The house, which originally stood fifteen miles down river, was built between 1804-1808 by States and Elizabeth Dyckman. The house was dramatically rescued from demolition in 1955 and opened to the public for the first time as a museum in 1961. Today, the house is widely regarded as one of the finest examples of Federal architecture in the country.
Boscobel contains an important collection of decorative arts from the Federal period, with high-style furniture by Duncan Phyfe, Michael Allison and other recognized New York cabinetmakers of the day. Pieces of States Dyckman’s English china, silver, glass, and part of his library of books have also survived and are on exhibit. Collections are displayed in beautifully appointed period interiors with reproduction carpets, wallpaper, fabrics, and window treatments based on historical sources.
Gardens and Grounds
The 60 acres of grounds surrounding the mansion include a beautiful rose garden, orangery, herb garden, pond, and a pristine woodland trail complete with rustic gazebos from which visitor’s can enjoy magnificent views of the Hudson River and its Highlands.
This combination of exceptional house, fine collections set in period rooms, beautiful gardens and grounds with stunning views and dramatic history make Boscobel one of the Hudson Valley’s most popular and well-loved attractions.
The evocative name “Boscobel” means ‘beautiful woods’ in Italian, but the name has more significance than its literal translation.
A dedicated Loyalist during the American War of Independence, States Dyckman named his future estate after Boscobel Manor in Shropshire, which he had once visited while in England from 1800-1803 and which can still be visited today. It is here that the future Charles II sheltered for two nights in 1651 after the disastrous Battle of Worcester. The King hid in a massive oak tree and slept in a tiny ‘scared hole’. The Royalist owners then guided him to Mosely Hall in Staffordshire, his next destination from which he made his eventual escape to the Continent.
After the Restoration, the story of the King’s narrow escape passed into local legend and the Royal Oak became a popular symbol of the monarchy.
It is possible that States Dyckman also saw his planned Hudson Valley house as his own personal refuge from the years of legal battles to obtain moneys owed to him by the English generals he served during the war.
States acquired a piece of the original Royal Oak and had it made into two snuff boxes, one of which is prominently on display at Boscobel.