One of the big things on my bucket list this year was to visit Olana. Olana is a historic site that is only about an hour away from my home. I have wanted to visit for quite a while, but never made the trip down to actually visit. This past Saturday I convinced my brother Andy and his girlfriend Lauren that it was a good idea to visit. We hit the road at around noon and arrive just before 1:30pm. We didn’t make a home tour reservation before we went (mistake) but were lucky to get onto a tour anyway.
The home was built in the early 1870’s after the Church family returned from a trip to the Middle East. The home may seem odd from the outside, but stylistically it makes more sense when inside. Generally homes in the Middle East are built around a central atrium- Olana is built in a similar style, but the central hall is inclosed due to the fact that we live in upstate New York.
The Middle Eastern architecture is similar to what they would have seen while visiting Beirut, Jerusalem and Damascus. Because of the wonderful views (the house is situated on the top of a large hill) many large windows were also incorporated into the design. From the inside these arched windows are framed and make the views seem like works of art themselves.
Unfortunately the house did not allow pictures on the inside, but I can tell you that the home is beautiful (photos of the inside can be found here). Original artwork by Frederick Church and other artists from the Hudson River School can be found in every room of the house. All of the furniture in the home is original as well. Lockwood de Forest (a student of Frederick Church) contributed many hand carved wooden pieces into the home. These carvings were insanely impressive. Intricate wooden fireplace mantels, the wooden balcony, and many pieces of furniture can be found throughout.
After the tour of the house we decided to explore the grounds a bit.
After leaving this lookout point we were caught in a freezing cold rainstorm. We made our way back to the car as fast as possible and then explored Downtown Hudson for a bit. After hitting up a food-truck for some delicious chicken soft tacos, we headed home. It was a great day! I highly recommend visiting Olana if you live in tri-state area!