There is so much to see and do in our little slice of heaven here in the Upper Hudson Valley that sometimes it is difficult to fit it all into one weekend. Fortunately, a visit to Olana will satisfy your hunger to enjoy a tour through a unique historical mansion, learn about the lifestyle of one of the most influential painters to emerge from the Hudson River School of landscape painting, view a generous sampling of fine art, and walk around the beautiful grounds and even enjoy a picnic!
Olana was built by the painter Frederic Edwin Church in 1870, on two parcels of land that he long coveted and had to purchase separately several years apart. Church was the pupil of Thomas Cole, who is generally considered to be the founder of the Hudson River School and whose preserved house is located right across the river. Church valued the beautiful landscape and the breathtaking view of the Hudson River and Catskill mountains. It is notable for its striking Persian and middle-Eastern influences, that can be admired throughout the custom designed structure, as well as in its interior finishes. Most of the furnishings and objects within the mansion are original, and the artworks displayed in the formal dining room, affectionately referred to as his “masters” by Church himself, are all of his own original collection.