Poets' Walk Park
River Road, Red Hook, Dutchess County, NY


Or head north on the Taconic State Parkway. Get off at the exit for Route 199; drive past the Village of Redhook, past Route 9G and turn left onto Route 103 (River Road).  Head south a short distance to the entrance of the park on the right.


1688 -- a land grant was given to Colonel Peter Schuyler of Albany that included this area. His patent was transferred to his kinsman Colonel Henry Beekman, son of the founder of Rhinebeck. Neither Schuyler or Beekman actually lived on the property.

1715 -- the land was leased to German Palatines.

1789 -- the land goes from Beekman's granddaughter, Alida Livingston, to her husband, General John Armstrong, as dowry upon their marriage.

1811 -- consolidated five tenant farms into a 750-acre family seat.

War of 1812 -- General John Armstrong, former ambassador to France and secretary of war, compelled to retire after the British burn the nation's Capitol.

1813 -- Build Rokeby. At first the estate was known as La Bergerie (the Sheepfold); later changed to Rokeby by Armstrong's daughter Margaret after she was inspired by a Sir Walter Scott poem. General Armstrong pastured Merino sheep here, a gift from Napoleon, hoping to improve American wool production.

1836 -- Rokeby became the country home of Margaret Rebecca Armstrong (daughter of John Armstrong) and her husband William Astor, then the richest man in America.

1843  --  General Armstrong dies.

Later, the Chanlors (mostly Astor descendants) took over Rokeby. (Randal 1995:165)

1844 -- General Armstrong's granddaughter, Laura Astor, was given the southern-most 100 acres of Rokeby upon her marriage to Frank H. Delano (whose grand nephew was Franklin Delano Roosevelt). The Delanos built a Tuscan Villa style home known as Steen Valetje (Dutch for Stony Creek). The estate was enlarged to 550 acres. It was the Delano family seat until 1967. The Delanos raised prized Norwegian ponies and Aberdeen Angus here.

1849 -- German born landscape gardener Hans Jacob Ehlers was employed by the Delanos and Astors to improve the grounds at Rokeby and Steen Valetje. Ehlers constructed a sylvan path called the Poet's Walk in honor of poets Washington Irving and Fitz-Green Halleck who are said to have strolled there.

1896 -- wedding of Alida Beekman-Chanlor to Christopher Temple Emmet, a New York lawyer. Wedding staged by famous architect Stanford White.

Later the house became dominated by Margaret Livingston Chanlor-Aldrich, founder of the United State Army Nursing Corps and president of the League of Women Voters. She married Richard Aldrich, then the music critic for the New York Times. (Randall, 1995:166)

1957 -- the Kingston-Rhinecliff bridge built.

The park was designed to celebrate the connection between art and nature. Scenic Hudson holds conservation easements on two neighboring historic properties totaling nearly 800 acres.

Along the trail there is a huge sculpture composed of stacked newspapers (created in 2001).  The name of the work by environmental artist Steve Siegel is "A Fox Lives Here Too." 


There are two miles of paths. This is a linear park that goes east to west (almost to the Hudson River; railroad tracks are in the way). You walk west to the overlook pavilion and then out to the flagpole lot where there are gorgeous views of the Catskill Mountains. Then one can head north to the summer house (a gazebo) and then west and southwest back to the overlook pavilion, and then east back to the parking lot.

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney
dates = plants found in bloom on dates of field trips, March 24, 2002 and September 27, 2004

Acer rubrum (red maple) 3/24/02
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven)
Betula lenta (black birch)
Betula papyrifera (white birch)
Carpinus caroliniana (musclewood)
Carya cordiformis (bitternut hickory)
Carya ovata (shagbark hickory) quite a few of them
Carya tomentosa (mockernut hickory)
Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)
Fagus grandifolia (American)
Fraxinus americana (white ash)
Gleditsia triacanthos (honey locust) ?
Juglans nigra (black walnut) found the shell
Juniperus virginiana (red cedar)
Liquidambar styraciflua (sweetgum)
Liriodendron tulipifera (tulip tree)
Morus alba (white mulberry)
Ostrya americana (American hop hornbeam)
Pinus sp. (pine, 2 needled, 5 " long)
Pinus strobus (white pine)
Prunus serotina (black cherry)
Quercus alba (white oak)
Quercus palustris (pin oak)
Quercus prinus (chestnut oak)
Quercus rubra (red oak)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Sassafras albidum (sassafras)
Thuja occidentalis (arbor-vitae)
Tilia americana (American basswood)
Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock)
Ulmus americana (American elm)  3/24/02

Alnus serrulata (smooth alder)
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Cornus racemosa (gray dogwood)
Corylus sp. (hazel)  3/24/02
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Forsythia (forsythia)  3/24/02 soon
Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry)
Hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel)
Ligustrum sp. (privet)
Lindera benzoin (spicebush)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow's honeysuckle)
Physocarpus opulifolius (ninebark)
Rhamnus cathartica (common buckthorn)
Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac)
Rosa multiflora (multiflora rose)
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus sp. (blackberry)
Rubus sp. (dewberry)
Vaccinium angustifolium (low bush blueberry)
Viburnum acerifolium (maple-leaf viburnum)
Viburnum sp. (viburnum) 9/27/07 planted in parking lot circle center
Vinca minor (periwinkle)

Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Dioscorea villosa (wild yamroot)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vincetoxicum nigrum (black swallowwort)
Vitis sp. (grape)
Wisteria sp. (wisteria)

Acalypha sp. (three-seeded mercury)
Achillea millefolium (yarrow)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
Allium vineale (field garlic)
Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common ragweed)
Amphicarpaea bracteata (hog peanut)
Antennaria sp. (pussytoes)
Apocynum cannabinum (Indian hemp)
Aralia nudicaulis (wild sarsaparilla)
Arctium sp. (burdock)
Arisaema triphyllum (Jack in the pulpit)
Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed)
Aster acuminatus (sharp-leaved aster)
Aster divaricatus (white wood aster) 9/27/04
Aster novae-angliae (New England aster) 9/27/04
Aster novi-belgii (New York aster) 9/27/04
Aster sp. (schreberi)? (Schreber's aster)
Barbarea sp. (wintercress)
Centaurea jacea (brown knapweed) 9/27/04
Centaurea maculosa (spotted knapweed)
Cirsium discolor (field thistle)
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace) 9/27/04
Epifagus virginiana (beech drops)
Erechtites hieraciifolia (pileweed)
Erigeron annuus (daisy fleabane) 9/27/04
Eupatorium rugosum (white snakeroot) 9/27/04
Euthamia graminifolia (grass-leaved goldenrod)
Galium mollugo (wild madder) 9/27/04
Galium sp. (bedstraw)
Geranium sp. (geranium)
Geum sp. (white avens)
Impatiens sp. (jewelweed)
Linaria vulgaris (butter and eggs) 9/27/04
Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife)
Medicago lupulina (black medick) 9/27/04
Narcissus sp. (daffodil)
Nuphar sp. (pond lily)
Penstemon sp. (beardtongue)
Pilea pumila (clearweed)
Plantago lanceolata (English plantain) 9/27/04 one in bloom
Plantago major (common plantain)
Polygonum cespitosum (cespitose smartweed) 9/27/04
Polygonum sagittatum (arrow-leaved tearthumb)
Polygonum virginianum (jumpseed)
Potentilla simplex (common cinquefoil)
Prunella vulgaris (self-heal) 9/27/04
Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima (black-eyed Susan) 9/27/04
Rumex crispus (curled dock)
Satureja vulgaris (wild basil) 9/27/04
Silene vulgaris (bladder campion)
Solanum carolinense (horse nettle)
Solidago bicolor (silverrod) 9/27/04
Solidago caesia (blue-stem goldenrod) 9/27/04
Solidago canadensis var. scabra (tall goldenrod) 9/27/04
Solidago rugosa (rough-stemmed goldenrod) 9/27/04
Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion) 9/27/04
Trifolium pratense (red clover) 9/27/04
Trifolium repens (white clover) 9/2704
Tussilago farfara (coltsfoot)  3/24/02
Typha angustifolia (narrow-leaved cattail)
Verbena urticifolia (white vervain)
Veronica officinalis (common speedwell)

Carex laxiflora type (loose-flowered type sedge)
Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)
Scirpus atrovirens (dark green bulrush)
Scirpus cyperinus (woolly grass bulrush)

Bromus inermis (smooth brome grass)
Cinna arundinacea (wood reed grass)
Dactylis glomerata (orchard grass)
Eleusine indica (zipper grass)
Phalaris arundinacea (reed canary grass)
Phleum pratense (Timothy grass)
Setaria faberi (nodding foxtail grass)
Setaria glauca (yellow foxtail grass)
Setaria viridis (green foxtail grass)
Tridens flavus (purple top grass)
Zizania aquatica (wild rice grass) lots

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Dennstaedtia punctilobula (hay-scented fern)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Polypodium sp. (rockcap fern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)