Innisfree Garden – Millbrook, New York - Atlas Obscura
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Millbrook, New York

Innisfree Garden

This once-private estate is now a dreamy, meditative garden that's open to the public.  

This picturesque garden was more than 50 years in the making. Originally a private space, its meticulously manicured grounds are now open for the public to enjoy.

Walker and Marion Beck had the garden built between 1930 and 1960 as their own private oasis. They were inspired by eighth-century Chinese poet Wang Wei’s garden. Lester Collins was the landscape architect.

Collins’ design is a wonderful Chinese-inspired garden, with Modernist and Romantic elements added to the mix. All parts of the garden seem to blend together seamlessly, resulting in a dreamy, meditative landscape. Most of the plants and rocks are native to the environment, adding a distinctly New York touch to the space.

One long main trail winds through the grounds, with smaller trails splintering off to reveal other pockets of the park. Go for a walk, and you’ll come across peaceful views across a small lake and tiny waterfalls burbling with life. You’ll cross quaint stone bridges and spot a variety of art and wildlife nestled within the greenery. It feels as though you’ll find a new space to explore with every turn you take.

Know Before You Go

The entry is much farther than expected, but is well marked. The garden is open seasonally (typically May though October). See its website for details. Admission is either $8 on weekends and $6 on weekdays. It'll take at least 90 minutes to explore the garden. Be aware that the paths are not paved.