In 1894, a group of family, friends, and fans of minister and author Edward Payson Roe gathered to dedicate a memorial tablet in his honor. One of the most successful and popular authors of the Gilded Age, Roe was plunged into obscurity upon his death in 1888. During the 1870s and 80s, however, it was customary for households to display volumes of his works in conspicuous places.
The tablet reads “NEAR TO NATVRE’S HEART,” a reference to his 1876 novel of the same name, first published in London.
Roe was a horticulturist and nature-lover who spent his childhood wandering the nearby Moodna Creek with his sisters and playing in the trees of his family’s garden. His uncles belonged to the New York Horticultural Society, and tended to market gardens and an orchard at their estates in Newburgh.
With the success of his novels, which had a religious bent, Roe chose to remain in the village of his upbringing, Cornwall-on-Hudson, where he maintained vast gardens. He began experimenting with berry varieties and flower beds. When his literary entourage came to visit from New York City, Roe would take them hiking in the mountainous woods behind his house.
He was known to sit atop a particular boulder, and that’s where the memorial tablet was placed. Due to overgrowth and erosion, it now seems impossible to reach. An old sign and ropes lead to the top of the boulder, which boasts an incredible view of the Hudson Highlands and Newburgh Bay.
Know Before You Go
There is no parking to access the tablet trail, but it is located along the Boulevard. The nearby Hudson Highlands Nature Museum and other areas along the road are suitable for parking.