This will be an easy, relaxing day in the outdoors surrounded by history, beauty, and an incredible view of the Genesee River Valley. Linwood Gardens is a private garden open to the public during the three weekends of the annual Tree Peony Festival. We will be visiting on the second weekend, which is usually the best one for the peony bloom. The original garden landscape, designed around 1900, includes an Arts and Crafts style summer house, walled gardens, pools, fountains and the remains of miniature houses. A former tennis court now houses a labyrinth you can walk. I have been coming to the Peony Festival since 1996, usually at least twice. Last year, I began assisting the family in giving tours.
The gardens are completely maintained by two women in the family, a 30 year old and her grandmother, along with volunteers. They suggest a donation of $10 ($15 with guided tour). The money is to help maintain the gardens. Since I will be giving you the tour, I think $10 will be sufficient. You must pay either with cash or check—no credit cards. You may wish to bring water. There will be a caterer, Sweet Arts Bakery, selling simple food such as quiche, homemade soup, pastries, tea, lemonade, etc. It is nice to have a snack and sit outside admiring the view. It is not appropriate to bring your own picnic unless you wish to tailgate.
At 1:00 pm, there will be a concert by the American Recorder Society. There will be lots of recorders of all sizes and shapes. They sometimes play up to an hour—outside in nice weather, inside if it’s raining.
I will lead a tour giving you a history of the family and the gardens from around 11:30 – 12:30. If you prefer to wander on your own, that’s fine. It is a wonderful place to photograph. You may want to take some time after to walk the labyrinth. At 12:30, those who wish will gather for snacks and stick around to listen to the concert.
Wear comfortable shoes. Dress for the weather. Don’t bring dogs. Kids are fine. We will go rain or shine. It can get a bit muddy in the rain. The terrain is mostly level, not paved. The tree peonies are world famous. It is a favorite place of mine, and I love introducing it to others.
Linwood Gardens is 35 miles southwest of Rochester. It is near Geneseo and Pavilion. From downtown Rochester it takes about 45 minutes Note: sometimes the entrance is a little tricky to see. It really helps to clock the 2.9 miles from the intersection of 36 and York Road.
Take 390 south to Exit 10, Avon.
Turn right on Routes 5 & 20 West, through Avon.
Turn left on Route 36 South to the town of York.
Turn right on York Road West. Go 2.9 miles.
At the top of the hill, turn left at the stone pillars—1912 York Road (there will be a sign)
From the Northwest:
Take Route 63 South from Batavia to Pavilion. Continue through Pavilion
Turn left at the top of the hill (opposite school) onto York Road. Go 3.8 miles.
Turn right at the stone pillars—1912 York Road.
From the South:
Take Route 390 North to Exit 6 for NY-36 North towards Mt. Morris
Go 13 miles to the town of York
Turn left on York Road West
At the top of the hill, turn left at the stone pillars—1912 York Road.
From the Northeast and East:
Take 90 West to exit 46, 390 South (towards Corning).
Then follow the Rochester directions.
It should take about 1 hour and 45 minutes from downtown Syracuse, 2 hours and 45 minutes from Watertown, 1 hour and 15 minutes from Waterloo.
*Women Outdoors Membership*
Not required for this hike, but it's only $30 a year ($15 for seniors) and part of the fees are returned to our local region to be used as we wish. https://www.womenoutdoors.org/joinus.
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