In June 2016, I had the opportunity to tour the Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park in Canandaigua, New York. As someone who has an appreciation for antiquity, it was fun to stroll through the grounds and envision the beauty and splendor that existed well over 100 years ago during the tenure of its former prominent wealthy owners, Mary Clark Thompson and Frederick Ferris. Mary’s father, Myron Holley Clark, served as governor of New York State from 1855 to 1857 and Frederick was a founder of the First National Bank of the city of New York, which is now known as Citibank. Their 118 acre property was eventually bequeathed to Mary’s nephew, who later sold it to the U.S. government in 1931. A VA Hospital was then built on site and later, in 1973, a title for 52 acres was obtained by the nonprofit organization “Sonnenberg Gardens” and the gates were opened to the public.
Aforementioned observations aside, there were plenty of things of interest and beauty for me to see that made the visit worthwhile. I found something in every thematic garden that delighted me, such as a Buddhist statue in the Japanese Garden, an inviting archway in the Rock Garden, a curvy Rose Garden and an imposing Fountain of Hercules in the Italian Garden, to name a few.
Other thematic gardens you will encounter on your Sonnenberg journey include a Pansy Garden, a Blue & White Garden, a Moonlight Garden, and a Children’s Community Vegetable Garden. The conservatory and greenhouse complex also have some eye candy you won’t want to miss, some of which are featured below.
You can visit Sonnenberg Gardens 7 days a week, rain or shine, from May 1 through October 31. They are open 9:30 am – 4:30 pm with extended summer hours Memorial Day – Labor Day until 5:30 pm. For information on admission prices, click here. To find out more about Sonnenberg Gardens, please visit their website at http://www.sonnenberg.org and connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.