440 Montauk Highway, Great River, NY 11739
DescriptionAn entire row of handicapped spaces can be found in the paved, parking lot of Bayard Cutting Arboretum . It is less than one tenth of a mile to the main entrance of the mansion. There is a brick ramp to the handicapped enrance and double doors at the main entrance ( three steps).
The first floor of the mansion is wheelchair accessible, including the bathrooms. Multi-stall, handicapped-accessible restrooms are located in a hallway to the left of the entrance. The men's room is tight for a wheelchair with the door opening in. The ladies' room is much larger and has a baby changing table. During Covid, those not needing a handicapped restroom must go outside the building, around to the left. Both men's and women's restrooms are there. Five steps are required to get to them. The Hidden Oak Cafe is located in the mansion. From here, via a short, steep ramp, one can access a large dining deck facing the river. Both of the doors must be open for a wheelchair to get outside. Well-spaced seating is available both indoors and out.
Relatively flat, gravel paths wander through the various gardens. The approximately one mile river walk is a wide, gravel path with many benches.
- Attraction Type: park
Surface of lot: paved
Distance to venue: less than 1/10th of mile
Transportation to venue offered: na
Terrain: relatively flat, but uneven
Places to rest: many benches
Paths and walkways: paved to mansion, and down to the riverwalk, riverwalk is gravel
Number of floors: 2
Ramps: short, steep ramp to outdoor dining deck
Steps and staircases: staircase to second floor
Width of aisles: wide on first floor
Places to sit: many benches along the river, benches in other locations as well
Location of restrooms: main floor in mansion. also in separate building near mansion
Type of restroom: multi-stall, handicapped accessible only in mansion
Ease of entry and exit: easy for ladies' room, tight in men's room
Baby changing station: no
Available food services: cafe in mansion
Friendliness of staff: friendly and very helpful
Notes: *Mansion has a second floor that can only be seen on a tour. It is not handicapped accessible.
Bayard Cutting Arboretum is a beautiful place. Having never been there this late in the year, we decided to take advantage of a chilly, but sunny day in late November, to take a walk along the river. Wooden soldiers greeted us along the road as we drove in. We loved the holiday greeting. Parking was easy in the half-empty lot. The first row of the paved lot is reserved for vehicles with handicapped placards.
Getting from the parking lot to the mansion (about 1/10 mile) is easy on the paved path. We decided to see if the Hidden Oak Cafe, a favorite of ours (see separate listing for the cafe) was open. We were happy to find out that, indeed, it was open. We knew we would make this our place for lunch.
We walked down to the river walk. There are several paved paths that will get you to the path along the river. Once there, the river walk is gravel. This gravel does not deter carriages (as there were several families with them.) It is a somewhat different story with wheelchairs. When my “better half “ was in a wheelchair last year, I did not have an easy time pushing him. This year was definitely easier for us, and for anyone with a cane and even a walker. The walk is relatively flat. There were always a good number of benches but it seems that many more have been added. How lovely to be able to relax and watch the river. Even if you do not walk the gravel, it is a treat to sit and enjoy the peacefulness of the river. The path along the river is a little more than a mile. If you follow the path completely around the arboretum (going past the chickens) it is about two miles in total.
We took a leisurely walk, enjoying the path around this 691 acre property, with 14 different gardens, a 65 room mansion (not open for tours at this time) and river walk. It was donated to the Long Island State Park Region by Mrs. Cutting and her daughter, “to provide an oasis of beauty and quiet for the pleasure, rest, and refreshment of those who delight in outdoor beauty…” It is a “passive park; no biking, picnicking, sports, bathing or games.” (website)
We finally made our way to the mansion, where the Hidden Oak Cafe, was open. Three stone steps lead to the double door entrance. A brick and concrete handicapped-accessible ramp is to the left of the main entrance. It leads to a single door, which is easy to push open to enter the lobby. This building is a beautiful venue, with stained glass and lovely things to see when tours are available. Before Covid, we would walk in, order our food at the counter, and find a seat either in inside or, on the grand veranda. Due to Covid, there is wait service ( a very nice touch) complete with white tablecloths. All tables are very well spaced. There was also service in the beautiful library, which is usually devoted to “tea.” We chose to sit outside – we always do. The view overlooking the great lawn and down to the river is gorgeous. Although a bit chilly, this day did not disappoint! As is usual here, our choices were delicious. The staff all wore masks and gloves. We were happy to see tables and chairs being carefully cleaned between diners.
Multi-stall restrooms used to be located down the hallway to the left of the lobby. Right now, due to Covid, these restrooms are available only to those needing a handicapped restroom. It is spacious and easy to maneuver. Take note, however, that one must ask at the Cafe, for someone to open it for you. Unfortunately, there is no way to know that this is available without asking. I only found out about this after going outside to the restrooms around the building, where I discovered that there are five steps required to get up to both the men’s and women’s restrooms. I then had to retrace my steps back to the cafe to ask where I could find a handicapped-accessible restroom.
Even with this, we believe Bayard Cutting Arboretum is a wonderful destination in any season. We were told that it is especially beautiful in winter, with some snow. You might just want to bundle up and enjoy it.
Whatever you decide, we at Destination:Accessible, always advise you to visit a venue’s website, www.bayardcuttingarboretum.com, when planning a visit, to “know before you go.”