The Thomas Cole National Historic Site welcomes groups to visit the historic home, studios, and grounds of Thomas Cole in Catskill, New York. Group tours are welcome by advance appointment during the open season (May – October), Wednesday – Sunday (and with limited availability for small groups on Tuesdays). We offer two options for large groups: Regular Group Tours and Custom Tours (each defined below). Please email us for more information and to book your tour as early as possible to secure your date of choice.
*Smaller groups (twelve or fewer people) are also welcome to visit the Main House during regular hours of operation without appointment. We recommend that you buy your tickets in advance using our online ticketing page. Groups of more than twelve people should make advance arrangements using the email below.
Regular Group Tour
Groups of more than 12 may schedule a visit during the open season (May – October), Wednesday – Sunday (with limited availability for small groups on Tuesdays).
Rates: Group tour tickets are $14 per person for all visitors. When you reserve and visit as a group, we do not charge any additional fee for the educators that we hire to greet and facilitate your group, so we do not offer discounted admission, such as the senior discount, because of the additional cost of our staff. For groups of students and/or children, please see our special rates for school groups. Admission to the grounds is always free of charge.
Custom Tours are led by knowledgeable senior staff members. Your tour may cover specific areas depending on the interests of your group. Such topics might include the historic interior decoration and furnishings; a focus on a particular exhibition; or a behind the scenes look at the innovative Parlors installation. A meet and greet with the Executive Director of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site is included wherever possible. Availability of Custom Tours is limited, particularly during October, so please plan ahead.
One Custom Tour option that we recommend is a tour of the Main House combined with a gallery talk in the New Studio where a special exhibition is on view. This combined tour requires a minimum of 2 hours on site. For the Main House portion, groups of more than 12 will be split up. Please note that there are several flights of stairs.
We offer customizable tours to groups during May – October, Monday – Friday. Custom Tours are sometimes available on Saturday or Sunday on a very limited basis.
Rates: For all visitors, Custom Tour tickets are $45 per person, with a minimum price of $450. Custom Tours on a Saturday or Sunday, if available, are $100 per person; minimum price of $1,000, or 10 people. Each additional person over 10 will be charged the per-person rate
To make a reservation, or request more information, contact Heather Paroubek at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please supply the following information:
- The type of group tour you are interested in (Regular Group Tour, or Custom Tour)
- The number of people in your group
- The preferred date and time of your visit
- A contact name
About Your Visit
A visit to the Thomas Cole National Historic Site provides entry into the world of the man who became the father of American landscape painting and founder of the Hudson River School of art. Visitors gather in the New Studio where they can view the special exhibition inside a space designed as a studio by Thomas Cole. Your guide will meet you there, and you will walk to the porch of the Main House, where one of the most perfect views of the Catskill Mountain range can be enjoyed. Your tour will enter the 1815 Federal yellow-brick Main House and visit the historic rooms where the Cole family lived. The tour continues into the “Old Studio” where Cole painted many of his best known works, and which still contains Cole’s original easels and art-making materials. At the conclusion of the tour, visitors may browse the museum shop, enjoy the historic grounds with mountain views, and even sketch for a while in one of the many sketchbooks provided on the grounds.
Bus Tour Logistics
Bus parking is available in the adjacent parking lot that is shared with Temple Israel, accessible from Spring Street. Please drive all the way into the lot and park in the upper portion. From the parking lot, visitors can proceed to the New Studio and gather there for the commencement of their tour. It is recommended to allow at least two hours for your visit. However, shorter or longer visits can be arranged to accommodate your schedule.
Other Sites For Your Itinerary
Hudson River School Art Trail
Walk into a 19th-century landscape painting! The Hudson River School Art Trail takes you to the sites that inspired America’s first great landscape painters — Thomas Cole, Frederic Church, Asher B. Durand, Jasper Cropsey, Sanford Gifford and other pioneering American artists — and to see the landscapes that launched the Hudson River School of art. Visit the Art Trail website for more information: Hudson River School Art Trail.
Olana State Historic Site
Just across the river from Cedar Grove, Olana was the home of Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900), a major figure in the Hudson River School of landscape painting and the pupil of Thomas Cole. Built high on a hill near Hudson, New York between 1870 and 1891, Olana offers magnificent sweeping vistas of the Catskill Mountains, the Hudson River and the Taconic Hills. Called by Church “the Center of the World,” Olana’s Persian style house and 250 acres of picturesque grounds are a personal vision of harmony between people and the American landscape.
The Bronck Museum
More than 300 Years of Hudson Valley History are reflected in the cluster of architecturally significant buildings that comprise the Bronck Museum, including the Hudson Valley’s oldest home, built in 1663. After eight generations of Broncks had maintained the homestead as a working farm, it came to the Greene County Historical Society, which maintains the Bronck Homestead as its headquarters and as a museum to house valuable historical collections which reflect the region’s history.
Catskill’s Historic Main Street
Enjoy great shopping, a wide variety of wonderful cafes and restaurants, coffee shops, and more. Catskill’s Main Street welcomes you with its 19th-century architecture and charm.