David Schuyler, author of Sanctified Landscape: Writers, Artists and the Hudson River Valley, 1820-1909, will speak about the shaping of John Burroughs’ nature philosophy and his importance in the quickly changing late 19th century in “The Naturalist’s River” at a Slabsides Day Open House on Saturday, October 4 at 12 noon. The Open House runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Slabsides is the rustic cabin that Burroughs built – partially with his own hands – in 1895. It was in this building that Burroughs wrote some of the essays that made him America’s foremost nature writer of his time, as well as entertaining such callers as Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, up until his death in 1921.
Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1968, Slabsides is preserved today much as Burroughs left it. Slabs of lumber with their bark still on cover the exterior walls, and the rustic red cedar posts that Burroughs helped set in place still uphold the porch. Inside the cabin, the furniture that Burroughs used (and much of which he made) remains as it was. But to get a good look at the interior, including his writing desk and tools, you have to be there on Open House Day – and that only happens twice a year: the third Saturday in May and the first Saturday in October.
To get there from Route 9W at West Park, turn west onto Floyd Ackert Road (between the Global Palate restaurant and the Post Office), cross the railroad tracks and follow Floyd Ackert Road about a half-mile to the foot of Burroughs Drive. Park there and walk up the hill to Slabsides, or drive up the hill and park at the gateway on the right, walk through the gate (currently being reconstructed) and up the gravel road to Slabsides. For information, call (845) 384-6320 or visit https://research.amnh.org/burroughs/programs.html.