Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Walking in Westchester County - Lasdon Park, Arboretum and Veterans Memorial

A trip to Lasdon Park over Memorial Day weekend turned out to be a timely visit. The park, once a family country retreat, has woodland, meadow and formal gardens which are open to the public all year round, but it also contains four memorials and a museum dedicated to the Westchester County servicemen and servicewomen.

A Trail of Honor features 12 stone cairns bearing the busts of soldiers who fought in every major American War from the American Revolution to Operation Desert Storm. 

The American Revolution

War of 1812

The World War II memorial featured both a young sailor and an older soldier. 

Operation Desert Storm 

The busts were created by sculptor Nils Anderson, a veteran of World War II, and are copies of renderings he made while a patient at the FDR Veterans Administration Hospital in Montrose.

There is also a monument to recognize those who served in the Merchant Marines, risking their lives to ensure that the troops had the necessary supplies. 6,795 merchant marines lost their lives in World War II alone.

A Korean War memorial reminds us that 'Freedom is not free' while a nearby monument lists the names of the numerous County residents who died during the conflict.

The most stunning memorial, however, is the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial which includes a sculpture of a soldier carrying a wounded comrade while a nurse rushes to his aid. The sculpture, designed by a local artist, Julia Cohen, was commissioned in 1987 in honor of not only the local servicemen who lost their lives but also the eight female nurses who were killed in Vietnam. 

Elsewhere in the park, another trail leads to a Chinese Friendship Pavilion and Cultural Garden. 

The pavilion was a gift from the city of Jingzhou in the People's Republic of China to its 'Sister City' of Westchester County. Overlooking a pond and surrounded by Chinese plantings including bamboo and dogwood, the pavilion provides a tranquil spot to relax.

The centerpiece of the park is the William and Mildred Lasdon Memorial Garden. The entrance court is lined with wonderfully fragrant trees, shrubs, and flowers; the late blooming lilac a real delight to the senses.

Fringe Tree

Beds of flowering annuals and bulbs provide a seasonally changing display of color around a central fountain and the garden itself is encircled by ornamental shrubs from all over the world including the Fringe Tree with its blossom as soft to the touch as its name implies.

The original house on the estate, which was modeled after George Washington's home Mount Vernon in Virginia, is now used for offices and workshops. The caretaker's cottage is now a small museum housing artifacts belonging to Westchester County residents who served in the military and the pool house has been converted into the Garden Shop selling plants and gifts.

Behind the shop is a large courtyard with a new greenhouse, the Lasdon Conservatory, which will be officially opened in June with an exhibition called The Rainforest; Tropical Treasures.

All in all, Lasdon Park turned out to be the perfect place for a Memorial Day Weekend outing. 

Mel Parish writes contemporary fiction with a twist of mystery and suspense. Her latest novel Trust No One is now available from Amazon. 


  1. You're right, Mel. How perfect! Those sculptures are beautiful.

    1. Thanks, Karen. I had never heard of the park until I got an email from a meetup group I belong to. So glad I decided to go along!

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  3. Lovely, Mel. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for dropping by, DV. Hope you had a good holiday weekend too.

  4. Very nice. Thanks for sharing, Mel.

    1. Thanks for dropping by, Elisabeth.