|" ... I was offered a tract of wild land, barely a mile from home, that contained a secluded nook and a few acres of level, fertile land shut off from the vain and noisy world by a wooded precipitous mountain... and built me a rustic house there, which I call 'Slabsides', because its outer walls are covered with slabs. I might have given it a prettier name, but not one more fit, of more in keeping with the mood that brought me thither ... Life has a different flavor here. It is reduced to simpler terms; its complex equations all disppear."
-from Far and Near by John Burroughs
|Volunteers needed for New Trail Work
Images from the Sanctuary
The John Burroughs Sanctuary is located in the midst of a wild and scenic region of the mid-Hudson Valley. From 1873, and for the rest of Burroughs' life, this area supplied much of the nature lore and inspiration which the naturalist recorded in his essays.
After Burroughs' death in 1921, Slabsides with its surrounding nine acres, was presented to the newly formed John Burroughs Association. In 1964, and again in 1965, the woodlands surrounding Slabsides were threatened by logging and building operations. A prompt fundraising campaign brought contributions from hundreds of individuals and several foundations. The funds were used to purchase additional acres which, together with the original tract, now comprise the 170-acre John Burroughs Sanctuary.
Mixed deciduous trees and scattered stands of hemlock predominate in the Sanctuary woods. Trails, established for a better appreciation of this natural environment, lead through scenic surroundings once enjoyed by John Burroughs.
Slabsides is the rustic cabin of John Burroughs. Built in 1895 a mile and a half from his home on the Hudson, the retreat served the naturalist for the last twenty years of his life as a place where he could write, study nature, and entertain his friends. At Slabsides, Burroughs wrote some of the essays that made him America's foremost nature writer of his time.
Because of Burroughs' fame, Slabsides became a mecca for nature lovers and writers. The guest books contain the names of hundreds of Burroughs admirers each year from 1897 to 1921, including Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir, Thomas Edison, and Henry Ford. The visitors continue to come each year by the hundreds.
Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1968, Slabsides is preserved today much as Burroughs left it. The cabin is essentially the same both inside and out. Slabs of lumber, with their bark, 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 which Burroughs used, and much of which he made, remains as it was.
Slabsides Open House
The public may visit the John Burroughs Sanctuary throughout the year. In addition, Slabesides Day open house is held at from 12:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the third Saturday in May and the first Saturday in October. A program of talks and nature walks in the Sanctuary begins at noon. Admission is free. Click here for more details
Slabsides is located in West Park, New York, on the Hudson River eighty miles north of New York City, and ten miles south of Kingston. From Route 9-W at West Park, turn west onto Floyd Ackert Road (near the Post Office), cross the railroad tracks, and follow the Floyd Ackert Road about 1/2 mile to the foot of Burroughs Drive. Park here and walk up the hill to Slabsides. Click here for a map.
Website designed by Lisa Breslof and Jay Holmes
Copyright 2008 John Burroughs Association, All Rights Reserved
Content Specialist: Lisa Breslof
Webmaster: Jay Holmes