Wheelchair Accessible Hammond Museum & Japanese Stroll Gardens, NY
By Kaye Robsen  © 2001

The Hammond Museum & Japanese Stroll Gardens in North Salem, NY is not your basic tourist destination. It is completely devoid of flashy amusement rides, fast food, big crowds and major noise. And the absence of all the above is what makes it so attractive. It is the perfect place to have lunch and/or spend an afternoon of solitude in almost any season. And, most importantly, much of the complex is within easy reach for wheelchair users.

It took my friend Jack and I about an hour and a half to drive to the gardens from New York City. Once there, we were delighted to unwind from our usual hectic city lives. There is one step at the entrance and then the paths are flat thereafter. For the most part, the three-acre setting provides good rolling opportunities—especially for power wheelchair users. Those folks with manual chairs may require good upper body strength or a helper to experience the entire complex as a gravel path surrounds the gardens and the pond. Of course, pushing a chair is easier on a hard surface, but the views here are worth the effort. 

The Hammond’s tranquil setting provides the perfect place to roll or stroll in an unhurried fashion. We visited the grounds on a fall day when all the red maple leaves were changing and took our time visiting the different garden views. . The gardens include a little bit of everything — a bamboo grove, a waterfall, water lilies, a dry landscape garden, stone lanterns and Buddhist statues.

From 12:00  p.m. – 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday through Saturday, the Silk Tree Café at the Hammond Gardens serves lunch on their beautiful tree-lined courtyard. Make reservations at 669-6777.

In 1957, the Hammond Museum and Japanese Stroll Garden was founded as a not-for-profit center for the humanities. Their programs and events, music and  arts are designed to create a bridge  between Eastern and Western cultures.

Admission to the complex  is $4 for adults and $3 for seniors. Children under 12 are free.

To sample the beauty of the gardens, visit their web site at:

http://www.hammondmuseum.org/index2.html

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