The Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark invites the public for a guided spring walk on the seven acres of the historic property to examine the trees, plants, soil, ecosystems, depressions and many other aspects that provide information that assists in reading the landscape. The walk will include identification of plants as walkers move across the lawn, among bushes and shrubs, along the stone walls that channel the brook, under trees – some of which were growing when Gerrit Smith walked the landscape and stand before the awesome yew. Docents for the estate will accompany the tour to briefly comment on the history and the structures as they relate to the land.

Rebecca McElheny is the guide for reading the landscape of the Gerrit Smith Estate. McElheny earned a bachelor of science in ornamental horticulture from Delaware Valley University in Doylestown, Pa., interned at Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia, Pa., and worked on native plant propagation in Pipersville, Pa.,

McElheny describes herself as a “lover of plants and all parts of their life cycles.” She now lives with many plants and animals in Madison County.

This free tour will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 1. Registration for the tour will begin at 1 p.m. in the Gerrit Smith Estate carriage barn at 5304 Oxbow Road, Peterboro. The Underground Railroad and Black Americans in Peterboro exhibits will also be open at that time. Masks are required. The Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark is open dawn to dusk every day for those who respect the property and COVID protocol. For more information, visit or email

By martha

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