A friend recently told me about Opus 40, and while exploring the Catskills area, we decided to stop and visit this interesting sculpture park. Opus 40 is located in Saugerties, NY (also near Woodstock).
We used Google Maps to get to Opus 40. However, another sign out on the road directed us to Opus 40, so we took a different road in. I felt a little like we were off-roading in the minivan, but the road took us to a very full parking lot.
We had no idea there was a music event going on at Opus 40 (which meant it was technically closed to the public), but we were able to park, pay, and explore the property. If I were to go again, we would use the main entrance. Also, check their website to makes sure there isn’t an event going on.
Opus 40 is like nothing I’ve seen before. It is sort of like an interactive sculpture and winding labyrinth.
In 1938, Harvey Fite, one of the founders of the Bard College Fine Arts Department, purchased an abandoned quarry in the town of Saugerties, NY, in Ulster County, about 100 miles north of New York City. During a period of 37 years, he created the monumental world-acclaimed 6½-acre bluestone sculpture now known as Opus 40. Over time he acquired additional land (70+ acres today) and built several structures, including a beautiful large wood and stone home, a studio, garage, blacksmith shop and the Quarryman’s Museum, which houses his unique collection of indigenous tools. Constructed by this one man, using dry-key stone masonry techniques inspired by his work in restoring the Mayan civilization at Copan, refined by experiment, trial and error, Opus 40 is a labyrinthine world of finely fitted stone, swirling with ramps and terraces constructed around pools and trees and fountains, rising out of bedrock a half mile deep. (https://www.opus40.org/)
It is amazing to see all the work put into creating Opus 40, and all by one person. The curved walls and smooth lines are very impressive. There are places where water collects and there is duckweed on top, making it even more visually interesting. I love how it looks like a green carpet and almost like you could step on it.
The kids had fun exploring the grounds, checking out cairns, passageways, and more (and were excited to see a water snake and a bunch of frogs!).
While the main area isn’t very large, it was interesting to explore and spend some time walking around.
The museum wasn’t open when we went (because of the event being held there), but there were still some interesting things to see outside. When we got home I read through the website to learn more about the history of Opus 40.
This was definitely an interesting place to visit. I would recommend planning a little picnic lunch while you are there so that you can take your time and enjoy the sights. This would be gorgeous in the fall when leaves are changing colors!
We visited Woodstock afterwards, but be prepared because the town can be very crowded, especially in the summertime.
Visit Opus 40 at https://www.opus40.org/
Check out the other places we have visited in the area:
Big Deep & Little Deep Swimming Holes, Woodstock, NY
Falling Waters Preserve, Saugerties, NY
Overlook Mountain, Catskills, NY
Saugerties Lighthouse, NY
Amazing that this was all built by hand by one man, and the connection to Mayan architecture is fascinating.
Wow that place looks very scenic and historic. What a cool place to get out for a little hike.
I hadn’t heard of this site before. It sounds interesting, and it looks like it has some terrific sky and scenery for a backdrop.
These are the types of places I love visiting with my son as he likes to hike and find hidden treasures so I plan on adding it to our Bucket List of places to visit in the future.
That is CRAZY that it was built by one man!!! How ind blowing! I would love to go visit there with my family!
WOW!!! I’ve never heard of Opus 40 and it looks absolutely stunning. His vision was truly ahead of it’s time. It would make sure a great venue for an outdoor wedding don’t you think?
I love exploring places like this. It’s the imagination going and you get to see how other people think and interpret art. It looks like someplace I could spend hours.
Even though it is “new” it is obviously well constructed to look like a part of the landscape. I think it is so gorgeous. Sharing with a MA friend who will love this.
We drove through Saugerties a few weeks ago on vacation. This looks like such a beautiful scenic destination! I love upstate NY.
This looks like such a stunning place to visit. I can’t wait to check it out the next time I visit New York.
This would be pretty cool to see. I like to explore places like this. It looks to be a great place to take photos!
How amazing that one man built all that. It looks like it was a great place to visit. So beautiful.
This is a really neat park! I would love to visit sometime.
How cool is this park. The kids would have fun here.
That looks so amazing and I bet even better to see in person!
Wow we are always looking for something to do when we go to woodstock!! I am so going on our next trip!!
Wow! This is beautiful! We live in Manhattan and this looks like a great little getaway!
I’m okay with frogs but definitely scared of any kind of snakes. This place really look like a fun and educational spot to go to.
This is a very nice place would be great to go see everything
What a fun place to go get lost in!!
It’s nice to see attractions closer to home. We have a “castle” not to far from us but it is a long hike
That looks like so much fun!!!
Such an amazing place ro visit with the family! I would love to experience this little adventure with my family!
That is really a mind blowing and that is really impossible that that place was just build by a one man. If I have to meet that person I will tell him that I am so proud of him because he gave a beautiful place to visit.
That seems to be such an interesting place to visit, quite different from usual parks. Hope you enjoyed your visit.
Opus 40 looks like a very interesting place. I like the labyrinth look of the place and it is kind of amazing that one man has built this. This place is perfect for weekend family bonding.
I’m a green grass person so this is not really my cup of tea but I’m sure this is worth visiting if you like this kind of place.
What a lovely place ! I can see a lot of photo opportunities in this location
For real? this was put up by one person? I’m surprise! it’s so clean and precise, especially doing it with stones. Worth your visit 🙂
My husband and I love hiking, but it’s tricky trying to get the kids on board. Having fun destinations included in our hikes helps. They’d love exploring Opus 40. It fits so well into the natural surroundings!
I really wish I lived closer to this. I love that it has this amazing look and artistic nature to it all out in the middle of nature at the same time. Just so many different things to see here. And I love exploring places like this.
Oh wow! I wouldn’t mind getting lost in this labyrinth coz it looks so nice. I would be taking pics everywhere. Haha. I will add this on my to go list for sure.
Definitely looks like an amazing adventure. Congrats on enjoying yourself to the fullest.
Wow, I thought NY is all about skyscrapers but didn’t know there are a very nice park and greenery too. We are planning to visit NY in these few years and glad to learn about the nearby attractions.
That looks like a fun place to visit. I love seeing things like this in person, we may have to make a trip. Thanks for sharing!
I haven’t really heard of this place before, but it looks like such a fun and beautiful place to visit! I’ll definitely put it on the list when we visit New York this summer. Thanks for sharing!
I agree, this place would be gorgeous in the fall. I can’t believe this was made by one person – that’s amazing!
What a beautiful and unique park! looks like a great day out!
This is an impressive sculpture and attraction. I find it interesting to see how neatly arranged those stones are. Very zen!
I am SO adding this to my list of MUST VISIT places for our next trip to NY. Thank you for this wonderful post and all the history behind it.
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