Just steps from downtown Canandaigua, New York, is the lovely Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion State Historic Park. This Queen Anne Style Mansion has deep historical roots. It was built in 1887 by Frederick Ferris Thompson and his wife, Mary Clark, the daughter of the New York State Governor in the mid-1800s.
Today, you can admire this 40 room mansion and its 50-acres of gardens and grounds when you visit the scenic Finger Lakes region any day in May through October. Explore the vibrant grounds on a tour of your own or attend one of the lovely events held at Sonnenberg Gardens throughout the year!
Here are 4 of the Most Beautiful Events at the Sonnenberg Gardens
1. Celebrate the arrival of Spring at the Sonnenberg Gardens Orchid Show
Every April, when the weather starts to warm up and the flowers begin blooming, the Sonnenberg Gardens host its annual Spring Wildflower and Orchid Show. The Sonnenberg Gardens Orchid Show kicks off with orchid repotting services on Friday and continues with education talks, a wildflower walk, and music on Saturday.
The weekend ends on Sunday with another educational talk. There’s also a raffle filled with prizes from local vendors. This event is open to all ages.
2. Feel inspired at the Sonnenberg Gardens Art Festival
Every August, the Sonnenberg Gardens host a spectacular art festival, Arts at the Gardens over two days during the third week. 100 exceptional artists enter their paintings, prints, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, glass, woodwork, photography and other fine art to be judged and sold.
Admire fine works of art in the gardens while enjoying local ales, delicious food, and wine.
3. Learn something new at the Sonnenberg Gardens History Tours
If you’ve ever wondered whether the Sonnenberg Gardens are haunted, here’s your chance to find out! From July to September, the Sonnenberg Gardens hosts a monthly Walking into History event led by a local historian and researcher.
You’ll learn about the families who lived there and the historical events that shaped their lives.
4. Get into the holiday spirit with the Sonnenberg Gardens Christmas Lights
Every year, the Sonnenberg Gardens decks its halls with bright, colorful Christmas lights. The mansion and its grounds look magical covered in white snow and glowing under white, green, and red lighting. It’s truly a magical event that you don’t want to miss.
Or host your own event at the Sonnenberg Gardens! The mansion, along with its colorful grounds, is an ideal spot for a wedding. Plan your Sonnenburg Gardens wedding between May to October to use its blooming grounds as a backdrop for your special day.
If you’d prefer to have your ceremony during the Fall or Winter, the Sonnenberg Gardens also has two elegant indoor facilities.
Related: Most Beautiful Gardens in the US
Where To Stay When You Visit The Sonnenberg Gardens
There are several Select Registry bed and breakfasts and inns close to the Sonnenberg Gardens. Regardless of whether you want to stay right in town or a short drive away, we’ve got several quality-assured lodging options for you!
Minutes From The Sonnenberg Gardens
Stay at the lovely Morgan Samuels Inn B&B and Spa, an elegant European stone mansion in Canandaigua that dates back to the early 1800s. You’ll be amazed by the beauty of its grounds the minute you turn down its 2,000-foot driveway. The Morgan Samuels Inn has 6 guest rooms.
Another option in town is the rustic Chalet of Canandaigua Bed and Breakfast. This luxury boutique bed and breakfast prides itself on being rustic enough for him, yet elegant enough for her. Choose from any of its 3 guest rooms for a top rated lodging experience that sets a new standard for glamping.
A Short Drive From The Sonnenberg Gardens
If you’re dreaming of European elegance on the water, look no further than Geneva on the Lake in Geneva, New York. Less than half an hour from the Sonnenberg Gardens, this resort features 25 rooms, award-winning service, gourmet cuisine, 10 beautiful acres, and a 70-foot long pool overlooking Seneca Lake.
Or, book a stay at the Genesee Country Inn Bed and Breakfast in Mumford, New York. Formerly a plaster-paper mill during the 1800s, the inn boasts its past with its 2.5-foot thick stone walls. Today, it offers 10 guest rooms in a prime location, only half hour or less to popular attractions like the Letchworth State Park and several impressive museums.
Just Over An Hour From The Sonnenberg Gardens
Another historic lodging option is the lovely Sherwood Inn in Skaneateles. Originally a stagecoach shop in 1807, the inn today is still a place of rest and relaxation for travelers. With fine dining and 25 guest rooms, many of which overlook the Skaneateles Lake, you’re sure to enjoy peace and pampering when you stay here.
Right across the street from the Taughannock State Park is the impressive Taughannock Farms Inn in Trumansburg, New York. Dating back to the late 1800s, this Victorian home was the country estate of John Jones. Today, it has 23 rooms and 12 acres of land with breathtaking views of the Cayuga Lake.
There’s also the secluded Asa Ransom House Country Inn in Clarence/Buffalo, New York. Full country breakfasts and spacious grounds overflowing with herbs and flowers await you during the spring and summer. Or book one of its 10 rooms during the winter to enjoy its glowing fireplaces after a day out skiing in white slopes.
Timeless elegance and extravagance are two words that come to mind when you stay at the opulent William Henry Miller Inn in Ithaca, New York. This showpiece of downtown Ithaca has 9 rooms just blocks from Cornell University, Ithaca College, and some of the area’s finest restaurants.
Photo credits: The Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion State Historic Park