We’re wandering stone paths while listening to the sound of a small waterfall tumbling down rocks. It’s 4pm on a Thursday, and the world is quiet inside the stone walls of the Japanese Stroll Garden at the Hammond Museum in North Salem.
Then we hear the frogs, a chorus of rhythmic quonks that sound like a series of raspy car horns. We spot the bullfrogs in the lily pond — there are probably a half dozen, as big as my foot, floating among the lily pads. Even I squeal.
Those giant bullfrogs is how the Japanese Stroll Garden won over my son. But the garden itself is a lovely jumble of paths peaking in and out of bamboo and shrubbery. We played for awhile in the Japanese Sand Garden, a large rectangle of pebbles where you can rake the ground in relaxing lines and circles.
When you arrive at the Hammond Museum and pay your $5 admission (kids under 12 are free), you can ask for a scavenger hunt map. As soon as we got inside the walled garden, we were hunting for Japanese lanterns, rock formations, lilies, even the waterfall itself. It’s enough to keep the kids busy while you stroll along.
While the garden isn’t huge, it’s large enough to spend an hour with kids. There’s a cafe for an al fresco lunch, if you get hungry; it’s catered by Ladles of Love in Pleasantville.
Two more reasons to visit:
On August 17th, the garden is hosting its 47th annual Moonviewing Concert, Picnic and Tea Ceremony at 6:30pm. It looks magical: The Japanese Stroll Garden is lit with paper lanterns, and you can walk around while listening to Japanese music. For more information, check here.
They’re also holding a Mid-Autumn Festival for kids on September 28th. Think: face painting, related to Chinese Opera characters, children can decorate lanterns, and even taste Chinese snacks.
Hammond Museum & Japanese Stroll Garden, 28 Deveau Road, North Salem; 914-669-5033