Q: Who is the park named after?
Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park is named for George Perkins Marsh, author of Man and Nature (1864) and one of the nation's first environmental thinkers. It is also named for Frederick Billings, a 19th-century lawyer and railroad entrepreneur who bought the property from the Marsh family and who was deeply influenced by Marsh's conservation thinking. Billings established a progressive dairy farm and professionally managed forest on the property. After Frederick died in 1890, his wife and daughters took on the care of the property for the next 60 years. In the 1950s, his granddaughter, Mary French Rockefeller inheritied the property alongside her husband Laurance Spelman Rockefeller, where they sustained Billings' practices in forestry and farming during the latter half of the twentieth century.
Q: How is Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park related to the Billings Farm & Museum?
Q: When is the park open?
The carriage roads and trails are open year round, dawn to dusk. The Carriage Barn Visitor Center is open between Memorial Day weekend (late May) to October 31, seven days a week, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Guided tours of the park are offered during this time.
Q: Can I visit in the winter?
The Carriage Barn Visitor Center and historic buildings are open Memorial Day weekend (late May) to October 31. The trails and carriage roads are available for three-season hiking and equestrian use, until winter snows arrive and the roads are groomed and used for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.There is a multi-use trail available for hikers year round.
Q: How do I see the inside of the Mansion?
Due to the sensitivity of the museum collection and tight quarters, mansion tours are capped at 12 participants. Click here for information on Mansion tours, available from Memorial Day weekend (late May) to October 31. Tour schedules are subject to change due to staff availability.
Q: May I take pets into the park?
Leashed pets are welcome outdoors year round. Please clean-up after your dog, removing any waste to an off-site trash bin. There are no trash receptacles for dog waste in the park. There are outdoor trash cans in the Billings Farm & Museum parking lot. Service animals as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are welcome in all visitor areas.
Q: I am disabled. How can I see the park?
Public parking for people with disabilities is available at the Billings Farm & Museum parking area. When buildings are accessible to visitors during the open season (late May to October 31) accessible parking is available next to the mansion for anyone who cannot walk up the short, steep hill (no visitor pass needed). There is also a shuttle service available for pick up from the bottom of the hill during special events and busy weekends (call ahead to confirm availability).
All formal side mansion tours are wheelchair accessible. Please let us know in advance so that we can set up our temporary wheelchair ramp. There is an elevator in the mansion for access to all floors on the formal side. For more information, visit our Guided Tours page.
Q: May I ride my bicycle on the carriage roads?
The use of mountain bikes on the carriage roads and trails is specifically restricted in the Deed of Gift - a permanent condition of the generous donation that transferred most of Mount Tom to the National Park Service and the American people. Since the park opened in 1998, people have been understanding and respectful of this limitation and have enjoyed the carriage roads and trails in many other ways.
Q: What is the Pogue, and how did it get its name?
The Pogue is a man-made 14-acre pond tucked into the hills of the park's Mount Tom Forest. Naturally a spring-fed boggy area, it was created in the 1880s when an earthen dam was constructed. It is rumored to be bottomless! The origin of its name is still in question. One theory holds that it is an old Scottish word and was given to the boggy area by an early settler to Woodstock. Please note: There is no swimming, fishing, or wading allowed in the Pogue.
Q: What is the difference between a National Park and National Historical Park?
The diversity of the parks is reflected in the variety of titles given to them. Generally, a national park contains a variety of resources and encompasses large land or water areas to help provide adequate protection of the resources. Historical areas are customarily preserved or restored to reflect their appearance during the period of their greatest historical significance. National historical parks are commonly areas of greater physical extent and complexity than national historic sites. Regardless of title designation, all of these units fall under the National Park Service, and are organized and managed by region.
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Last updated: November 28, 2023