In September 1859, The Gardener’s Monthly published an account of a trip to Croton Point, which the author says was “visited through the summer by numerous travellers, who are permitted to drive through the grounds.”
We’re lucky that Dr. Underhill allowed such free access to his property because this brief article gives us tantalizing details about the scope of his business—the fruit he grew in addition to grapes, the “deer-park and fish-pond” on Croton Point and his “near at hand . . . Mount Green farm,” which suggests that Underhill also owned land along Mount Green Road in Croton.1
“Croton Point, where Dr. Underhill has . . . been engaged in the formation of one of the largest vineyards in this country . . . to see how well he has succeeded it is only necessary take the boat . . . to Sing-Sing, whence you readily reach the vineyards. They are daily visited through the summer by numerous travellers, who are permitted to drive through the grounds.
. . . the northwest and southeast slopes are covered with vines so arranged, that a perfect draught of air is kept up between the rows. The land for these has been prepared at a cost of over four hundred dollars per acre; and from a soil apparently poor, you see thousands and thousands of grape-vines springing forth with luxuriant growth and full of green, white, pink, and purple fruit. The odor these vineyards, when the vines are in bloom, is exceedingly fragrant . . . At the end of the Point is situated the house, a beautiful Italian villa, from the tower of which is the most charming view perhaps on the whole Hudson.
Immediately around the villa, you see a large and choice variety of pear trees, whose luscious fruit might tempt a sated Sybarite.
A little farther up the Point are the deer-park and fish-pond. In the former are some beautiful deer, that seem free to wander where they will. Over the whole of the farm there is scarcely a fence, and these deer are shut in by wires stretched from tree to tree, so that the view is in no way interrupted
. . . Around the bounds of the fish-pond (through which the Doctor has ingeniously contrived that the tide shall so ebb and flow as to permit the fish to enter, and having entered, not go forth again) he has a most select variety of plum trees, whose and golden fruit hangs out over the water . . .
In addition to his vineyards at Croton Point, the Doctor has near at hand his Mount Green farm, which he contemplates covering with vines. You need not go to the Rhine to see vineyards and enjoy scenery. . . .”
- Mount Green Road is off Old Post Road North, near Lounsbury Road. ↩