Bird watching

More than 25 different birds have been identified at John Jay Homestead. Amateur bird watchers are invited to borrow a Bird Watching Explorer Backpack from the Carriage Barn Education & Visitor Center. Complete with field guides and binoculars, this is all beginner ornithologists need to get started. Our Junior Explorer Backpack is perfect for our younger visitors.

Colonial Games

Borrow a Hoop & Stick, Game of Graces, Stilts, or a Battledore & Shuttlecock from the Carriage Barn Education & Visitor Center for some “old-fashioned” fun.

Dog walking

John Jay Homestead is favorite spot among local dog owners. Please leash and clean up after your dog. Only service animals may enter the buildings.

Explorer Backpacks

We have three backpacks you can take with you while you explore the Homestead’s natural environment. Junior Explorers can use magnifying glasses and binoculars to study birds and animal tracks. Handy guidebooks are included as well to help explorers identify birds, mammals and plants. Findings can be recorded in the journal and the sketch pad and colored pencils can be used to draw a picture of the experience. We also have backpacks for Bird Watching and Landscape Art.


Our ice pond is home to bass and trout. We do not require a special permit for fishing, although a current New York State fishing license is necessary.


Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. If you’d like to place a geocache at John Jay Homestead, please see a staff member for permit information.

Horseback riding

John Jay Homestead is a popular stop along the Bedford Riding Lanes Association trails. BRLA members only are allowed on the trails beyond the Homestead’s boundaries. Twice each year we host a BRLA Pace.

Perimeter trail

John Jay Homestead is a beautiful place for a hike. Our perimeter trail offers scenic views and a moderate terrain.


Picnic tables are available under the horse chestnut trees by the Carriage Barn Education & Visitor Center, in the picnic grove by the Brick Cottage. Café tables are located in the Courtyard. Many other suitable picnic locations are located throughout the grounds. Please note that John Jay Homestead is a “carry-in, carry-out” park.

Plein air painting

There are many spectacular locations at the Homestead for plein air painting. Beginning landscape artists are invited to borrow our Landscape Art Explorer Backpack from the Carriage Barn Education & Visitor Center.

Snow shoeing/cross country skiing

Don’t let the snow deter you. John Jay Homestead welcomes winter recreation enthusiasts.