The Board and Staff of Friends of John Jay Homestead have wondered how best to add our voices to the outcry condemning the murder of George Floyd and, more broadly, discrimination against Black Americans.

We believe that, in this moment, there is an opportunity to confront our history of racial injustice.  Racism has a history with many chapters, starting before the founding of our county.  At John Jay Homestead we know that we cannot, must not, shy away from telling the hard truths about the Jay family – how the Jays evolved in five generations from slave traders, and owners, to being leading voices in the manumission and abolition movements. The issues of racial equality we are grappling with today are the fundamental issues that confronted, head on, the Jay family.

At John Jay Homestead we want to provide an opportunity for our visitors to look back and understand one American family’s role in both the oppression and advancement of Black Americans.  Through our collection of primary sources, educational tours, exhibits, and lecture series we seek to provide the resources for both children and adults to engage in this critical conversation.  Much of these materials are available on our website, including a virtual version of our exhibit Slaves, Anti-Slavery, and Five Generations of the Jays, and recordings from our Scholar’s Lecture Series from many of the leading writers and scholars in this important field.

Understanding and confronting the terrible truths of the past and present is necessary for our country to move beyond racial discrimination. We welcome the participation of all our audiences in this difficult journey, and hope that together we can not only understand our past better, but even more important forge a better future.

For the latest information on visiting New York State Parks During the COVID-19 Outbreak please click HERE:

New York state parks, trails, and grounds of historic sites are open for solitary outdoor recreation. All indoor visitor facilities, such as nature centers, visitor centers, and historic houses, will be CLOSED to the public until further notice. We appreciate your support and patience as we navigate this public health crisis together.

***We are having significant issues with our phones and strongly recommend that you contact staff via email. Please click CONTACT US below for direct links to email for all staff. We apologize for any inconvenience***


What to do Today
Guided Tours
While Tours of the Historic House are suspended, we invite you to take a Virtual Tour.
Upcoming Events

Farm Market

  • August 8, 2020
    10:00 am - 2:00 pm



In order to comply with NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets guidelines, we have instituted the following new rules and procedures for the 2020 season for the safety of our patrons, vendors, and staff:
• Please follow the signs for our separate entrance and exit.
• Masks must be worn at all times by everyone attending the market. Vendors are also required to wear gloves. Each vendor stall will have hand sanitizer; additional hand sanitizer will be available at the market manager’s table.
• Only one patron may be in a vendor booth at once; each vendor will have a waiting line with 6-foot spacing.
• Patrons may not touch or handle anything at vendor stalls. No sampling allowed. Products will be pre-packaged to the extent possible. Contactless forms of payment are preferred.
• No dogs allowed. Service animals are the exception.
• We ask that you refrain from socializing and do not linger while in the Market area.
If you have traveled from within one of the designated states with significant community spread, you must quarantine when you enter New York for 14 days. The travel advisory requires all New Yorkers, as well as those visiting from out of state, to take personal responsibility for complying with the advisory in the best interest of public health and safety. States currently included in this travel advisory are:
Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin

Please note that these rules are subject to change as we see changes in allowable activities and the re-opening of New York.

The buildings at John Jay Homestead remain closed with the exception of the public restrooms.

We respectfully request that you have only 1 family member attend the farm market. In order to maintain appropriate social distancing protocols, we may only allow a limited number of patrons into the market at any given time and would like to accommodate as many households as possible.



  • August 8, 2020
    10:00 am - 2:00 pm

Historic Landscape Tour

  • August 8, 2020
    10:00 am - 11:00 am

John Jay began developing approximately 750 acres of land in the Bedford area as an income-producing farm in 1787, strictly as an investment at first; later to become his home in retirement. His descendants lived here into the 1950s. As you walk around the property on this guided tour, you will see many features developed by the different generations of the Jay family. Advanced registration required. Offered Wednesday through Sunday at 10am.

The tour will step off promptly at 10am, departing from the front of the Carriage Barn.

  • August 8, 2020
    10:00 am - 11:00 am

Drive In Movie – The Goonies

  • August 8, 2020
    7:45 pm - 11:00 pm

Saturday, August 8, 2020

This event is sold out.


Join us as we partner with Bedford Playhouse to present a Drive In Movie at John Jay Homestead, with The Goonies on the big screen.

Tickets are limited and must be purchased before the event.

$30 per car

Gates open at 7:45 | Movie begins at 8:45

*Rain Date: August 12

Please Note: Movie audio is played through FM radio



  • August 8, 2020
    7:45 pm - 11:00 pm
Object of the Week
Eleanor Jay Iselin’s Travel Diary

We usually offer a series of collections-based programming this time of year, but with the historic house closed in response to COVID-19, we are instead highlighting some collections items in a series of short videos. Watch Collections Manager Arthur Benware’s video presentation on Eleanor Jay Iselin’s Travel Diary. Check back for a new video each week!

Geocache Challange

The Taconic Region of NYS Parks is excited to host its 2020 Geocaching Challenge. Encompassing acres of trails, campgrounds, beaches, golf courses, lakes, valleys, historic sites, waterfalls, and stunning views, we welcome you to come discover and explore our parks and great outdoors. Be one of the first 100 people to collect 45 out of the…

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Enjoy John Jay Homestead while you’re stuck at home!

John Jay Homestead State Historic Site has launched new digital content you can enjoy from home. These fun, interactive activities allow you to experience history while historic house tours are suspended. Learn more about the collection by exploring the Object of the Day or try to solve one of history’s mysteries by being an Object Detective. A…

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John Jay featured in The Wall of Spies (and on NPR)

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST: And I’m about to take you inside an unusual museum – unusual because most people will never see it. Normally, you need a top-secret security clearance to get up here. So we’ve just walked down. You’ve just pulled back the curtain. And what are we looking at? BILL EVANINA: The very…

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