A Retreat and Conference Center in Westchester County available to church, student and religious groups in the Metropolitan New York area.
Major Bowes is owned and operated by a board of Lutheran lay persons and pastors especially for the needs of Lutheran campus ministry, churches and young adults. It is open year round.
The facility was given to the Lutheran Church in 1939 by Major Edward Bowes, who was a prominent radio personality and impresario (known particularly for the original Amateur Hours) until his death in 1946. It had been the Westchester home for him and Mrs. Bowes, the late actress Margaret Illington. They planted thousands of laurel bushes, named it Laurel Hill and surrounded the triangular estate of three acres with a thick stone wall.
The property has since served as a retreat for youth and adults with close ties to the Lutheran Campus Ministry in New York City. Substantial grants from the Atlantic District LCMS and the ELCA have permitted the volunteers to make significant improvements on the property.
The area around Major Bowes is full of opportunities for recreation and sightseeing:
Teatown Lake Reservation is a mile east on Spring Valley Road. This is a nature preserve with clearly-marked hiking trails, winter skating and a year round nature program. Exhibits are free and arrangements can be made ahead of time for guided tours with a naturalist foe a small fee. For information call (914) 762-2912.
Croton Dam and Croton Gorge Park where, after a short drive over the top of the dam, you may descend to the base and enjoy the large field and the water rushing out of the dam. Nominal fee for parking in the summer months.
Ossining Visitor's Center has exhibits on the Croton Aqueduct and the Sing Sing Prison. Brochures are available for a walking tour of historic Ossining, and guided tours for the aqueduct may be arranged for in advance (914) 941-3189.
Franklin D Roosevelt State Park is off the Taconic Parkway about five miles north of the Retreat, offering summer recreation, swimming pool and picnicking at the standard parking fee for state parks. (formerly called Mohansic State Park). (914) 962-4065.
Croton Point Park juts our into the Hudson River and offers picnicking, hiking and fishing for the standard parking fees for state parks. (914) 271-3293.
Bear Mountain State Park and the West Point Military Academy are across the Hudson River for tours and picnicking.
Tarrytown, south of the Retreat, offers "Lyndhurst", and 1838 Gothic Revival Style mansion designed by Alexander Jackson Davis (tours; admission, (914) 631-4481), "Sunnyside", the home of Washington Irving, and 1835 Romantic/Dutch Colonial Revival style home (Tours and film by admission, (914) 631-2800), and the Tarrytown Historical Museum (914) 631-8374.
A complete brochure on historical Westchester may be obtained form the Office of Cultural Affairs & Tourism by calling (914) CULTURE.
Gift and Bequests
The Major Edward Bowes Memorial Retreat, Inc. is a Not-For-Profit Membership Corporation in the State of New York (1939), welcoming gifts and bequests that will continue to serve the Retreat on behalf of local churches, Christian student groups and young people, befitting the original gift of the property by Major Bowes.
To make reservations
Write deposit checks to: "Major Bowes Retreat Center"
Either fill out the on-line reservation form
print out the form and mail in with your deposit to:
Major Bowes Retreat Center
9 Allapartus Road
Ossining, NY 10562
For more information or to check for available dates, call the Retreat Registrar at 914-923-1528, or send email to the Registrar.