Warner Castle and the Sunken Garden are located on the corner of Mt. Hope Ave. and Reservoir Ave. and are part of Highland Park. If you are starting near Lamberton Conservatory, head down Reservoir Ave., crossing South Ave. toward Mt. Hope Ave. Stroll around to the back of the castle and down the lawn, and there you will find the Sunken Garden. It is the perfect escape from the crowds at the Lilac Festival!
A popular place for solitude
Often, there are photographers taking wedding and family photos, like anywhere in Highland Park. If you can get there when no one else is about, it’s a peaceful retreat, beautiful anytime of the year.
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The ability to step inside the castle is uncertain at the moment. Until late 2017, the castle was home to the Rochester Civic Garden Center, and was open for self-guided tours. It seems repairs need to be made to the structure in 2018. When I hear new information, this will be updated.
Check out a nice 360° view at BuffaloVR, saying “The Warner Castle Sunken Garden [is] a significant part of the landscape heritage of Rochester.”
More information about the Warner Castle Sunken Garden
- Cost: Free
- Located in the City of Rochester (get directions)
- More information: rcgc.org/about-warner-castle
Beyond the Sunken Garden
Behind the garden, you’ll find Highland Park Bowl–an outdoor amphitheater used for summertime concerts, Shakespeare in the Park, and Movies in the Park.
You can see the Highland Bowl stage in the photograph below through the trees behind the Sunken Garden.
You’ll find Ellwanger Garden after a short, seven-minute walk down Mt. Hope Ave. It is privately owned by the bed & breakfast that current operates in the Ellwanger Estate. The garden is maintained, however, by the Landmark Society who opens it to the public during the Lilac Fest and on Tuesday nights throughout the summer months.
Warner Castle and the Sunken Garden are also right across the street from Mount Hope Cemetery. The cemetery offers tours throughout the non-winter months to share tales of the people, geology, and trees. Fascinating if you have the chance!