GUEST APPEARANCE: Sonnenberg exec thanks community | Canandaigua

The trustees, staff and volunteers of Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion State Historic Park would like to thank all members of the greater Canandaigua community for their support during the 2021 garden season. We had over 33,520 visitors last season, that’s more than 20,000 more than in 2020. Our nonprofit community has been able to continue to function thanks to the many contributions of funds, time and energy from our local citizens.

Our partnership with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation continues to be one of the best in New York State, as the 49-year-old nonprofit community continues to operate and maintain the estate’s historic buildings and gardens. Sonnenberg Gardens is not funded by the NYS Park system and raises funds annually to open the gates, plant the gardens, open the historic house museum, and maintain and improve the site to ensure its future. We have been able to apply for NYS Community Matching Fund Grants and have received $1 million from those grants and raised $333,332 through our community donations over the past 2½ seasons. This has helped us with improvements and restoration work which has enabled us to carry out many repairs and now implement the use of the 3.2 acre army reserve property at the corner southwest of the original Thompson estate.

In 2021, our efforts in restoration projects focused on the mansion’s fountains and porches in 2021 and extensive work on a new admission entrance and road off Gibson Street with paved parking. In 2022, our attention will focus on phase two of the waterway project, the construction of a pump station at the Upper Reflection Pond to utilize our environmentally friendly sustainable water source from our two ponds. We will also be launching our crowdfunding campaign to begin our community funding of a drop-in and education center with a cafe, gift and wine shop. We all look forward to the end of the pandemic and to being able to enjoy all that the Finger Lakes region has to offer, and we look forward to being an outstanding attraction in cultural heritage tourism.

We are also grateful to Sonnenberg Gardens for how the community has come together to help us endure the past two years with limited earning opportunities. Last year, donations, memberships and grants helped jump-start our recovery. Please continue to help us by remembering us when this year’s membership is renewed; do so happily, knowing that you are helping us manage this historic property for generations to come. Not a member? We need you! Memberships are the cornerstone upon which we can accomplish many wonderful things for our beloved Sonnenberg. Don’t forget to come visit us next gardening season. When you receive visitors, invite them. When planning a party, consider using our facilities.

Please also consider volunteering your time and talents to help us care for and tell the story of the Thompson Estate in 2022. We have over 50 acres of gardens and 20 acres of arboretum, a historic home and 17 historic buildings to maintain as well as numerous private and public events. This season, signing up to help us is on our newly updated website at

On May 7 we are having an I Love Your Park day and at noon we will have a live registration hour at our Carriage House. Please come and help us that day and also throughout the season as a volunteer at Sonnenberg Gardens, a wonderful and rewarding community project.

The Board of Directors, staff and all of our volunteers and members are to be commended for their stewardship of this community treasure and historic Thompson property for over 49 years. Our offices are open year-round at our new address of 250 Gibson St., so please contact us at (585) 394-4922 or contact me at [email protected] to see how you can help us. help this gardening season.

David Hutchings is the executive director of Sonnenberg.