Immediately south of downtown Poughkeepsie  is Locust Grove (370 South Rd./Rte. 9, 845/454-4500, www.morsehistoricsite.org , 10 a.m.–5 p.m. May–Nov., last tour at 3 p.m., adults $7, seniors $5, children under 12 $3), a romantic octagonal villa that was once the summer home of artist-scientist-philosopher Samuel Morse, inventor of the telegraph.
Morse bought his home in 1847 when he was already a widower in his fifties. With the help of renowned landscape architect Alexander Jackson Davis, he transformed it into a Tuscan-styled estate with a four-story tower, skylit billiard room, and extensive gardens.
Relatively new to the estate is a big visitors center, complete with an orientation video, a collection of telegraph equipment and other Morse inventions, and an art gallery showcasing paintings by Morse, John James Audubon, and other contemporaries of the inventor.