Hernshead is a miniature woodland landscape overlooking the Lake. The name is derived from the shape of the prominent bedrock outcrop that punctuates the end of this small peninsula. To Olmsted and Vaux, its shape resembled the head of a heron (hern, in its British translation). Olmsted lavished horticultural attention on this site, first with a grove of London plane trees and then with a variety of herbaceous plants and shrubs. Spring is Hernshead's season with blooming azaleas, Virginia bluebells, Dutchman's breeches, and daffodils. Violets add diminutive dots of color amid the unfurling fern fronds. Most striking of all, in late June, is the copse of flowering white mountain laurel — a rare sight in Central Park.
A narrow pathway through the woods ends at a filigreed cast iron structure called the Ladies Pavilion. Located earlier at Columbus Circle on the site of the Maine Monument to serve as a bus shelter, it was moved to Hernshead some time after 1912. Like many of the Victorian vintage structures in the Park, it has elaborate ornamental detailing requiring consistent maintenance; the good news is that restoration is in the works with plans for ongoing care. The Ladies Pavilion provides the perfect setting for admiring the vista of the Lake.
Pictures of Hernshead
The Ladies Pavilion provides the perfect setting for admiring the vista of the Lake. 1 May 2003.