Now that it’s officially spring, I’d like to suggest several upcoming home and garden tours to consider attending. These are my favorites! Please remember that popular tours sell out early so it is always best to try and secure tickets early.
The Classical American Homes Preservation Trust owns four historically significant 19th century homes — two in South Carolina, one in North Carolina, and one in New York’s Dutchess County. The trust was founded by the late Wall Street investment banker Richard Hampton Jenrette, who had a passion for 18th and 19th century American architecture, and who had purchased all the properties as homes. They are notable not only for their architecture, but for their impressive collections of fine and decorative arts. Three of the homes are open on a limited basis for public tours. This past fall, I secured tickets to Edgewater, near Barrytown, in New York’s Dutchess County, and toured the property.
A couple of my favorite destinations are located in the vicinity of central/east Vermont — Simon Pearce, with two locations, and King Arthur Flour headquarters. I recently was in the area for a few days and was happy to be able to stop in.
Last Sunday, we headed out to Gardenworks Farm, in Salem, NY, to visit with our good friends and the farm’s owners, Meg and Rob Southerland, and to select our Christmas tree. It was just like old times, piling into the car with our two sons, worried about whether our younger son would feel car sick on the drive over hill and dale to get to the farm. Surprise — our “boys” are now in their mid-twenties, having returned home during the pandemic to work from our home, yet both were enthusiastic about accompanying my husband and me on our tree venture — and no one got car sick! Indeed, I had hoped to go to the farm a few days earlier, but my sons complained that their work schedules didn’t allow them to go then, and how could I even consider not including them in such a classic family tradition?
Each June, the formal gardens at Hildene, in Manchester, Vermont, overflow with an abundance of heirloom peonies. Built at the turn of the 20th century as the summer home of Robert Lincoln, the only child of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, Hildene was saved from development by local residents in the 1970s after the last descendant of the Lincoln family living there died in 1975. The Friends of Hildene purchased the estate in 1978, worked to restore the home and gardens, and then opened it to the public. Here’s a quick history of the property from the Hildene web site.
I recently managed a quick, two-night, mid-week, pre-Christmas getaway with my best friend at the historic Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Mass., in the heart of the Berkshires. The Inn is shown at the right of this 1967 illustration done for McCall’s magazine by Norman Rockwell, titled Home for Christmas (Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas). Rockwell’s own South Street home appears at the far right.
A newly-opened exhibit at the Old Fort House in Fort Edward highlights significant objects and paintings in the collection, and reveals some surprising information tied to those objects. Click here for the museum’s Web site.
“A Century of Collecting: Treasures from the Old Fort House” was researched by guest curator Jillian Mulder, who serves as curator of the Chapman Historical Museum in Glens Falls.
Tea Island, Lake George, circa 1882-1892. Helena Dewey Little
“I’m hoping that people recognize that Fort Edward has this terrific collection,” says Ms. Mulder. “Go see it. Take some pride in it. It’s worth valuing.”
The Victorian, Mansard-roofed Fuller House, is where guests check in and have their meals. There is also lodging on the upper floors.
Nestled along the southeastern shore of Lake George, in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, is the oldest continuously operating women’s retreat center in the United States. Wiawaka Center for Women was founded in 1903, by Mary Wiltsie Fuller (1862-1943), the daughter of an industrialist from Troy, New York, as a place for the female workers in the textile factories and laundries of Troy and nearby Cohoes, to enjoy an affordable summer respite.
The Silk Road may have begun in China, but many people say the western terminus was the city of Macclesfield, in Cheshire, in northwest England. Macclesfield is known for once being the world’s largest producer of finished silk products. In the 1830s, 71 silk mills operated in this market town.
Today, you can walk through Paradise Mill, a working museum where visitors can see original Jacquard looms demonstrated by museum staff. Next to Paradise Mill is the Silk Museum, which presents an extensive exhibit on the history of silk weaving and printing, including a display of a number of looms.
Ever since the Native Americans discovered the naturally carbonated spring water that gave Saratoga Springs, New York, its name, people have been drawn to the waters there for bathing and drinking. The Roosevelt Baths are the only mineral baths remaining in use in the park, and the only public mineral baths in the Northeastern United States. Going there to soak in the effervescent waters in one of the original cast iron tubs is an experience not to be missed.
The Roosevelt Bathhouse, Saratoga Spa State Park, in the summer.