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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Road Trip East: The Mount

Last summer I read Edith Wharton's "Ethan Frome" (not exactly a great beach book!). The sparse landscape of the western Massachusetts countryside, cold and bleak, reminded me a bit of the Shaker Village in Hancock that I visited two years ago.


Unfortunately when we visit Massachusetts, it's in the winter and Wharton's home, "The Mount," doesn't open for visitors until May. But this time, although the home itself wasn't open, the grounds were greenish and walkable, so Rick and I made a stop, just to look outside and walk through the garden area.


Located in Lenox, Massachusetts in the Berkshires, the Whartons lived at the Mount for nine years in the early 1900s. The grounds are extensive and the house is on a high hill, imposing and overlooking a grand view.


There is much stone work in the grand steps leading up to the terrace, the columns on the terrace's cement railing and in the Italian walled garden.

             

I also was very fond of the cupola with its weathervane.

                   

In season (or out, for that matter!), one can walk through the Italian walled garden, a rock garden and flower garden. Judging from the trees flanking the walkway, it is quite formal.



The Mount's informative website explains that Wharton herself designed the Mount based on principles in the book she co-wrote with Ogden Codman Jr. called "The Decoration of Houses." She also designed the three acres of formal gardens around the house.


The back of the building, which is what one sees when driving up, is three stories. It is built into a hill so the front (or terrace side) has two stories. With the grand, wide terrace it is tremendously imposing!



From the terrace one can peek into some of the rooms. While we couldn't venture inside, it was clear that they were simply beautiful, elegant and gracefully laid out and appointed.


I was fond of the shell pink and white in this room. And, if you look above through the doorway, you'll see the intricate iron railing leading up the steps.

                           

And of course, books were artfully placed throughout the rooms we could see. This must be the library!


Although there were no blooms, it was a beautiful setting in which to wander -- The Mount keeps the grounds open off season. One can only imagine how lovely it is when the flowers and trees are in full bloom.


Thanks for joining me on this off-season tour of a spot I know is probably amazing once spring hits! For more on The Mount, check out their website HERE.


You can also learn more about Edith Wharton (and her sometimes twisted tales!) HERE. (And might I recommend that you don't select "Ethan Frome" as your "starter book." It may be a classic but it's dark, dark, dark!)


This post is linked to Thoughts of Home on Thursday, this week at "White Spray Paint." (Well, it was Edith's home!) Visit them for other fun links!

And on a completely unrelated note, I am currently contributing to a wonderful new online magazine, Modern Creative Life. Check out my article "What's Next" HERE.

23 comments:

Joanne Huffman said...

Edith did not write books full of mirth (pardon the almost pun). I recently reread Ethan Frome; she's really good at despair. The house looks lovely, though. As always, great photos.

Barb said...

I had no idea Edith Wharton was so wealthy. The house and grounds are elegant. Thanks for the tour.

Joyful said...

Beautiful grounds and the peek you got inside was lovely too!

Marilyn Miller said...

I love seeing her home. It is huge! The grounds are amazing. I had never heard of her (I led a sheltered life when I was young) until we stayed at a hotel on the Oregon coast that decorates each room for an author. We stayed in the Edith Wharton room; so it peaked my curiosity to learn more about her.

Sheila da Silva said...

How beautiful. I'm not a fan of big houses, but big gardens...yes please!! I love the stone built features. We passed this house one year when we were on a road trip, but a visit wasn't possible at that time. One of these years I'll be back!

Victoria Zigler said...

It's great you were able to go for a bit of a wander around the grounds, and get a little bit of a peek inside, though a shame you weren't able to be there when everything is in bloom and you can go inside for a proper look around.

The fact you're contributing articles to the magazine is great too! :)

The French Hutch said...

The grounds alone is worth the trip and seeing the home from the outside a treat. I'm sure the interior is amazing after peeking in the window. I can only imagine how amazing the entrance hall is with that staircase! Thanks for the tour, and yes, dark! I'm off to visit Modern Creative Life.
Have a sweet day Jeanie……...

Jemma@athomewithjemma said...

I am always mesmerized by stone work and marvel at how difficult it must have been to create with such primitive tools, nothing like what we have today. Just cannot imagine it.
The setting and grounds are breathtaking, especially with the blue sky and massive trees surrounding the Wharton home.
Jemma

gigihawaii said...

I love the walls in each room. Very elegant.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Wow, that property is amazing. I am glad you were able to peak through some windows and get a feel for what the interior looked like. The grounds look beautiful, even in the off-season! I visited Versailles in February so it was off-season and not much was growing but it was still beautiful and very nice to visit during an off-peak time as there were not many people around!

I hope you get a chance to see Wharton's property during it's prime season some day!

Shelia said...

Hi Jeanie! Oh, this was a wonderful post and guess what? Hubby and I are in Stockbridge right at this moment and are staying at the Red Lion Inn for our anniversary. We'll have to go over and check this out! It looks amazing! Wish you were here now, you and your hubby could have dinner with us.
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

shoreacres said...

It's good of them to keep the grounds open year round. There are some places I've heard of in the northeast that don't, just because of the complications of keeping roads open through snowstorms and such. It is a lovely place, and I'm glad you were able to get some photos of the interior.

I confess I'm no fan of formal gardens. They seem so stiff and artificial to me, although of course the plants can be beautiful. It's just that box hedges leave me feeling boxed in, somehow. No matter -- there's something for everyone, and the formal garden people can enjoy them to their hearts' content!

Stacey said...

And I'm so glad you are planning to link this tomorrow. :) You took us on a beautiful tour. Love the gardens!

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Wow. You know, we lived in Mass. for 11 years and never made it to the Berkshires; we spent so much time traveling the coast but this is one beautiful spot. You were fortunate to be able to walk outside! I think most of us who experience cold winters were given a break from such extremes this year! GORGEOUS place, and I love your photos, especially the one with the white chest in the background and the sun coming in from the right.....wow.

Arti said...

I'm glad you got a chance to see The Mount even just on the outside. Do go back in May and make sure you take both tours: the inside and the gardens. These pictures bring back fond memories.

Tracy said...

WOW---be still my heart! I've always wanted to see Edith Wharton's grand home! Just seeing the grounds alone--what an experience!! I've long enjoyed Wharton's novels, and as a teenage was particularly enthralled in them... *sigh*... I had a dark streak then when it came to literature... LOL! And Wharton did sad really well! LOVE that pale pink & white room--so feminine! FUN to see this, Jeanie, and just loving catching up with you and your travels! Happy Easter ((HUGS))

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

What an impressive home and gardens. I was taken by the architecture that dominated the home. I enjoyed how you explained everything in such perfect detail and complimented everything with beautiful photos. I felt like I was there with you as you walked the grounds and peeked into the windows. I even imagined venturing up that ornate staircase, too. What a beautiful trip you are on.

Happy Easter to you two in case I don't get back before then.

Stacey said...

Happy Thoughts of Home on Thursday and thank you so much for sharing.

Happy, happy Easter. :)

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Ms. Whartons home is on my bucket list. Thank you for linking up this wonderful post on Thoughts of Home on Thursday. May you have a glorious Easter!

Jemma@athomewithjemma said...

Good Morning Jeanie,

I love this post!
It is so interesting and hauntingly beautiful with it's gardens and rich history.
I am so very happy that you shared this with us at Thoughts Of Home On Thursday.
I am wishing you a beautiful and blessed Easter,
Jemma

Lynne said...

Beautiful photos to the visit of The Mount . . .
and the off season peeks . . .
And now . . . off I go to "read Jeanie" . . .

~*~Patty S said...

Thank you for the wonderful tour Jeanie!
Enjoyed it very much
oxo

Parsimonious Perfection said...

This is absolutely a beautiful tour, I want to pin every picture! Gorgeous, thank you for sharing! I am visiting you from Poofing the Pillows.

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