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.
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