Edith Wharton’s historic home still stands as a popular tourist destination in Massachusetts. The Mount Lenox MA is an autobiographical house featuring the original gardens, architecture, and interior design that Wharton designed in the early 20th century. The 113-acre property was purchased in 1901 and became a fostering environment for writer Wharton, who poured her heart and soul into the house and surrounding landscape to create an atmosphere that would inspire her literature. Now, the estate and gardens serve as a wedding venue, host for a writer-in-residence program, and exhibition for guided touring. Here are just a few reasons that The Mount Lenox MA should be on your radar.
The estate’s ties to author Edith Wharton is an incredible reason alone to visit The Mount Lenox MA. Not only was this her home for 10 years during her writing career, but the estate was actually designed based on the principles outlined in one of her influential novels, The Decoration of Houses (1897). The classical revival home represents the only full expression that is available of Wharton’s architectural ideals.
Main House Design
The main house boasts quite a stunning architectural design. Right when you walk in, you will note the incredible design-work, such as the entrance hall, which serves as an extension of the landscape. It was imagined as a grotto or artificial cave with plaster-work to show mossy walls and dripping water. A marble fountain with a bronze statue is a central feature in the forecourt, while the gallery on the main floor displays a collection of Wharton’s travel findings, such as vases, busts, statues, and antique furniture. Wharton’s library is another stunning room with oak paneling and tapestry work as well as the many books lining the space. The bedroom floor then features a series of living and sleeping spaces that rival estates of the time period. You will be moved by all the beautiful architecture you will come across during your tour.
National Historic Landmark
Not only is The Mount Lenox MA an architectural gem, but it has been designated as a U.S. National Historic Landmark. It is the only U.S. monument dedicated to Edith Wharton, and it is one of the mere 5% of National Historic Landmarks dedicated to women. This alone makes it a remarkable place to visit.
The gardens at The Mount Lenox MA are a marvel of their own. The grounds feature an Italian walled garden, formal flower garden, rock garden, lime walk, and grass terraces. Wharton’s authority on European landscape design and passion for gardening helped develop this elegant series of gardens that accentuate the natural landscape. A four-year restoration took place to plant over 5,000 trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants that would mirror the original grounds.
The Terrace Cafe at The Mount Lenox MA opens daily at 11 am and serves beverages and light fare such as sandwiches, salads, desserts, wine, beer, lemonade, and iced tea until 4:30 pm. This is a great stop after touring the gardens and estate and working up an appetite!
The Mount Lenox MA to Brook Farm Inn
After marveling at magnificent The Mount Lenox MA, retreat to Brook Farm Inn in the heart of the Berkshires. The cozy atmosphere and home-away-from-home touches will provide a wonderful getaway in Lenox. For more to do in the Berkshires, download our free vacation guide today!