Edith Wharton’s graceful, 1902 mansion, The Mount, is a treasure trove of elegant details, period furnishings, fine art, and exquisite gardens. The famous poet and author was instrumental in the estate’s design and even wrote a book about the process. Perhaps best of all, the historic house is now a museum – and just 5 minutes from our Berkshires bed and breakfast!
The Berkshires are home to many beautiful and historic mansions. “Berkshire Cottages” built during America’s “Gilded Age,” a period of rapid economic growth that occurred around 1870 and 1900.
While many of these mansions are still gorgeous and worth your time, few have had the advantage that The Mount has. Namely, that someone so involved in the design wrote a book about the process and took so many pictures. Details like these are extremely useful to latter-day renovators who are restoring your home.
Consequently, The Mount is one of the most – if not the most – authentic, restored Gilded Age cottages around.
A Little History
Edith Wharton (1832-1937) was an American writer and designer. Some of her more famous titles include “Ethan Frome,” “The House of Mirth,” and “The Age of Innocence,” which won her a Pulitzer-prize.
Wharton purchased the Lenox acreage in 1901. Then she set about helping to design what was to be her home and writer’s retreat. She detailed the process in “The Decoration of Houses,” which was co-authored by architect Ogden Codman.
Edith only enjoyed her new home for 12 years. When her marriage fell apart, she divorced her husband, sold The Mount, and moved to France.
The property continued as a private residence for many years. Then it saw use as a girl’s dormitory and later, the headquarters of a theater group. In the 1990’s, the mansion was rescued and restored for use as cultural center and historic house museum.
As noted earlier, the restoration benefited greatly from the details in Wharton’s “The Decoration of Houses” book. Even the gardens contain the same plants, in the same places, as the originals did.
Visiting The Mount
Visitors to The Mount will experience the beauty and splendor of Edith Wharton’s beloved country estate. Guided tours and interpretive exhibits throughout the house reveal the details of Wharton’s life here, and the lives of her servants.
Although Edith only lived here for a short period of time, it was a productive time and one she cherished in later years. The estate was imbued with her creative spirit during its construction and still evokes it in every detail. Even her original library collection, which she took abroad, has been returned, intact, to the library shelves.
Beyond touring the grounds, The Mount hosts a variety special events throughout the year. Performances, lectures, outdoor sculpture shows, and more.
The Mount is located at 2 Plunkett Street, Lenox, MA 01240, less than 5 minutes drive from The Inn at Stockbridge.
The House is open Wednesday through Monday, 10am to 5pm, May through October. November through February, the House is open on weekends, 10:45am to 4:30pm. The Gardens are open from 10am to 5pm, May to February.
Visit www.edithwharton.org for more information. You can also find The Mount on Facebook.
Did you know our Berkshires inn has a special room designed as an ode to Edith Wharton?
With rich floral decor, a whirlpool tub and private deck, this suite is the perfect place to stay for a romantic getaway. This room was designed as an ode to Edith Wharton, the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for fiction. She lived in Lenox at The Mount estate for 10 years to focus on her writing away from city life. Escape to this romantic suite away from the hustle and bustle as well. Step out onto the private deck, relax in the comfortable sitting area in front of the fireplace, or settle into the king-sized bed with comfortable sheets and fluffy pillows. 331 sq. ft. of romantic luxury await.
Looking to add some culture and history to your Berkshires vacation? Visit the historical home, The Mount, Edith Wharton’s gorgeous estate in Lenox.