How do two weeks jam packed with historic houses and museums sound? If you can enthusiastically answer yes, then you should consider attending one of the Victorian Society in America’s summer programs. The deadline for summer 2019 has passed, but I highly encourage anyone passionate about historical architecture to consider applying in the future.
Only an artist could dream up a house like Olana, the Victorian Middle Eastern-style home of Hudson River School painter Frederic Church. The artistic oasis overlooks the Hudson River and it’s easy to see what drew Frederic Church to the landscape all those years ago. Today, visitors flock to the site to marvel at both the landscape and what lies within Olana’s beautiful archways.
Among the many historic houses dotting New York’s Hudson Valley, Staatsburgh State Historic Site is a must-see. Otherwise known as the Mills Mansion, this Gilded Age beauty was the home of financier and philanthropist Ogden Mills and his wife Ruth Livingston Mills. Originally a Greek Revival house, it was expanded and enhanced in the Beaux-Arts style in the 1890s.
If you’re ever lucky enough to go historic house hopping in Delaware, Rockwood Mansion would be a nice addition to your list. That is, if you’re in the mood for strolling the surrounding park grounds and admiring the architecture. To be brutally honest, this house museum is best appreciated from the outside…
Delaware’s Brandywine Valley is home to many beautiful historic houses. Dare I say that, among these many fine structures, the grandeur of Nemours Mansion & Gardens rivals them all (even the nearby Winterthur Museum). Having toured both, Nemours left me more in awe. I went on a humid Saturday in July and that afternoon’s downpour added a magical glisten to the facade and grounds.
Every October Cape May, NJ hosts “Victorian Weekend,” which promises to be a sort of portal to the past. While visitors can admire the quaint Victorian houses anytime of the year, this particular weekend has an itinerary full of murder mystery dinners, a fashion show, croquet, parlor games, and thematic walking tours.
A near ghost town awaits your visit in the Jersey Shore’s north end. Here in Sandy Hook, among New Jersey’s finest beaches and hiking trails, lies a cluster of historic structures that have very much weathered the sands of time.
Nestled in the New Brighton neighborhood of Staten Island are a small number of quaint, Victorian cottages, vestiges of one of America’s earliest suburban developments. Eleven of the original houses still stand. One beautiful Saturday in September I did a walking tour with Victorian Society in America and got to see these beautiful houses in person. I even got to tour three of them!
Singer Castle on Dark Island of the Thousand Islands is a marvel straight out of a storybook. Literally! The architect, Ernest Flagg (1857-1947), based his design around the medieval castle depicted in Sir Walter Scott’s 1832 novel Woodstock.