Of all the historic houses I’ve seen, the Armour-Stiner Octagon House in Irvington, New York has become a new favorite. I am absolutely enamored by its bold color palette, stunning interior, and unique structure. Its preservation story is also quite heartwarming.
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.
Here I am actually talking about ghosts! But make no mistake, Ghostland by Colin Dickey is more than a compendium of ghost stories. Rather, Colin Dickey treats each of these tales as a case study for examining different types of hauntings, their origins and development. Most of all, he is interested in what these stories say about America’s relationship to its past.
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.