On Saturday my friend Emily and I drove up to Lenox, MA for an evening storytelling event at Edith Wharton’s house, The Mount.* We planned to arrive a couple hours prior to the event to visit the house and have dinner in town. I had to work earlier in the day and we arrived at The Mount only fifteen minutes before closing time.
The Mount viewed from the flower garden.
Still in bloom.
That’s my friend, Emily, at the foot of the steps leading up to the east facade of the house. Although the house closed promptly at 5pm, the gardens remained open for visitors to enjoy.
This manicured limestone walk runs parallel to the east side of the house. At one end is the flower garden, which is more French and English in design, and at the other end is a walled Italianate garden that is much more rustic.
A picture taken just outside the Italianate garden, looking back at The Mount. I’m standing next to one of the columns. Can you see me?
The entrance or forecourt where carriages and later automobiles dropped off guests or waited to whisk Edith away for a drive in the country.
Forecourt wall detail.
The sign reads: “Edith Wharton at The Mount. ‘We have to make things beautiful; they do not grow so of themselves,’ Edith Wharton, The Decoration of Houses, 1897. Edith Wharton’s short decade at The Mount (1901-1911) was a period of tremendous change, self-discovery, and personal turmoil. Amidst it all, she built a home, a persona, and a world rooted in beauty and structure. Always the writer, Wharton transformed even her innermost emotions into words that continue to be as fresh and compelling today as when first written.”
From the staircase looking toward the gallery.
Edith Wharton’s bed, from which she did much of her writing. It was here that she wrote The House of Mirth, one of my all time favorite novels.
The view from Edith Wharton’s bedroom.
Edith and her husband Teddy often traveled with their dogs. Here’s one of their carriers.
The dinning room table set for guests. The sign reads: The Inner Circle: Friends & Family: Edith Wharton liked her tables round, her lights low, and the conversation sparkling. The dogs were always invited.
Although we did see Wharton’s famed library, the lights were already off so I didn’t attempt a photograph. I am tantalized, however, by the idea of a private tour of Wharton’s library.
A quick note of thanks to the kind docent who showed much patience with us as we dashed from room to room trying to squeeze in just a few more sights as she was trying to do her job and close up the house for the night.
I look forward to going back for an official tour of The Mount and spending some time soaking up the beauty and ambiance of this historic home and gardens. Tours are conducted throughout the day through October 31st. My next visit may have to wait until the spring when the house opens again in May.
Until you can schedule your own visit, or perhaps to refresh memories of your last visit, enjoy this introductory video to The Mount and visit edithwharton.org for more information about Edith Wharton’s house, life, and writing.
The Mount 2 Plunkett Street Lenox, Massachusetts 01240-0974 413-551-5111
*The storytelling event was a Speak Up event by Matthew & Elysha Dicks held at The Mount’s stables.