Earlier this year, I drove to Lenox, Massachusets to visit Edith Wharton's estate. Driving through the Berkshires is always a pleasure. I had never been to The Mount before and it was magnificent. It is just off of Route 7, on a little side street.
From the entrance, one can only see the stable and a small house.
It is not until you walk down a wooded pathway for about a half mile that you see the Mount gradually appear.
The path is very serene, but I wouldn't suggest taking a leisurely stroll at sunset. The mosquitos are carnivorous and you will be their prey! As I walked further up the path, I saw the Mount! I had envisioned something quite diferent from what I initially saw.
This is the actual front of the Mount, although most people think the garden side of the house is the front. As I walked through the whitewashed stone wall, I could see a garden in the distance. Inside the stone wall is a courtyard, which would have been where carraiges parked. The house is a brick structure, painted white. Although the house was built on a grand scale, the front door is quite plain with straight lines.
When I entered the house, I was fascinated with the spaces in which Edith Wharton lived and wrote. Her first book, The Decoration of Houses, which was co-written with Odgen Codman Jr., was about architectural design. The Mount was built 5 years after the book was published. One can imagine, quite correctly, that the Mount is a masterpiece of design.
Edith Wharton collected the finest tapestries from around the world, to adorn the walls. One example is in the parlor:
One of my favorite rooms at the Mount is the parlor, where the tapestry above is located. Edith Wharton did some of her writing in this room, and I imagine she entertained guests here, also.
The rooms are adjoined by a hallway (on each floor) called a "gallery" which feature sculptures on pedestals. Artwork also adorns the walls. Here is a photo of one of the sculptures on a pedestal in the first floor gallery.
This house is grand and opulent, so it surprised me to see that Edith's bathroom is quite small and plain. I'm sure that at some point there was a vanity in between the sconces. The view out the window overlooks the landscaped gardens.
The above picture was taken at night.
Below is a picture taken the next day. You can see the landscape outside the window.
The gardens outside of the Mount are reminiscent of the ornamental gardens of 18th century England. Here are some photos of the landscape architecture and gardens at the Mount:
These photos are beautiful, but they can't capture the scents and sounds. I felt very peaceful when walking the grounds. Whatever may have been troubling me in the "real" world escaped my mind. While I was at the Mount, I felt removed from the world and all its problems. That is why I describe the grounds and the pathway leading up to the house as serene.
As the sun was setting, I took a walk down to the Wharton's pet cemetery. Yes, they cherished their dogs and buried them in graves, with gravestones.
Miza is in the center of the photo. Miza's grave is the one above this picture.
Edith Wharton's husband was also a dog lover. His favorite dog is said to have been "Jules." Below is a photo of Teddy and Jule on a horse.
... and here is a picture of Jules's grave
I will end this post by showing a photo of the Mount, taken at night. It has quite a different feel at night. Quite spooky, actually!
The time that I spent at the Mount was very enjoyable. I learned a lot about Edith Wharton and her relationships with husband Teddy Wharton and their good friend, Henry James. I will add a separate post about her life and works.