Located in Lenox, Massachusetts, in the southern part of the Berkshires, the Mount is the 1902 home of Edith and Teddy Wharton. Edith Wharton wrote over 40 novels and was the first female to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for The Age of Innocence. Wharton lived at The Mount until 1911 when she moved to Paris and spend considerable time with humanitarian work during and post World War I.
The 49 acre estate (originally 128 acres) estate includes the main house, the stable, gardens, and miles of hiking trails. The English style country house has both French and Italian inspired architectural elements and furnishings. Tours through the home and gardens are self-guided; docents are available to answer questions and placards in each room share personal stories of the Whartons and explain the period décor and furnishings.
The grounds, gardens, and Terrace Cafe are open to the public without charge. Self-guided tours of the interiors of the home require tickets. Children receive FREE admissions. Advanced reservations are required- check here for information on reserving tickets.
Guests must park, check in at the shed, and then walk 1/4 of a mile to the home. Guests with handicap placards are able to drive directly to the home and park in front.
The mansion is handicap accessible with an elevator. Strollers are not allowed in the mansion.
Restrooms are located on the first floor of the house and in the Carriage House by the parking and check in areas.
A small bookstore is located in the Carriage House and the outside space near the Carriage House has tables and chairs for picnicking.
The Terrace Café is located on the second floor overlooking the gardens and is accessible through the dining room and by the side entrance of the mansion. The Cafe sells drinks, snacks, and lunch items and guests are permitted to purchase items and picnic on the grounds.
Check here for tours and special events- including ghost tours!
Families should plan on spending one hour in the main house and another hour exploring the grounds and gardens.
10 Ways Kids Can Explore the Mount:
1. Take the Ledge Walk trail (1/4 mile) through the woods from the parking area to the main house. The Wooded Trail is also popular for walking.
2. Look for the illusion of double doors at the entrance of many rooms, including Teddy Wharton’s Den. (It gives the appearance of symmetry, but only one portion is actually a door!)
3. Attempt to count the 2,700 volume collection in Wharton’s library (many of the texts are in multiple languages, as Wharton was fluid in French, Italian, and German, in addition to English).
4. Play “I Spy” for stuffed dogs hidden throughout the mansion; Edith was given a dog as a child and had a strong affinity for dogs. Dogs are even welcome on the grounds! A pet cemetery, where she buried four of her dogs, is located near the flower garden.
5. Read about Wharton’s close friendship with President Theodore Roosevelt.
6. Figure out where Wharton did a majority of her writing (hint: it was NOT at her desk, as she was often photographed!)
7. Guess the “pecking order” of the household staff. Learn about the various jobs of the 10 household staff members and which staff members had the privilege of traveling with the Whartons and who had to stay home.
8. Check out the old typewriters in the Scullery, used by Wharton.
9. See which of the various kitchen tools found in the Wharton’s kitchen are also located in your kitchen- Compare the 1905 stove to the one in your home!
10. Run UNDER the “Lime Walk” of pleached linden trees that connect the Italian Garden to the French Flower Garden. Enjoy exploring the various gardens throughout the property.
For more family fun in the Berkshires, check out our adventures at nearby Hancock Shaker Village, Berkshire Botanical Garden, and Naumkeag. And follow along on our adventures on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Disclosure: My family was given a media pass to The Mount. All opinions expressed are my own.