Naumkeag, perched above the village of Stockbridge, was the summer estate of the Choate family who began summering in Berkshire County in the 1870s. Designed by McKim, Mead & White in 1885, this 44 room, shingle-style house is filled with original furniture, ceramics, and artwork collected from America, Europe, and the Far East. Joseph Hodges Choate (1832-1917) was a prominent New York attorney. Between 1899 and 1905, he served in England as U.S. Ambassador to the Court of St. James. His wife Caroline Sterling Choate was an artist and mother of five children. Their second daughter, Mabel Choate, inherited the property in 1929.
Naumkeag is famous for its eight acres of terraced gardens and landscaped grounds surrounded by forty acres of woodland, meadow, and pasture that stretch to the Housatonic River Valley. The gardens and landscaped grounds, first designed in the late 1880s by Nathan Barrett, were transformed and expanded between 1926 and 1956 by Mabel Choate and landscape architect Fletcher Steele. Separate garden "rooms" include the Afternoon Garden, Tree Peony Terrace, Rose Garden, Evergreen Garden, Chinese Garden, and Linden Walk. Perhaps the most famous feature of the landscape is Steele's 1938 Blue Steps, a series of deep blue fountain pools flanked by four flights of stairs climbing up a gentle hillside and overhung by birch trees.
At Naumkeag, time has stood still. Visitors will find the grounds and period rooms a brilliant reflection of the Gilded Age.
Directions: From the intersection of Routes 7 and 102 at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge center, take Pine Street north. Bear left on Prospect Hill Road .5 mile. Entrance on left.
House and gardens open: Memorial Day to Columbus Day. Daily. Hours: 10 am to 5 pm. Admission fee for non-members. Free to members of The Trustees of Reservations. Guided tours of the house. For information, call 413-298-3239.
The Trustees of Reservations is dedicated to preserving properties of exceptional scenic, historic and ecological value throughout Massachusetts. Founded in 1891, it is a non-profit conservation organization and relies for support entirely upon membership dues, admission fees and voluntary contributions. Naumkeag, one of 94 properties owned by The Trustees, is on the National Register of Historic Places. Join The Trustees and help support the management of properties like Naumkeag.
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The Trustees of Reservations