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18 of America’s Best Historic Homes to Visit

By Elizabeth Stamp

ornate mansion next to lawn

America’s historic houses are a key part of the country’s heritage. Stepping inside one of these well-preserved homes gives visitors a glimpse of architectural achievements, as well as the lifestyles and traditions of the past. Whether you’re a fan of the founding fathers, a literature buff, or a connoisseur of the modernist masters, there are plenty of pedigreed properties to visit across the country. From 18th-century plantations on the East Coast to 20th-century mansions owned by California’s elite, America’s historic homes offer a look at the past while showcasing art, artifacts, and gardens that are as spectacular as the homes they accompany. They also provide an intimate look at the lives of their notable owners, including Edith Wharton, Frederic Edwin Church, Harriet Tubman, and Philip Johnson. Discover some of the best historic homes in the United States and start planning a trip back in time.

a brick house with trees

Harriet Tubman National Historical Park (Auburn, New York)

In the late 1850s, abolitionist Harriet Tubman purchased property in Auburn, New York, from Senator William Seward and moved there with her parents from Canada, where they had been living since 1851. She returned to the home following the Civil War, and in 1896 she purchased 25 acres of adjacent land to create the Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged. She deeded the property to the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in 1903. Today, her residence, the home for the aged, and the Thompson AME Zion Church make up the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park, which was established in 2017.

ornate mansion next to lawn

Biltmore (Asheville, North Carolina)

Known as America’s largest home, Biltmore House boasts 250 rooms and the square footage of four football fields. The massive manse was built by George Vanderbilt, in collaboration with architect Richard Morris Hunt and landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, over a period of six years. The 8,000-acre estate now includes a winery and a village with a hotel, shops, and restaurants.

aerial view of a home near the water

The Breakers (Newport, Rhode Island)

The Italian Renaissance–style villa was the summer home of Cornelius Vanderbilt II and his family and the grandest of the Gilded Age summer homes in Newport. Designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt to replace an existing wood structure, the 70-room, four-story home was decorated by Ogden Codman, Jr. and completed in 1895. Today the Breakers is owned by the Preservation Society of Newport County, which offers access to a number of historic homes in the area, including another Hunt design, Marble House, which was built for Vanderbilt’s brother.

exterior of a home with trees nearby

The Oaks (Tuskegee, Alabama)

Completed in 1900, the Oaks was the home of educator and author Booker T. Washington at the Tuskegee Institute , where he served as the first president. The Queen Anne Revival–style house was built by students and local craftsmen and was the first residence in Macon County to be equipped with electricity and steam heating. In 1974, Congress established the Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site, which includes the Oaks, the George Washington Carver Museum, and the university grounds.

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aerial view of a castle next to forrest

Hearst Castle (San Simeon, California)

Created by architect Julia Morgan and newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, the 165-room estate overlooking the California town of San Simeon showcases a magnificent collection of art and antiquities, as well as 123 acres of terraces, gardens, and pools, including the iconic Neptune Pool. The property is now a house museum and a California State Park where visitors can explore different aspects of Hearst Castle’s history, from its art and architecture to its heyday as a retreat for Hollywood’s biggest names.

ivy outside of a brownstone home

Langston Hughes House (New York)

The top floor of the Italianate brownstone on East 127th Street in Manhattan’s Harlem neighborhood was home to the acclaimed poet, playwright, and novelist Langston Hughes for the last 20 years of his life. The 1869 building was where the Harlem Renaissance leader wrote I Wonder As I Wander and Montage of a Dream Deferred. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, and from 2016 to 2019 it was home to the I, Too Arts Collective .

people sitting near an ornate home

The Mount (Lenox, Massachusetts)

Author Edith Wharton took inspiration from Belton House in England, as well as French and Italian influences, when designing the house and grounds at the Mount , which was built with architects Ogden Codman, Jr., her coauthor of the book The Decoration of Houses , and Francis L.V. Hoppin. Wharton lived and worked there for 10 years before she and her husband, Teddy, sold the property in 1911. The Mount was declared a National Historic landmark in 1971 and is now a cultural center dedicated to Wharton’s life and work.

brick home next to lawn

Monticello (Charlottesville, Virginia)

Thomas Jefferson began construction on his plantation, Monticello , in 1769 and found inspiration in the work of Andrea Palladio, as well as in ancient and Renaissance architecture. He later enlarged and remodeled the house beginning in 1796. The 43-room estate was Jefferson’s home until his death in 1826. Monticello is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and museum, where visitors can view exhibitions about Jefferson, the estate, and the enslaved people who lived and worked there.

exterior of a home in a neighborhood

Martin Luther King Jr. Birth Home (Atlanta)

Built in 1895, this Queen Anne–style home on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta was later purchased by Rev. Adam Daniel Williams. Williams’s daughter Christine and her husband, Michael King, would have three children there, including Michael Jr., who would later become known as Martin Luther King Jr. The civil rights leader would spend his first 12 years in the home and after his assassination in 1968, it was restored and turned into a museum. In January of 2018, the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, which includes the house, was designated a national historic park and later that year, the house was purchased by the National Park Foundation.

exterior of a home in the woods

Gamble House (Pasadena, California)

Designed by architects Charles and Henry Greene for David and Mary Gamble, the Gamble house is one of the best examples of American Arts and Crafts architecture. The home was completed in 1908. It became a museum after it was deeded to the city of Pasadena and the University of Southern California in 1966. The home and its original furniture, which was also designed by Greene & Greene, have been beautifully conserved and the exterior was restored in the early 2000s.

exterior of an ornate home near lawn

Olana State Historic Site (Hudson, New York)

Painter Frederic Edwin Church designed his home in the Hudson River Valley on a hilltop site with the help of architect Calvert Vaux. Church was inspired by his travels, and incorporated Middle Eastern motifs (specifically Persian) alongside the Victorian architecture. The 250-acre estate is now a National Historic Landmark; the house showcases work by Church and the artist’s collection of decorative arts.

brick house with cars and trees in front

The African Meeting House (Boston)

The oldest surviving Black church in America, the African Meeting House—also known as First Independent Baptist Church and the African Baptist Church of Boston—was built in 1806 on Boston’s Becon Hill. Many well-known abolitionists spoke at the meeting house, including Frederick Douglass, Sarah Grimké, and William Lloyd Garrison, who founded the New England Anti-Slavery Society there in 1932. The building is now owned and operated by the Museum of African American History and is the final stop on the Black Heritage Trail.

exterior of a large home by the water

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens (Miami)

The waterfront villa in Miami was built by James Deering, who hired artist and interior designer Paul Chalfin to create his vacation home with the help of architect Francis Burrall Hoffman Jr. Following Deering’s death in 1925, the estate served as a private, and later public, museum. The main house showcases more than 2,500 furnishings, artwork, and objects, and visitors can also explore the 10 acres of formal gardens, as well as forests and an impressive orchid collection.

exterior of a home

Paul Laurence Dunbar House (Dayton, Ohio)

Acclaimed poet and author Paul Laurence Dunbar purchased this 1894 brick home in Dayton, Ohio, in 1904 and lived there until his death in 1906. Following the death of his mother in 1934, the house was purchased by the state, and in 1936 it was designated as the first state memorial honoring an African American. The home is open to the public and displays Dunbar’s personal belongings, including the desk where he wrote much of his work, a sword given to him by President Theodore Roosevelt, and a bicycle built by his friends Orville and Wilbur Wright.

exterior of an allglass home near trees

The Glass House (New Canaan, Connecticut)

Architect Philip Johnson’s home in Connecticut is an icon of modern architecture. The Glass House , completed in 1949, was revolutionary for its integration into the landscape and its use of materials. The 49-acre property is home to 14 structures, built between 1949 and 1995, including a sculpture gallery, a studio, and Ghost House, an architectural folly. The estate also hosts an impressive selection of 20th-century artwork collected by Johnson and his partner, curator David Whitney, including pieces by Frank Stella, Andy Warhol, and Robert Rauschenberg.

exterior of a big home next to a large lawn

Drayton Hall (Charleston, South Carolina)

Set on the Ashley River, Drayton Hall was founded in 1738 and is now the oldest unrestored plantation house in America. The house is the first example of Palladian architecture in the country and is displayed unfurnished to allow the original materials and architectural details to take center stage. Today the estate is a National Trust for Historic Preservation site, and guests can tour the house and grounds, which includes one of the country’s oldest African-American cemeteries.

garden next to a large home

Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens (Houston)

Philanthropist Ima Hogg and her brothers built the mansion in the River Oaks area of Houston between 1927 and 1928. Texas architect John F. Staub designed the house, taking inspiration from 18th-century Georgian and Spanish Creole architecture. The home’s 14 acres of gardens mix formal landscape design with natural woodlands. Hogg donated the property to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and it is now a house museum showcasing American paintings and decorative arts .

white and red home surrounded by trees

George Washington's Mount Vernon (Mount Vernon, Virginia)

George and Martha Washington’s plantation home was originally built by the president’s father in 1734. Washington expanded the house over 45 years, beginning in 1754, and transformed the one-and-a-half story house into a 21-room mansion. Many of the buildings on the property have been restored or reconstructed, such as the outbuildings where enslaved men and women worked, and a museum showcases artifacts from Washington’s life and presidency.

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The Grandest Historic Mansions to Visit Across the United States

Roxanna is a freelance writer for MarthaStewart.com.

tours of old mansions

All open to the public, you can tour the interior of these luxury establishments to admire their size and number of rooms. From state to state, these are as beautiful as they are significant in U.S. history.

Time travel may not be possible, but we can experience the next best thing by visiting historic mansions. These living museums preserve history by keeping the way of life from the era in which the former residents lived on display.

Simple curiosity is the main reason for the popularity of historic house tours. It's human nature to be curious, even nosy, about the people who live beyond those wrought iron gates, those tall white pillars, that mass of fragrant wisteria. House tours provide a healthy—and legal—outlet for our inquisitiveness while benefiting the organizations that work to keep history alive. Kitty Robinson of the Historic Charleston Foundation explains, "I think people love to see what other families have done with these historic homes to make them livable. Toddlers really do live in eighteenth century living rooms." Tours also offer rare opportunities for amateur and professional collectors , gardeners, designers, and history buffs to see what might not be found in books, magazines, or museums. "People go for inspiration," says Sandra Soule, the editor of America's Wonderful Little Hotels and Inns guidebook series.

Many of these properties had to temporarily close their doors to the public at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that some of the restrictions have eased and states are reopening to tourists, historic mansions have also begun allowing the public to visit their sites again. And these house tours can be found all over the country this summer, from Providence, Rhode Island, to Pasadena, California. Cicero once asked, "What is more agreeable than one's home?" For a vacation, maybe someone else's.

Oheka Castle in Huntington, New York

This historic mansion is also a luxury hotel, which means you enjoy a royal European experience right in New York. Oheka Castle was built in 1919 as a summer home for Otto Hermann Kahn.

Mark Twain House in Hartford, Connecticut

See where Mark Twain lived. The house is open for tours on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays but tickets should be purchased in advance. If you're not ready to travel just yet, know that it's also possible to go on a virtual tour.

George Washington's Mount Vernon in Mount Vernon, Virginia

George Washington lived in this home that was 10 times the size of most other homes in West Virginia. Currently, only the first floor is open again for tours and tickets need to be purchased ahead of time.

Fairlawn Mansion in Superior, Wisconsin

Tours are limited to 12 people per tour, but if you're able to get inside, the Fairlawn Mansion is worth a visit. A gorgeous Victorian house that was first occupied by private residents from 1890 to 1920, the property went on to become a Children's Home for 42 years. Today, it's the perfect place to learn about this region's history.

The Ringling Mansion in Sarasota, Florida

Behold the home of the famous circus leader: the mansion called Ca' d'Zan . Once the winter home of circus impresario John Ringling (the name means "John's House" in Venetian dialect), this 1920s Venetian-Gothic-style villa was the romantically crumbling backdrop for the 1998 film Great Expectations . Today, fully restored, it's a museum and a scene-stealing home, where you can stand on the bay-front terrace.

Highlands Ranch Mansion in Highlands Ranch, Colorado

See a working ranch with history in action at the Highlands Ranch Mansion . Featuring historic barns, ranch houses and more on the property, it's like walking into a Weatern fairy tale.

Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright in Mill Run, Pennsylvania

Built in 1935 by Frank Lloyd Wright, Fallingwater served as a weekend home for the couple that owned Kaufmann's Department Store. The architecture is beautiful and a sight to behold.

Bingham-Hanna Mansion and the Hay-McKinney Mansion in Cleveland, Ohio

These two mansions are part of the Cleveland History Center and are works of art. Artifacts from the early 1900s, when the homes were built, give visitors a glimpse into the past.

Prospect Place in Trinway, Ohio

This historic mansion was a stop along the Underground Railroad. George Adams lived there with his wife, and abolitionists would meet in his parlor.

Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina

In addition to a gorgeous mansion, the Biltmore Estate features 8,000 acres of gardens and grounds. George Vanderbilt's former home, the property has a whopping 250 rooms and was completed in 1895.

The Breakers in Newport, Rhode Island

The Italian Renaissance–style villa was the summer home of Cornelius Vanderbilt II and his family and the grandest of the Gilded Age summer homes in Newport. Designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt to replace an existing wood structure, the 70-room, four-story home was decorated by Ogden Codman, Jr. and completed in 1895. Today, the Breakers is owned by the Preservation Society of Newport County, which offers access to a number of historic homes in the area, including another Hunt design, Marble House, which was built for Vanderbilt's brother.

The Mount in Lenox, Massachusetts

Author Edith Wharton took inspiration from Belton House in England, as well as French and Italian influences, when designing the house and grounds at the Mount , which was built with architects Ogden Codman, Jr., her coauthor of the book The Decoration of Houses, and Francis L.V. Hoppin. Wharton lived and worked there for 10 years before she and her husband, Teddy, sold the property in 1911. The Mount was declared a National Historic landmark in 1971 and is now a cultural center dedicated to Wharton's life and work.

Bayou Bend Collection and Garden in Houston, Texas

Philanthropist Ima Hogg and her brothers built the mansion in the River Oaks area of Houston between 1927 and 1928. Texas architect John F. Staub designed the house, taking inspiration from 18th-century Georgian and Spanish Creole architecture. The home's 14 acres of gardens mix formal landscape design with natural woodlands. Hogg donated the property to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and it is now a house museum showcasing American paintings and decorative arts.

Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee

They didn't call him "The King" for nothing. More than 40 years after his death, both fans and those curious about this pop culture phenom are still flocking to Elvis Presley's Graceland home. Yes, the Jungle Room always draws a crowd, but there's more to what is now deemed Elvis Presley's Memphis at Graceland than his former living quarters. After touring the Graceland mansion, guests can also visit several adjacent museums, including those housing celebrity memorabilia from his career, favorite automobiles he owned and even his private jets named the "Lisa Marie" and "Hound Dog II." Guest quarters are also a part of the complex for those wanting an overnight experience.

Vizcaya in Miami, Florida

Built between 1914 and 1922, Vizcaya was the winter residence of industrial executive James Deering. The Miami home boasts a design meant to look like a time-worn Italianate villa complete with grottos and bridges. The surrounding gardens are based on Italian and French examples incorporating flora suited for a subtropical setting. Unlike many other historic mansions converted to museums, Vizcaya still has most of its original decor. Visitors enjoy perusing 34 decorated rooms showcasing more than 2,500 art objects collected by Deering, and furnishings that have been in the home for more than 100 years.

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12 Historic Homes You Can Tour from Your Couch

By Steph Coelho

Posted on May 4, 2020 9:05 PM EDT

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Take a Peek at History

tours of old mansions

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Thanks to technological advances, it’s now easier than ever to travel the world from the comfort of your own home. Video tours and 3-D virtual technology let you tour beautiful historic homes throughout the world, exploring every nook and cranny. Escape the confines of your four walls to delight in interiors that are steeped in history and only a click away.

Pittock Mansion

tours of old mansions

Wikimedia Commons via Tiptoety

The Pittock Mansion  in Portland, Oregon, was once home to Henry Pittock, who became publisher of The Oregonian newspaper in 1860 and went on to found a financial empire. The French Renaissance-style mansion, completed in 1914, was designed by Edward T. Foulkes, an architect who trained at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. At Pittock’s insistence, the home was packed with the latest technology, including thermostat-controlled central heating, indirect electric lighting, and a central vacuum system. Today, the 16,000-square-foot mansion serves as a museum and gallery space. While the museum is closed, visitors are welcome to explore the interior and grounds via an impressive virtual tour .

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Mount Vernon Estate

tours of old mansions

The Mount Vernon Estate, the former home of George Washington, is one of the most popular historical attractions in Virginia. While the current state of the world makes it impossible for you to wander in the footsteps of our first president, you can easily check out his estate online. The virtual tour of Mount Vernon offers panoramic views of the gardens and 360-degree views of the mansion’s interiors. Visitors can click on points of interest to learn more about the history, architecture, and decor of this national treasure. 

Anne Frank House

tours of old mansions

A variety of virtual exhibits are available for those who want to learn more about Anne Frank, her diary, and the secret annex in Amsterdam that sheltered her family, along with five other individuals, for more than two years during World War II. Online resources include YouTube video diaries, virtual tours of the secret annex, a 360-degree tour of the home where the Franks lived before they went into hiding, and more.

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Mark Twain House

tours of old mansions

If you’re itching for a bit of literary history, check out the Mark Twain House and Museum online . Explore the interior of the High Victorian Gothic home through room-by-room photos or via an immersive, richly annotated 360-degree tour. Whichever approach you choose, you’ll gain an appreciation of the great American writer and the beloved home where he spent his happiest years.

Frank Lloyd Wright Houses

tours of old mansions

Architecture aficionados can now enjoy unusual virtual access to a number of the renowned architect’s masterpieces. In response to pandemic lockdown measures, a social media project dubbed #WrightVirtualVisits launched at the beginning of April. Organizations participating in the initiative have been posting short tour videos of Wright-designed houses— 12 homes in total .

Lyndhurst Mansion

tours of old mansions

While the grounds of this Gothic Revival mansion in Tarrytown, New York, are open for socially distant visits, those who wish to see the interior can do so only virtually. Built in 1838 and expanded by its second owner, Lyndhurst had a number of occupants, including railroad magnate Jay Gould. Because the property was often used as a summer home, the estate’s collection of art and antiques has remained largely intact and is in excellent condition. Available virtual tours include an aerial view of Lyndhurst , a traditional 360-degree walk-through, a festive tour of the interiors dressed up for the holidays, and—certainly the creepiest tour on this list—a peek at the mansion during the Halloween season, complete with ghoulish inhabitants.

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Gropius House

tours of old mansions

flickr.com via Ken Schwarz

Soon after Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius accepted an appointment to Harvard in 1937, he decided to build a home for his family in nearby Lincoln, Massachusetts. That home,  Lincoln House , was designed according to Bauhaus principles and is now filled with furniture and decorative items from the era. Beautiful photography and abundant text let virtual visitors explore the house and learn about the influential architect and his social milieu. 

Mabry-Hazen House

tours of old mansions

Wikimedia Commons via Brian Stansberry

This historic home in Knoxville, Tennessee, built in 1858, sheltered three generations of the same family. Today, it is filled to the brim with original furniture and mementos—more than 2,000 artifacts in all. Because of recent closures, the museum is now offering  video field trips  that let visitors get up close and personal with various objects and historical documents housed within the museum’s walls.

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Lexington Historical Society

tours of old mansions

flickr.com via Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

The Lexington Historical Society offers virtual tours of three properties, including Buckman Tavern, the Hancock-Clarke House, and Munroe Tavern. The tours are accessible via almost any platform. The taverns, built in 1710 and 1735, respectively, were important meeting places for locals and travelers, and played important roles in the Battle of Lexington and Concord. The Hancock-Clarke house, home to Reverend Jonas Clarke, played host to both John Hancock and Samuel Adams in the days before the battle.

Whitehern House & Garden

tours of old mansions

flickr.com via Can Pac Swire

Head to Hamilton, Ontario (virtually, of course), to take a 3-D tour  of this walled Georgian-style estate, built around 1850, which housed three generations of the McQuesten family. Each stage of the tour is accompanied by informative narration that provides a deeper learning experience. You can even choose to exit the house and explore the enclosed garden and terrace.

Winchester Mystery House

tours of old mansions

For a nominal rental fee (or a purchase price of $13.99), you can get access to a video tour of the famous Winchester Mystery House. Those interested in a deeper exploration can also access an immersive 360-degree tour for $8.99. This San Jose, California, landmark is known for its weird and wacky architecture. The sprawling structure boasts 2,000 doors, 160 rooms, and a whopping 17 chimneys! In 2008, Time Magazine included the house in a list of top 10 haunted places.

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84 Fabulous Historic Homes & Mansions in the USA

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A photo collage of historic homes & mansions in the USA.

I love beautiful mansions – whether newer mega mansions or historical mansions. This gallery showcases over 60 fabulous famous and infamous historical mansions from all areas of the United States.

Regions include the Eastcoast, the South, Midwest and the Westcoast. Notable regions include Newport, Rhode Island mansions , stunning Gold Coast mansions , Palm Beach mansions and more.

This collection includes some of the most famous houses in the world owned by robber barons, industrialists, authors, politicians, media tycoons, automobile moguls and more.

While some of the homes here are called a castle , America was founded after the need for a medieval castle . What resulted are simply spectacular houses akin to a chateau, villa or manor house .

Enjoy your scroll through a slice of America’s history via America’s greatest historic houses .

Related: Cool Shipping Container Homes | High-End Luxury Townhomes | Sleek Glass Houses | Rustic Houses

Houses 31 to 73 on the next page

1. Mark Twain House – Hartford, Connecticut

tours of old mansions

The Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, Connecticut was built by Edward Tuckerman Potter and was the house of Samuel Langhorne Clemens.

It was designed following the American High Gothic style and is now currently in the hands of Hal Holbrook. The cost of the house is currently $16.3 million and features  35,000-square-foot (3,300 m2)

About the Mark Twain House

  • Where:  Hartford, Connecticut, United States of America
  • When:  August 1873
  • Who built it: Edward Tuckerman Potter
  • Current owners:  Hal Holbrook
  • Cost:  $16.3 million
  • Size:  35,000-square-foot (3,300 m2)

Source: Factinate

2. Ringling Mansion – Sarasota, Florida

tours of old mansions

Ca’ d’Zan, or the Ringling Mansion in Sarasota, Florida is a Mediterranean Revival residence home of the American circus owner, developer and art collector John Ringling and his wife Mable.

The property was designed by architect Dwight James Baum in 1924 and it was built by the Sarasota developer Owen Burns. In 2013, the property costs $21 million currently owned by the Florida State University.

About the Ringling Mansion / Ca’ d’Zan

  • Where:  Sarasota, Florida, United States of America
  • Who built it: Designed by: architect Dwight James Baum / Built by: Sarasota developer Owen Burns
  • Current owners: Florida State University
  • Cost:  $21 million
  • Size:  36,000 square-foot

3. Vanderbilt Mansion – Hyde Park, New York

tours of old mansions

Vanderbilt Mansion is a historic house museum in Hyde Park, New York. Designed by the preeminent architectural firm McKim, Mead & White, the house is a fine an example of the Beaux-Arts architecture style while featuring archetypes of the American Renaissance in its interiors.

The property costs $36 million with a 211 acres (85 ha) currently owned by the National Park Service.

About the Vanderbilt Mansion

  • Where:  Hyde Park, New York, United States of America
  • When: 1896 – 1899
  • Who built it: McKim, Mead & White
  • Current owners: National Park Service
  • Cost:  $36 million
  • Size:  211 acres (85 ha)

4. Highlands Ranch Mansion – Colorado

tours of old mansions

See our gallery of tudor revival homes here .

The Highlands Ranch Mansion built in 1962 is one of the most architecturally unique structures in Colorado. The Mansion features 27,000 square feet (2,500 m2) containing more than 14 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms.

Owned and operated by the Highlands Ranch Metro District, the mansion costs more than $13 million and being maintained by the Highlands Ranch Metro District.

About the Highlands Ranch Mansion

  • Where:  Colorado, United States of America
  • Who built it:  Samuel Allen Long
  • Current owners: Highlands Ranch Metro District
  • Cost: more than $13 million
  • Size: 27,000 square feet (2,500 m2)

5. Kykuit Estate (Rockefeller Mansion) – New York

tours of old mansions

The Kykuit, also known as the John D. Rockefeller Estate built by Rockefeller family in 1913 is a 40-room historic house museum in Pocantico Hills, a hamlet in the town of Mount Pleasant, New York.

The cost of the property has not been yet revealed to the public but it is most likely at a very high price considering its size of 3,400 acres (1,380 ha).

About the Kykuit

  • Where: Mount Pleasant, New York, United States of America
  • Who built it: Rockefeller family
  • Current owners:   Rockefeller families
  • Cost: Currently unknown
  • Size: 3,400 acres (1,380 ha)

Kykuit - Rockefeller Estate - New York

6. Oheka Castle – Huntington, New York

tours of old mansions

The Oheka Castle, also known as the Otto Kahn Estate built in 1914–1919 by Delano & Aldrich and Olmsted Brothers is located on the North Shore of Long Island, in the West Hills section of Huntington, NY.

The property is the second largest private home in the United States measuring over 109,000 square feet (10,100 m2) and features 127 rooms. Its cost is currently at $22.5 million owned by Gary Melius.

About the Oheka Castle

  • Where: Huntington, New York, United States of America
  • When: 1914–1919
  • Who built it: Delano & Aldrich and Olmsted Brothers
  • Current owners: Gary Melius
  • Cost: $22.5 million
  • Size: 23.2 acres (9.4 ha)

7. Oak Alley – Louisiana

The Oak Alley Plantation located on the west bank of the Mississippi River, in the community of Vacherie, St. James Parish, Louisiana, is a historic plantation constructed by Joseph Pilié in 1837. The property boasts 25 acres (10 ha) and costs $50,000 while spent $60,000 in renovations in 1925.

About the Oak Alley Plantation

  • Where: Louisiana, United States of America
  • Who built it: Joseph Pilié
  • Current owners: Oak Alley Foundation
  • Cost: $50,000
  • Size: 25 acres (10 ha)

8. Boone Hall Mansion

tours of old mansions

The Boone Hall Plantation is one of America’s oldest working plantations that was built in 1681 and was reconstructed in 1936. It was built by William Harmon Beers and features 10,000 square feet (930 m2). The property is currently owned by the McRae family.

About the Boone Hall Plantation

  • Where: South Carolina, United States of America
  • Who built it: William Harmon Beers
  • Current owners: McRae family
  • Size: 10,000 square feet (930 m2)

See our list of Southern historic homes here .

9. Monticello (Thomas Jefferson’s House) – Virginia

tours of old mansions

Monticello was the primary plantation of the third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. He was the one who designed the property at age 26 after inheriting the land from his father following the neoclassical design principles described by Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio.

This building, featuring 5,000 acres (2,000 hectares) that costs $15 million is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

About the Monticello

  • Where: Charlottesville, Virginia, United States of America
  • Who built it: Thomas Jefferson
  • Current owners: Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Inc.
  • Cost: $15 million
  • Size: 5,000 acres (2,000 hectares)

10. Rosalie Mansion – Natchez, Mississippi

tours of old mansions

Built in 1823, the Rosalie Mansion is a historic pre-Civil War mansion and historic house museum in Natchez, Mississippi. The property served as the architectural inspiration for a large number of Natchez’s grand Greek Revival mansions, and was a major influence on Antebellum architecture in the greater region.

It was constructed by J.S. Griffin in 1822 and features 22 acres. Today, it is owned and maintained by Mississippi State Society Daughters of the American Revolution.

About the Rosalie Mansion

  • Where: Natchez, Mississippi, United States of America
  • Who built it: J.S. Griffin
  • Current owners: Mississippi State Society Daughters of the American Revolution
  • Size: 22 acres

11. Nottoway Mansion

tours of old mansions

The Nottoway Mansion, also known as the Nottoway Plantation House was built in 1858 by Henry Howard following the Greek Revival and Italianate-styled mansion . It is located near White Castle, Louisiana, United States and features 53,000 square foot that costs $14 million.

About the Nottoway Mansion

  • Who built it: Henry Howard
  • Current owners: Paul Ramsay
  • Cost: $14 million
  • Size: 53,000 square foot

12. Magnolia Plantation

tours of old mansions

The Magnolia Plantation and Gardens located on the Ashley River at 3550 Ashley River Road west of the Ashley, Charleston County, South Carolina is a historic house built in 1850 by Thomas and Ann Drayton. The property remains under the control of the Drayton family after 15 generations and is open to the public. It features 464 acres, 187.77 hectares.

About the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

  • Where: Charleston County, South Carolina, United States of America
  • Who built it: Thomas and Ann Drayton
  • Current owners: Drayton family
  • Size: 464 acres, 187.77 hectares

13. Houmas House – Darrow

tours of old mansions

The Houmas, also known as Burnside Plantation and currently known as Houmas House Plantation and Gardens was built in 1840 by John Smith Preston, and is a historic plantation complex and house museum in Burnside, Louisiana. It features 10 acres (4.0 ha), which is currently owned by Kevin Kelly.

About the Houmas House

  • Where: Burnside, Louisiana, United States of America
  • Who built it: John Smith Preston
  • Current owners: Kevin Kelly
  • Size: 10 acres (4.0 ha)

14. Montepelier (James Madison’s House) – Virginia

tours of old mansions

James Madison’s Montpelier was the plantation house of the Madison family, including fourth President of the United States, James Madison, and his wife Dolley.

It is located in Orange County, Virginia and was declared a National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966. It was built in 1764 by Madisons and duPont, which features 4.452 km² and costs $25 million.

About the Montepelier

  • Where: Orange County, Virginia, United States of America
  • Who built it: Madisons and duPont
  • Current owners: National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • Cost: $25 million
  • Size: 4.452 km²

15. Hazel Path Mansion

tours of old mansions

The Hazel Path Mansion located in Hendersonville, Tennessee is currently is available for weddings and other events. It was built by Daniel Smith Donelson in 1857 featuring 254 acres and costs $800,000. The property’s current owners are Louis Oliver and James Fuqua.

About the Hazel Path Mansion

  • Where: Hendersonville, Tennessee, United States of America
  • Who built it: Daniel Smith Donelson
  • Current owners: Louis Oliver and James Fuqua
  • Cost: $800,000
  • Size: 254 acres

16. Drayton Hall

tours of old mansions

The Drayton Hall located on the Ashley River about 15 miles northwest of Charleston, South Carolina is an 18th-century plantation whose architectect is unknown.

The mansion was built for John Drayton and his family after he bought the property in the late 1730s. The property features 3.177 km² and is currently owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

About the Drayton Hall

  • Where: Charleston, South Carolina, United States of America
  • When:   1747–1752
  • Who built it: Unknown
  • Cost: Unknown
  • Size: 3.177 km²

17. Calhoun Mansion – South Carolina

tours of old mansions

The Calhoun Mansion located at Charleston, South Carolina is a Victorian house built by W.P. Russell for George W. Williams in 1876. It costs $5,000,000 featuring 24,000-square-foot. Today, it is currently open for public tours under Howard Stahl.

About the Calhoun Mansion

  • Who built it:  Designed by W.P. Russell for George W. Williams
  • Current owners: Howard Stahl
  • Cost: $5,000,000
  • Size: 24,000-square-foot

18. Fairlawn Mansion – Wisconsin

tours of old mansions

About the Fairlawn Mansion

  • Where: Wisconsin, United States of America
  • When:   1889-1891
  • Who built it:  Martin Pattison
  • Current owners:   Superior Public Museums
  • Cost:   $6.5 million
  • Size: Unknown

19. Fonthill Castle

tours of old mansions

Fonthill, also known as Fonthill Castle was built in early 20th century by Dr. Henry C. Mercer and served as his home in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. The property’s cost is still unknown and currently owned by Trustees of the Mercer Fonthill Museum.

About the Fonthill Castle

  • Where: Doylestown, Pennsylvania, United States of America
  • When: 1908 – 1912
  • Who built it: Dr. Henry C. Mercer
  • Current owners: Trustees of the Mercer Fonthill Museum
  • Cost:   Unknown
  • Size:   27 ha

20. Robert Todd Lincoln’s Mansion

tours of old mansions

Hildene, the Lincoln Family Home located in Manchester, Vermont is the former summer home of Robert Todd Lincoln and his wife Mary Harlan Lincoln. It was built in the 20th century by Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge following the Georgian Revival style architecture. The property boasts 412-acre,167 ha and its current value is unknown.

About the Hildene

  • Where: Manchester, Vermont, United States of America
  • When: 20th century
  • Who built it: Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge
  • Current owners:   Friends of Hildene
  • Size:   412-acre,167 ha

21. Biltmore Estate

tours of old mansions

Located in Asheville, North Carolina, Biltmore Estate is a large (6950.4 acre or 10.86 square miles) private estate and a popular tourist attraction. It was built in 1889 – 1895 by Richard Morris Hunt and Frederick Law Olmsted. It features 6950.4 acre or 10.86 square miles that costs $300 million currently owned by Bill Cecil.

Biltmore is the largest private residence in the USA coming it at 175,000 sq. ft.

About the Biltmore Estate

  • Where: Asheville, North Carolina, United States of America
  • When: 1889 – 1895
  • Who built it: Richard Morris Hunt and Frederick Law Olmsted
  • Current owners: Bill Cecil
  • Cost: $300 million
  • Size: 6950.4 acre or 10.86 square miles

22. Mount Vernon – George Washington’s Estate

tours of old mansions

Mount Vernon, situated on the banks of the Potomac River in Fairfax County, Virginia, was the plantation house of George Washington, the first President of the United States, and his wife, Martha Dandridge Custis Washington.

It was built in 1758 by George Washington and remained his country home for the rest of his life. It features 500 acres (200 ha) and currently, it is being retained by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association.

About the Mount Vernon

  • Where: Fairfax County, Virginia, United States of America
  • Current owners: Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association
  • Size: 500 acres (200 ha)

23. Falling Water by Frank Lloyd Wright

tours of old mansions

Fallingwater is a house located in southwestern Pennsylvania designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1935. The property was designed as a weekend home for the family of Liliane Kaufmann and her husband, Edgar J. Kaufmann, Sr., owner of Kaufmann’s Department Store. It features 1750 acres and has a value of $15.9 million.

About the Fallingwater

  • Where:  Southwestern Pennsylvania, United States of America
  • Who built it: Frank Lloyd Wright
  • Current owners: Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
  • Cost: $15.9 million
  • Size: 1750 acres

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24. David Davis Mansion – Bloomington, Illinois

tours of old mansions

The David Davis Mansion also known as Clover Lawn, is a Victorian home in Bloomington, Illinois that was built in 1870-1872 by Alfred H. Piquenard.

It was the residence of David Davis, Supreme Court justice (1862–1877) and Senator from Illinois, which features 4.5 acres (1.8 ha) that is currently owned by the Illinois Department of natural Resources.

About the David Davis Mansion

  • Where: Bloomington, Illinois, United States of America
  • When: 1870-1872
  • Who built it: Alfred H. Piquenard
  • Current owners: Illinois Department of natural Resources
  • Size: 4.5 acres (1.8 ha)

25. Cairnwood Estate – Pennsylvania

tours of old mansions

Cairnwood is a 26,000 square feet (2,400 m2) historic home designed by the architectural firm of Carrère and Hastings and built in 1895. This historic home is located in Bryn Athyn, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania currently owned by the Academy of the New Church.

About the Cairnwood

  • Where: Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, United States of America
  • Who built it: Architectural firm of Carrère and Hastings
  • Current owners: Academy of the New Church
  • Size: 26,000 square feet (2,400 m2)

26. Fairlane (Henry and Clara Ford Estate) – Michigan

tours of old mansions

The Fair Lane was the estate of Ford Motor Company founder Henry Ford and his wife, Clara Ford, which was built in 1913–1915 by architects Joseph N. French, William Van Tine, Marion Mahony Griffin, Frank Lloyd Wright and Jens Jensen.

Located in Dearborn, Michigan, Fair Lane has 31,000-square-foot (2,900 m2) and is recognized as a National Historic Landmark.

About the Fair Lane

  • Where: Dearborn, Michigan, United States of America
  • When: 1913–1915
  • Who built it: Architects Joseph N. French, William Van Tine, Marion Mahony Griffin, Frank Lloyd Wright and Jens Jensen
  • Current owners: Henry Ford Estate, Inc
  • Size: 31,000-square-foot (2,900 m2)

27. Hearst Castle – San Simeon, California

tours of old mansions

Hearst Castle is a National Historic Landmark located on the Central Coast of California designed by architect Julia Morgan for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst between 1919 and 1947.

The property has 90,000 sq ft (8,400 m2) and is worth $195 million. When the owner Hearst died in 1951, it became a California State Park in 1954 and was opened to visitors later on.

About the Hearst Castle

  • Where: Central Coast of California, United States of America
  • When: 1919 – 1947
  • Who built it: Architect Julia Morgan
  • Current owners: Leonard Ross
  • Cost: $195 million
  • Size: 90,000 sq ft (8,400 m2)

28. Frederic Edwin Church’s Mansion – New York

tours of old mansions

The Olana State Historic Site is a historic house museum located in Greenport, New York. It was designed by architect Calvert Vaux as the home of Frederic Edwin Church who is one of the major figures in the Hudson River School of landscape painting.

The estate features 250.2 acres (101.3 ha) and is currently in the care of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

About the Olana State / Frederic Edwin Church Mansion

  • Where: Greenport, New York, United States of America
  • Who built it: Architect Calvert Vaux
  • Current owners: New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
  • Size: 250.2 acres (101.3 ha)

29. Asa Packer Mansion

tours of old mansions

The Asa Packer Mansion is a historic house museum located in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. It was built in 1852 following the designs of Samuel Sloan and was the home of Asa Packer, a coal and railroad magnate and founder of Lehigh University.

It has less than one acre and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1985 and currently owned by Ronald J. Sheehan.

About the Asa Packer Mansion

  • Where: Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, United States of America
  • Who built it: Architect Samuel Sloan
  • Current owners: Ronald J. Sheehan
  • Size:  Less than one acre

30. Glenview Mansion – Rockville, Maryland

tours of old mansions

Glenview Mansion is a historic home located at Rockville, Montgomery County, Maryland. It was designed by architects Porter, Irwin S, Lockie, Joseph A and James H. Small III for Catherine and Richard Johns Bowie, the original owners of the property.

The property has 65 acres (26 ha) and was purchased by the City of Rockville for $125,000.

About the Glenview Mansion

  • Where: Montgomery County, Maryland, United States of America
  • Who built it: Architects Porter, Irwin S, Lockie, Joseph A and James H. Small III
  • Current owners: City of Rockville
  • Cost: $125,000
  • Size: 65 acres (26 ha)

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10 Historic Homes You Can Virtually Tour

Our list ranges from Buckingham Palace to the Frida Kahlo Museum to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Estate, Property, House, Natural landscape, Home, Building, Tree, Cottage, Manor house, Mansion,

Buckingham Palace, London, England

Buckingham Palace, London, England

If you’ve ever wanted to see how the Queen of England lives without having to leave your house, now is your moment. Since 1837, Buckingham Palace has been the official London home to the monarchy of the United Kingdom. Although the palace is still Queen Elizabeth’s primary residence, the State Rooms are available to visit every year during the summer. In total, Buckingham Palace has 775 rooms, 19 of which are State Rooms, 188 rooms are staff bedrooms, 52 are guest and Royal bedrooms, 78 are bathrooms, and 92 are offices.

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Miami, FL

Villa Vizcaya...

Vizcaya is a Mediterranean Revival-style villa with Baroque elements that was once the home of businessman James Deering. The estate currently consists of 43 acres, but was previously located on an impressive 180 acres. It took eight years and $15 million to build the villa, and another year to complete the Italian Renaissance-style gardens and Vizcaya Village, which consists of 11 buildings across 12 acres, including greenhouses, fields, staff quarters, a garage, barns, and workshops.

The Frick Collection, New York, NY

Room, Property, Interior design, Furniture, Building, Ceiling, House, Estate, Floor, Architecture,

This Beaux Arts-style mansion located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan was once home to Henry Clay Frick, one of the most prominent industrialists during the Gilded Age. Expect to see Old Masters paintings, decorative arts, and European sculptures in this former residence turned art museum. The Frick Collection is located on Fifth Avenue and is one of the last remaining Gilded Age mansions in New York City. It became a museum in 1935, and since then, the public has been able view Frick’s expansive collection of artwork, which includes Rembrandt, Gainsborough, Whistler, Bellini, Vermeer, and Goya, to name a few.

Monticello, Charlottesville, VA

Home, House, Spring, Tulip, Plantation, Estate, Property, Mansion, Flower, Natural landscape,

At just 26 years old, future President Thomas Jefferson inherited a plantation in rural Virginia. An architecture enthusiast, Jefferson himself devised a combination of Neoclassical and Palladian architecture for the estate that would come to be known as Monticello. It is now a National Historic Landmark, and, along with the University of Virginia—which was also one of Jefferson’s designs—a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If Monticello looks familiar to you, it’s probably because it’s on the reserve side of the nickel.

Frida Kahlo Museum, Mexico City, Mexico

General Views Of Mexico 2019

In 1958, just four years after Frida Kahlo’s death, her eye-catching, bright blue house in Mexico City became a museum. Not only was Frida Kahlo born and raised in this historic home, it was also where she lived with her husband and fellow painter, Diego Rivera, and later, where she passed away. Diego Rivera donated the house in 1957 so that it could be turned into a museum in honor of his late wife. Kahlo’s house has since been operating as both a historic house museum and an art museum for over 60 years, and it is now the most visited museum in Coyoacán. Artworks by both Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera are on display in the home.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, MA

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston

The onetime home of Isabella Stewart Gardner was built in 1903 and is a designated Boston Landmark. As is evident when looking at the home's Instagramable courtyard, the building was inspired by a 15th-century Venetian palace. Isabella Stewart Gardner once said that she wanted her extensive art collection to be exhibited “for the education and enjoyment of the public forever.” Well, so far, so good! The museum is home to American, Asian, and European art, including paintings, tapestries, sculptures, and decorative arts.

Lyndhurst Mansion, Tarrytown, NY

USA - New York - Lyndhurst Estate

This spooky Gothic Revival mansion, built in 1838, was once the home of railroad tycoon Jay Gould. It sits on 67 acres and overlooks the Hudson River. The National Historic Landmark home was used as a filming location for The Blacklist, Project Runway, House of Dark Shadows, and Night of Dark Shadows, to name a few. Former owner Jay Gould had a 243-foot yacht built so that he didn’t have to take the nearby railroad built by his archnemesis, Cornelius Vanderbilt. Talk about rich people problems...

Mount Vernon, Mount Vernon, VA

Estate, Property, House, Natural landscape, Home, Building, Tree, Cottage, Manor house, Mansion,

Mount Vernon began as a one-and-a-half story home built by George Washington’s father, Augustine, in 1734. It went on to become the plantation of George and Martha Washington, the first President and First Lady of the United States of America. The architectural style of the home is described as loose Palladian, which is a European style inspired by Ancient Greek and Roman structures. Mount Vernon was expanded twice during George Washington’s lifetime, in the late 1750s and in the 1770s, and it was his home until his death in 1799. In 1858, the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association acquired the historic home and saved it from ruin by restoring it.

The Mark Twain House, Hartford, CT

Living room, Room, Furniture, Property, Interior design, Hearth, Fireplace, Building, Home, House,

Mark Twain (real name: Samuel Langhorne Clemens) lived with his family in this Victorian Gothic-style home from 1874 to 1891. This is where Mark Twain wrote novels like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Prince and the Pauper, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Life on the Mississippi, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, and A Tramp Abroad. It was Mark Twain and Charles Dudley who coined the term “Gilded Age,” given the title of their 1873 novel, The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today. Events held at the home have included appearances by fellow novelists Judy Blume, Stephen King, and John Grisham.

Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire, England

Landmark, Palace, Architecture, Classical architecture, Building, Sky, Château, City, Stately home, Cloud,

To end this list with a bang, look no further than Blenheim Palace, the former home of Consuelo Vanderbilt and her husband, the ninth Duke of Marlborough. It was the $2.5 million dowry of Consuelo’s father, William Kissam Vanderbilt—which translates to $76.8 million today—that made the restoration of this historic palace possible. Blenheim Palace has been used as a filming location for a variety of films, including Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Gulliver's Travels, Cinderella, Spectre, Orlando, Transformers: The Last Knight, Dolittle , and Hamlet . It was also the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill.

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May 29, 2024

  • Year overview

Open Properties

Operating schedule is subject to change

The Breakers

The Breakers is the grandest of Newport's summer "cottages" and a symbol of the Vanderbilt family's social and financial pre-eminence in the Gilded Age.

Marble House

William Vanderbilt built Marble House as a 39th birthday present for his wife, Alva. It was a social and architectural landmark that set the pace for Newport's subsequent transformation from a quiet summer colony of wooden houses to the legendary resort of opulent Gilded Age mansions.

The Elms was modeled after an 18th-century French chateau but featured the latest technology of the Gilded Age. It houses an outstanding collection of paintings, statuary and tapestries, and its landscape features formal gardens, terraces, pavilions and fountains.

Rosecliff was built for Nevada silver heiress Theresa Fair Oelrichs, who used it to host many fabulous Gilded Age entertainments. Architect Stanford White modeled Rosecliff after the Grand Trianon, the garden retreat of French kings at Versailles.

Chateau-sur-Mer

Chateau-sur-Mer epitomizes High Victorian architecture, furniture, wallpapers, ceramics and stenciling. It was the most palatial residence in Newport until the appearance of the Gilded Age Vanderbilt houses in the 1890s.

Chepstow is highly evocative of the taste and collections of a descendant of one of America's founding families, placed in the context of a contemporary Newport summer home. Guide-led tours only, advance reservations required

Green Animals Topiary Garden

Home to more than 80 topiary animals and other figures for more than a century, Green Animals also blazes with colorful flowers from May until October. The 7-acre property overlooks Narragansett Bay.

Hunter House

Hunter House (c. 1748) is one of the finest examples of Colonial architecture in Newport. The house was owned by wealthy merchants who furnished it with decorative arts produced by expert craftsmen. Such a luxurious lifestyle depended on the labor of enslaved people of African descent. Recent research by the Preservation Society has identified at least 13 enslaved individuals who lived and worked at Hunter House. Today's Hunter House honors their perseverance and incalculable contributions to Newport’s past. Guide-led tours only, advance reservations required

Isaac Bell House

Isaac Bell House is one of the best surviving examples of shingle-style architecture in the country. Its architects and designers drew from a mix of international and American influences to create a unique Gilded Age style.

Kingscote is a landmark of the Gothic Revival style in American architecture. Its appearance in Newport marked the beginning of the “cottage boom” that would distinguish the town as a veritable laboratory for the design of picturesque houses throughout the 19th century.

The Breakers Stable & Carriage House

Tours, events and exhibitions, beneath the breakers tour, daily 10:30 am.

Explore the underground systems that made this great house a marvel of technology for its time.

Gilded Age Newport in Color

March 15 – june 30, 2024 10:00am – 3:00pm.

This exhibition explores a largely unknown but important chapter in American history: the experience of a thriving African heritage community in Newport.

Servant Life Tour

Daily starting may 11, 10:30 am and 3:30 pm*.

See and hear how the other half lived. This tour will highlight the stories of some of the men and women who worked to service the social whirl of Newport during the Gilded Age. *June 1-Aug. 31, 10:30 am, 2 pm & 3:30 pm. Sept. 1-Oct. 14, 10:30 & 3:30. Oct. 15-Jan. 1, 2025, 10:30 & 2:30.

Inside “The Gilded Age” Tour

May 17 – june 28, 2024.

Fans of HBO’s "The Gilded Age" will love this guide-led tour of locations in four of the Newport Mansions where the show was filmed. Tuesdays and Fridays only, May 17 through June 28.

Open Properties and Events

Updated May 13, 2024. Schedule is subject to change.

May 11 – May 31, 2024

Please note: Advance reservations are required for all guide-led tours

Open daily 10 am – 5 pm for self-guided tours

House & grounds close one hour after last tour admission

Beneath The Breakers Tour – Guide-led tours daily at 10:30 am

The Elms Servant Life Tour – Guide-led tours daily at 10:30 am & 3:30 pm

Open daily 10 am – 3 pm for self-guided tours

Grounds close one hour after last tour admission

June 1 – August 31, 2024

The Breakers Children’s Cottage will be open to tour daily July 1 – August 17, 10 am – 4 pm

The Elms Servant Life Tour – Guide-led tours daily at 10:30 am, 2 pm & 3:30 pm

Rosecliff (through June 30)

Open daily 10 am – 3 pm for self-guided tours*.

*Rosecliff will be closed to tours June 19 – June 24; open to Newport Flower Show ticket holders only

Rosecliff (July and August)

Free admission at rosecliff, first floor only.

July 1 – July 9:  Rosecliff closed for exhibition deinstallation.

July 10 – 26* Rosecliff open daily 10 am – 3 pm for first-floor viewing only. Free admission. *Rosecliff will close at 2 p.m. on Friday, July 19

July 27 – August 18 Rosecliff open Saturdays & Sundays 10 am – 3 pm for first-floor viewing only. Free admission.

August 19 – 29: Rosecliff closed for exhibition installation.

Starting August 30 Open daily 10 am – 3 pm with new exhibition, “Wild Imagination.”

Open Sundays through Thursdays, 10 am – 5 pm for self-guided tours

Open fridays & saturdays, 10 am – 5 pm for guide-led tours, open fridays & saturdays, july 1-31, 10 am – 4 pm.

Closes one hour after last tour admission

September 1 – September 30, 2024

*Rosecliff will be closed to tours September 19 – 23; open to Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival ticket holders only

Open weekends & holidays 10 am – 5 pm for self-guided tours

October 1 – october 14, 2024.

The Elms Servant Life Tour – Guide-led tours daily at 10:30 am & 2:30 pm

October 15 – October 31, 2024

Open daily 10 am – 4 pm for self-guided tours, november 1 – november 22, 2024, open daily 10 am – 4 pm for self-guided tours*.

*The Breakers will close at 3 p.m. on Friday, November 22

*Rosecliff will be closed November 22 – December 8 for “The Newport Nutcracker”

November 23, 2024 – January 1, 2025

Holidays at the newport mansions.

All houses closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day

All houses close at 2 p.m. on December 24

Get the Newport Mansions app

Download our tour app before your visit and bring your earbuds.

Do you want to visit multiple houses?

With the Duo and Trio tickets, you can tour multiple mansions and gardens at a discounted price. These tickets can be used on different days and they do not expire.

Plan your visit

See tour options, frequently asked questions, information on our policies and everything else you need to know.

  • Visitor Info
  • Where to Eat
  • Group Reservations

Additional Visitor Info

Map & parking info.

Parking is free onsite at all properties except for Hunter House and The Breakers Stable & Carriage House, where street parking is available.

Answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.

Mansions & Gardens

Explore the 11 properties under the stewardship of the Preservation Society and open as historic house museums.

Partners in Preservation

20 Historic Mansions To Visit In America

Front of Biltmore Estate

There's something endlessly captivating about strolling down the halls of a lavish estate and imagining what it felt like to live there in its heyday. Whether it's a sprawling country manor or a grand Victorian mansion, every residence has its own personality and echoes from a time when it once vibrated with energy and life from parties to plans to political intrigue. With their opulent furnishings and period architecture, stepping into these estates can feel like stepping into a moment that was frozen in time long ago. For those who love to connect with architectural history or simply admire the beauty of a luxurious manor, it's a chance to feel immersed in a bygone era.

While we might not have any thousand-year-old, real castles like the rest of the world , the United States certainly has its share of grand mansions. And many are open for guests to tour. Get ready to feel like the lord or lady of the manor as we take a look at 20 luxurious mansions visitors can check out in the U.S.

1. Biltmore Estate (Asheville, North Carolina)

Coming in at a jaw-dropping 178,926 square feet, the Biltmore Estate is the largest privately owned home in the nation. This palatial Gilded Age mansion was built in the 1880s for George W. Vanderbilt II, an art collector, all-American Renaissance man, and Vanderbilt fortune heir.

The 250-room mansion looks like something out of a fairy tale thanks to its Châteauesque design, a Revivalist style inspired by 16th-century French Renaissance châteaux. Biltmore's architectural and landscaping team was led by Richard Morris Hunt and Frederick Law Olmsted, respectively known for their work on the Statue of Liberty's pedestal and Central Park. When completed, it contained 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms and 65 fireplaces. In those days, Biltmore played host to many famous guests including writer Edith Wharton, who celebrated Christmas there in 1905.

During World War II, the estate protected priceless works of art brought there from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Today, the estate contains an extensive art collection of more than 92,000 items including European masters like Renoir and Monet and is home to a world-renowned winery.

2. Winchester Mystery House (San Jose, California)

Few estates are as intriguing and misunderstood as the Winchester Mystery House. The lore of this labyrinthine and seemingly metastasized Queen Anne Revival begins with Sarah Winchester, widow to firearms magnate William Wirt Winchester. After losing her 6-week-old daughter and husband in a short time frame, the wealthy widow moved from the East Coast to the Bay Area to be closer to family. Soon after purchasing the comparably modest farmhouse called Llanada Villa that would become the Mystery House of legend, Winchester began remodeling. And from then until her death in 1922, construction on the house never stopped. The farmhouse became her obsession — a 24,000-square-foot, 160-room maze complete with stairways and doors to nowhere.

Traditional legend has it Winchester's endless remodeling project was chasing a medium's warning that construction should never stop, her Promethean penance for a fortune amassed from death-dealing weapons. The tale was recounted in the fanciful 2018 Helen Mirren-starring supernatural horror "Winchester." But some historians like Janan Boehme believe the ceaseless construction was really an act of local philanthropy, with Boehme telling L.A. Times, "This house, in itself, was her biggest social work of all."

3. Glensheen (Duluth, Minnesota)

Situated majestically on the shore of Lake Superior, Glensheen is the historic home of the Congdons, an influential family who amassed their wealth when attorney and power broker Chester Congdon invested in Minnesota's iron and copper mines during the late 19th century. Spread across 12 acres of breathtaking shoreline along the waterfront, Glensheen is a sprawling 39-room, 27,000-square-foot estate.

The grand domicile was built from 1905 to 1908, a collaboration between interior designer William A. French, landscape architect Charles W. Leavitt, and Clarence H. Johnston. Like Biltmore, Glensheen is a Gilded Age mansion influenced by the contemporary Beaux-Arts movement, identifiable by its ornate designs, statuary, and other Classical influences. Today, Glensheen is run as a museum by the University of Minnesota. Tour guides take groups through the period-decorated home —- even if they don't discuss the 1977 slaying of heiress Elisabeth Congdon and her nurse.

4. Bishop's Palace (Galveston, Texas)

There's a breathtaking castle, complete with towers straight out of a fairytale, located in Galveston, Texas. Designed by renowned Galveston architect Nicholas Clayton, the 19,082 square foot Bishop's Palace was commissioned by the U.S. Representative Walter Gresham to house his large family and host lavish parties of up to 1,000 guests. An eclectic High Victorian stone mansion built from locally sourced granite, white limestone, and red sandstone and completed in 1892, the house is a delightful mishmash of French Renaissance, Richardsonian Romanesque, and New England Shingle. Exterior ornamentation like cylindrical turrets and towers, French New Orleans and Victorian ironwork, and Tudor, Neo-Gothic, and Moorish motifs are the icing on this Disneyesque cake.

The interior is every bit as dreamy with its London damask wallpaper, Venetian chandeliers, Italian marble, ornate trim, and decadent wood paneling. After the solid stonework facade easily withstood the destructive hurricane of 1900, the family opened its doors to hundreds of storm refugees. Those doors are still opening today as part of Galveston's Historic Home Register.

5. Hearst Castle or La Cuesta Encantada (San Simeon, California)

Some may know Hearst Castle better as the inspiration for Xanadu, the fictional estate of publishing tycoon Charles Foster Kane in Orson Welles' 1941 film "Citizen Kane." Just as the character of Kane was satirizing real-life publisher William Randolph Hearst, Xanadu was standing in for the sprawling Hearst Castle. The 97,000-acre swath of land was originally purchased by Hearst's father for use as ranchland and a family glamping estate dubbed "Camp Hill" — think chef-prepared meals in fully furnished tents. In 1922, Hearst worked with the Beaux-Arts-trained architect Julia Morgan to imagine the ornate Spanish cathedral-inspired Mediterranean Revival build he called La Cuesta Encantada, meaning "enchanted hill."

From the bas-relief knights flanking the entrance to the painted ceiling that once graced an Italian palazzo, every inch of this palatial 68,500-square-foot estate captures the imagination. Now a museum, Hearst Castle boasts an astonishing 115 rooms including 40 bathrooms, 38 bedrooms, a beauty salon, and a theater.

6. Monticello (Charlottesville, Virginia)

Few historical mansions capture the paradox of Enlightenment-era American liberty ideals in a pre-abolition United States like Thomas Jefferson's plantation estate Monticello. The plantation home is a distinctive example of Neoclassical architecture, a design movement marked by porticos, columns, domes and balustrades echoing classical Greek and Roman ideals. An architectural marvel designed by the statesman himself decades before he ascended to the United States presidency, Jefferson broke ground in 1768 at only 25 years old at the gentle 868-foot peak he called "Monticello," old Italian for "little mountain."

The 11,000-square-foot home features 35 rooms, each a different shape. Many of them can be explored online via a 360º panoramic tour of Monticello. About 60% of the furnishings of the home — an American destination every history buff should visit — are or may be items owned by Jefferson, including the Alcove Bed in which he died, 50 years to the day after the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

7. Mount Vernon (Mount Vernon, Virginia)

George Washington's famous plantation, Mount Vernon, began as a one-and-a-half-story home built by the first president's father, who built it in 1734. Designed by the elder Washington and an unnamed architect, the original home was erected in a British Palladian style, a look that reflected Renaissance Venetian designs inspired by Roman and Greek traditions. The architecture and landscape drew on the Picturesque movement that imagined buildings set in a more naturalistic environment.

After inheriting the estate in 1754, George began expanding Mount Vernon into an elegant 21-room residence. Today, the three-story home clocks in at an impressive 11,000 square feet. The restored front parlor, where Martha Washington presided over tea service, once hosted such acclaimed names as the Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson. Several different tours of the estate are available including a tour that focuses on the lives and experiences of the many enslaved people who once lived there.

8. James J. Hill House (St. Paul, Minnesota)

A living embodiment of the American Dream mythos, Canadian-American magnateJames J. Hill was born to Irish-Canadian immigrants and spent two decades working in the shipping industry before building his fortune on a lucky buy in the railroad business. As no self-respecting empire builder would be caught without a lavish estate to serve as a testament to his wealth, Hill took to erecting his own, overseeing every step of the construction and planning from design to furnishment, going through a few architects in the process. 

A Richardsonian Romanesque mansion, the James J. Hill House stakes out a prominent part of Minnesota's Summit Avenue, home to the longest stretch of Victorian-era homes in the United States. When completed in 1891, the 36,000-square-foot, five-story home included 13 bathrooms, 22 fireplaces, a two-story art gallery, three-story pipe organ, and 16 cut-glass chandeliers. Today, it's owned by the Minnesota Historical Society, which shows off everything from the impressive library to the bathtub. 

9. Schuyler Mansion (Albany, New York)

If you've seen the Broadway musical "Hamilton," you've heard of the famed Schuyler sisters who once inhabited this storied home that was best known as the home of their father, Revolutionary War General Philip Schuyler before Lin-Manuel Miranda came along. When Schuyler Mansion was originally completed in 1765, the Georgian mansion was dramatically different from the traditional Dutch homes that dotted the Albany countryside, which was still semi-wilderness at the time.

Aside from modern features like power lines and pavement, the Georgian mansion still looks much as it did in the Schuylers' day, right down to the wallpaper and carpet. It's easy to imagine what it felt like to be present when Eliza Schuyler was married to founding father Alexander Hamilton at the stately home in 1780.

10. The Breakers (Newport, Rhode Island)

The Breakers, once the Italian Renaissance-style summer home of Cornelius Vanderbilt II, chairman and president of the New York Central Railroad system, is one of America's most impressive feats of architecture. Built in the 1890s by architect Richard Morris Hunt, the 70-room palazzo in Newport, Rhode Island, was inspired by the 16th-century palaces of Genoa and Turin and overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. Vanderbilt erected the palatial 140,000-square-foot Gilded Age mansion after the original wood property burnt down in 1885. The restored stable and carriage house gives visitors a glimpse into a long-gone world, where 12 grooms and stableboys prepared and provided horse-drawn carriages for the Vanderbilt family.

11. Swannanoa Palace (Afton, Virginia)

Railroad executive James Dooley built the 52-room Swannanoa Palace in 1912 for his wife, Sallie May. He placed the Italian Renaissance Revival villa high atop Virginia's famed Blue Ridge Mountains, known for some of the most breathtaking views in America. More than 300 artisans were hired to create the mountain retreat as a replica of Rome's Villa de Medici, the ancestral home of the famed Medici family. The villa's features include a 4,000-piece Tiffany stained-glass window, Georgian and Italian marble, and a domed ceiling bearing Sallie May's likeness. Despite having weathered some difficult periods in the past when the estate's future was not so certain, the 22,000-square-foot palace now stands restored to its original glory and is available seasonally for public tours. 

12. Pabst Mansion (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

The price of beer has changed over time, but you can call this spot the house that beer built. The Captain Frederick Pabst Mansion in Milwaukee was constructed for the beer baron and his family in 1890. With its terra cotta scrollwork, steep gables, and a neo-Baroque domed pavilion that was featured at the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago, the two-and-a-half story home is a textbook example of Flemish Renaissance Revival architecture.

After several decades serving as the local archbishop's residence, the 20,000-square-foot home narrowly avoided getting torn down in the 1970s to make way for a hotel parking lot. Fortunately, a preservation society purchased the estate and restored it to its 19th-century glory using an 1897 photo album as a historical guide.

13. Pittock Mansion (Portland, Oregon)

Portland's architectural jewel, Pittock Mansion is an Italianate and French Renaissance-style château situated in the city's West Hills, where it enjoys a breathtaking view of the majestic Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens, Mount Adams, Mount Rainier, and Mount Jefferson on a clear day. The mansion's interior is beautifully eclectic with details like a Turkish smoking room, a French-style oval drawing room, an opulent central stairwell connecting three stories, and a formal Edwardian dining room with a mirrored wall designed to wow guests by reflecting Mount Hood. Period furnishings and artifacts ground Portland's Pittock Mansion in the early 1900s.

The 16,000-square-foot estate was built in 1914 for the family of Henry Pittock, publisher of the Oregonian newspaper. It remained occupied by the Pittocks until 1958. Just a few years after it became vacant, damage from the 1962 Columbus Day Storm and squatters began to pose an existential threat. Thankfully, the city purchased it, restoring and converting it for the world to enjoy.

14. Edsel and Eleanor Ford House (Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan)

Situated northeast of Detroit on Lake St. Clair's Gaukler Point is the enchanting abode commissioned by Henry Ford's son Edsel, best known for lending his name to one of history's most notorious flops. Having fallen in love with the picturesque cottages of the rural Cotswolds in England, Edsel and his wife Eleanor commissioned Albert Kahn, a prolific architect with everything from skyscrapers to suburban homes under his belt, and Jens Jensen, a Danish landscape artist known for his Chicago park projects.

After an inspiration-gathering trip to England with Kahn in tow, the Fords began construction on the Edsel Ford Home in 1926. Nearly three years later, the family took up residence in the dreamy domicile. With ivy climbing all over its sandstone exterior, the charming estate feels like something out of a Thomas Kincaid painting despite its 60 rooms and expansive 30,000-square-foot footprint. Inside, guests will find an extensive collection of art and romantic interiors inspired by English manor houses of yore.

15. Vizcaya (Miami, Florida)

If the exterior of Vizcaya seems vaguely familiar, it's because there's a good chance you've seen it in a film like "Iron Man 3," "Any Given Sunday," or "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective." The estate was originally purchased by James Deering, an industrialist whose familial wealth came from a harvester company. A conservationist, Deering purchased 180 acres of Floridian inland tropical forest and mangrove swamps with an aim at preserving them while building his winter estate along the shore. He began construction on the vast estate in 1912, officially taking up residence on Christmas 1916 after arriving via yacht.

Named for Vizcaya, a region in northern Spain's Basque country, the finished estate boasted a footprint of 45,225 square feet and featured upwards of 50 rooms in the main house alone. The mansion, now converted into a museum, is distinctive for its Baroque, Mediterranean, and Italian Renaissance inspirations.

16. The Mount (Lenox, Massachusetts)

The Mount was the home of author Edith Wharton, who would become the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for her 1920 Gilded Age novel "The Age of Innocence," notable for its realistic portrayal of the aristocracy. With her personal foundation in architecture and design, Wharton designed the home herself in collaboration with architects Francis L.V. Hoppin and Ogden Codman, Jr.

Constructed from 1901 through 1902, the mansion was inspired by the 17th-century English country home Belton House, the estate used as King George's house in Netflix's "Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story." With a square footage of 16,850 square feet, the 35-room, four-story estate features a dreamy landscape with a formal flower garden, rock garden, grass terraces, and an Italian walled garden, a perfect backdrop for inspiring Wharton's pen. 

17. Bayou Bend (Houston, Texas)

Designed by architect John F. Staub for the prominent Houston family the Hoggs, known for their philanthropy and commitment to the arts, Bayou Bend aimed to combine the romance of New Orleans' Spanish Creole architecture with a stately English Georgian aesthetic. To that end, Staub quite literally drew from New Orleans architecture, borrowing details like a columned portico and curved staircase from Southern plantation houses and salvaging an antique wrought iron balcony from a New Orleans demolition. Ima Hogg dubbed the end product "Latin Colonial."

To conserve the natural bayou ecosystem, the Hoggs interfered with the landscape as little as possible, proudly declaring they only removed one tree for the home's construction. Today, the home sits on 14 acres of lush organic gardens and is home to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston collection for American paintings and decorative arts.

18. Philbrook (Tulsa, Oklahoma)

A jewel in the heart of Oklahoma's Green Country, the city of Tulsa was built by oil money. And few early Tulsans had more of that black gold green than the prominent Waite Phillips family. In 1926, Phillips commissioned a home from Kansas City architect Edward Buehler Delk, whose art deco and neo-Gothic revival designs can be seen in Tulsa's iconic Philtower building or Kansas City's Starlight Theatre.

For the 72-room Italian Renaissance villa originally known as Philbrook Villa, Buehler pulled out all the stops. Highlights include glittering ground white marble mixed into stucco, travertine and marble fireplaces, teak floors, Kasota limestone meant to evoke Italian travertine, ornate stonework, beveled art glass, ceilings inspired by Italian villas, Corinthian columns, and Italianate tiles, just to start. Today, the 32,000-square-foot mansion serves as an art museum known for its lush formal gardens and extensive art collection from around the world.

19. Vanderbilt Mansion (Hyde Park, New York)

The tale of the storied Vanderbilt Mansion dates back to the 18th century when John Bard purchased the land, naming it "Hyde Park." In those early days, it boasted several boat landings, two residences, mills, a store, and a farm. The estate would change hands a few times before joining the holdings of Frederick W. Vanderbilt, who aimed to build a home inspired by the grand manors of Europe but equipped with modern amenities. Completed in 1899, the resultant Beaux-Arts Italian Renaissance mansion represents yet another fine example of the Vanderbilt descendants' commitment to looking like the old money of European nobles.

From its semicircular portico to its symmetry and pilasters, the palatial estate was heavily inspired by the Langdon mansion that once graced the estate. Clocking in at 45,000 square feet, six floors, and 54 rooms, the neoclassical estate is considered one of the best-preserved Gilded Age mansions in the United States.

20. 'Iolani Palace (Honolulu, Hawaii)

O'ahu governor Chief Mataio Kekūanaōʻa originally began construction on 'Iolani in 1844 with plans to gift the grand home to his daughter. Feeling it would make a perfect royal residence, King Kamehameha III purchased the land, taking up residence in 1845. On December 31, 1879, Kamehameha began construction on 'Iolani Palace, ceremonially christening it with full Masonic rites. Construction was completed in 1882, with the royal residence exemplary for its state-of-the-art amenities including indoor plumbing supplied by an artesian well, electricity, and a modern telephone system.

'Iolani stands as a stunning example of Hawaiian Renaissance architecture. Some of the palace's more noteworthy features include the use of walnut, white cedar, and native hardwoods including kamani, kou, and ohia as well as its koa grand staircase. Sadly, the elegant estate would only serve as a home to the monarchy for 11 years until a United States-backed coup overthrew its last regent, Queen Liliʻuokalani.

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Tour Vanderbilt Mansion

Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site

Tour Schedule

Tour schedule changes seasonally. For the current tour schedule, visit the park's  calendar  page. *Note -  Beginning May 19, 2024 the tour schedule will change and does not appear on the Calendar. The Vanderbilt Mansion will be open 7 days a week between 9 AM and 5 PM with tours throughout the day. Be advised that tickets are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. In the summer months and October, tours may sell out early.

How to Obtain Tickets

Access to the mansion is by guided tour only. Tickets are $15. Tickets for children ages 15 and younger are free. Visit  Fees and Passes  for more information on ticket prices, National Park passes, and free entrance days in all National Parks.  Credit cards are the only form of payment we can accept. 

The park offers academic waivers of entrance fees for school groups. To learn more about how to qualify and apply for waivers, visit our  Education  webpage.

About the Tour

The tour presents about eighteen rooms on three floors of the mansion. Occasionally, specific rooms or floors may be unavailable or unfurnished for preservation work. Check with a ranger at the Visitor Center for information about possible preservation impacts. The Vanderbilt Mansion is not air-conditioned and can get quite warm in the summer months.

Preservation Restrictions and Conditions

  • Baby strollers, "Gerry" carriers, or infant carriers with handles are not permitted in the mansion.
  • Backpacks and parcels (including purses, briefcases, diaper bags, camera bags) that exceed 11" x 15" in either dimension are not permitted in the mansion.
  • The public may not carry open containers of food or beverages in the Vanderbilt Mansion. Water bottles are permitted, but must remain sealed and contained at all times while inside buildings with museum collections.
  • Photography is permitted inside the mansion, but we ask that you refrain from using your flash. Selfie Sticks and Tripods are not permitted on the public tour.

Tickets are $15. Tickets for children age 15 and under are free. Visit Fees and Passes for more information on ticket prices, National Park passes, and free entrance days in all National Parks.  Credit cards are the only form of payment we can accept. 

The park offers academic waivers of entrance fees for school groups. To learn more about how to qualify and apply for waivers, visit our Education webpage.

Reservations for individuals and families are not  available for tours of the Vanderbilt Mansion. Tickets are issued on a first-come, first-served basis at the Pavilion Visitor Center. Reservations for Vanderbilt Mansion are required  ONLY  for commercial tour services (motor coaches) and any public group of  20 or more  people. Commercial and group reservations can only be made through recreation.gov . Visit Fees & Passes  for more information. 

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Scenic States

20 of the Most Remarkable American Mansions

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Mansions are indeed fascinating, especially to most of us who are outsiders to the opulent lifestyle they represent.

But more than wealth and luxury, each of these mansions have their own unique stories and secrets; sometimes mundane and sometimes scandalous.

If the mansions’ stories don’t fascinate you, their size, grandeur, and design would.

In today’s blog post, take a visual journey through the most historic, famous, and iconic American mansions.

Plantation Homes

A plantation complex is composed of different buildings and structures that are commonly found on agricultural plantations in the southern states from the 17th century into the 20th century.

Typically, a plantation complex has the main house, often called plantation home, a slave quarters and other residential structures, a kitchen yard, ancillary structures (such as offices, schoolhouses, or churches) and agricultural structures (such as storage barns, stables, or cotton presses).

Historically, plantations are a huge part of American history, particularly African-American history. Large numbers of African-Americans were held as slaves in these plantations while their white owners got rich off their labor.

Many plantation houses standing today feature antebellum architecture, which is a neoclassical architectural style characterized by huge pillars, a wide balcony, and big center entrances to multiple-story, box-like mansions.

Below are some of the most notable plantation homes in America.

1. Evergreen Plantation (Edgard, Louisiana)

The Evergreen Plantation is the most intact plantation complex in the South and one of the rare ones still operating as a sugarcane plantation.

The main house was built in 1790 and renovated in 1832 in the Greek Revival style with some Federal accents. Its most distinctive feature being the double staircase on the front of the house.

Evergreen Plantation

There’s also a double row of 22 slave cabins that have been maintained through the years and help tell the history of the African-Americans who were once enslaved here but were freed after the Civil War and continued to work in the plantation.

Though it’s a National Historic Landmark (the highest historical designation that can be bestowed on a place), the Evergreen Plantation is privately owned and fully functional, meaning people actually live and work in the grounds. However, the main house and the slave quarters are still available to tour.

Their tour touches on the family history of the owners, the architectural and historical significance of the buildings on the complex, the agricultural aspect of the plantation, and most importantly, the labor of the enslaved African-Americans that was crucial to operating such an enormous plantation.

Essential Information Address: 4677 LA-18, Edgard, LA | 985-497-3837 Hours: Mon-Sat 9:30am-11am; 11:15am-12:45pm; 1pm-2:30pm; 2:45pm-4:15pm Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes Cost: $20 per head for adults; c Website: Evergreen Plantation Note: The plantation may be closed when there are no scheduled tours or for private events, so book in advance through their website or by calling.

2. Whitney Plantation (Garyville, Louisiana)

The Whitney Plantation Historic District is America’s first slavery museum and the only plantation museum in Louisiana to solely focus on the lives of enslaved people.

Whitney Plantation

In 1990, John Cummings bought the plantation from a petrochemical company and spent millions of his own money and 14 years researching and developing the property into a museum and memorial dedicated to telling the tragic story of slavery in America from the eyes of the enslaved.

Working with famed historian Ibrahima Seck as the director of research, Cummings collected plenty of artifacts and research materials and formally opened the plantation to the public in December 2014.

Sixteen original structures remain on site. Visitors can view the French Creole-style Big House, two slave cabins, a steel jail, a Baptist church donated and moved from Paulina, Louisiana, and various memorials, including the Field of Angels, the Allées Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, and the Wall of Honor.

Essential Information Address: 5099 LA-18, Edgard, LA | 225-265-3300 Hours: Mon-Sun; first tour starts at 10am and the last tour starts at 3pm Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes Cost: $25 per head for adults; discounts available for children, students, military, seniors, and locals of the same parish Website: Whitney Plantation

3. Oak Alley Plantation (Vacherie, Louisiana)

Oak Alley Plantation is named for the double row of southern live oaks creating an alley from the Mississippi River up to the main house.

Oak Alley Plantation

The main mansion was finished in 1839, done in Greek Revival-style architecture, with a distinct colonnade of Doric columns all around the exterior. The mansion itself has a square floor plan.

The first owners, Jacques Roman acquired the property in 1836 and had the mansion built.

During this time, the most noted slave in the plantation named Antoine developed the “paper shell” pecan through grafting. It was even entered in the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia where it won a prize. It thus became known as the Centennial variety.

Unfortunately, the plantation where the pecan trees were cultivated washed away in a river break in the 1990s and none of the original Centennial pecans survived.

After Jacques Roman passed away, he left it to his wife Celina. She didn’t know how to manage a sugar plantation, though, and it ended up in auction. The subsequent owners could not afford the upkeep and the buildings fell into disrepair.

In 1925, Andrew Stewart bought the plantation as a gift to his wife, Josephine Armstrong Stewart. The Stewarts commissioned architect Richard Koch to supervise extensive restoration and modernization of the buildings.

When Josephine Stewart died in 1972, she willed the historic house and grounds to the Oak Alley Foundation. Their mission is to educate the public about the history of the sugarcane plantation, its owners, and its place in a bygone era characterized by wealth but marred by slavery.

Places that are available to tour are the Big House, a formal garden, the Slavery Exhibit, the Sugarcane Exhibit and Theatre, the Blacksmith Shop, and the Civil War Tent.

A restaurant and inn are also available on the grounds, in case you want to dine and stay overnight in the plantation.

Essential Information Address: 3645 LA-18, Vacherie, LA | 225-265-2151 Hours: Mon-Sun 9am-5pm Duration: 2 hours Cost: $25 per head for adults; discounts available for children, students, military, seniors, first responders, and teachers Website: Oak Alley Plantation

There are more plantations along LA-18, which we touch upon in our post about the best things to do in Louisiana .

4. Belle Grove Plantation (Shenandoah Valley, Virginia)

Belle Grove Plantation is known as the home of Major Isaac Hite, Jr. and as the headquarters of General Philip Sheridan during the Battle of Cedar Creek.

The history of the plantation dates back to when son Isaac Hite, Sr., the son of a German immigrant, bought 483 acres of land in the Shenandoah Valley, southwest of Middletown.

When his son Isaac Jr. got married to Nelly Conway Madison, President James Madison’s sister, Isaac Sr. gifted them the land. They developed the land into a grain and livestock plantation and had the Manor House built in 1797.

Manor House

The Manor House features a grand portico with columns, glass transoms that bring natural light into the rooms, and a T-shaped hallway, allowing for ventilation from all four sides. President Thomas Jefferson contributed these design ideas, which he had actually used for his own home constructed earlier.

After Isaac Jr. died, it was occupied several times during the war, the most notable of whom is General Sheridan, who lived here in 1864. Another succession of owners lived in the house until 1929, when Francis Welles Hunnewell bought the property.

Hunnewell had the Manor House and the surrounding buildings restored in the 1930s and 1940s. When he died in 1964, he bequeathed the house, the surrounding 100 acres of land, and $100,000 to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Today, it is part of the Cedar Creek Battlefield and Belle Grove National Historical Park. The Manor House, the outbuildings, and the surrounding landscape are all available to tour since they were opened to the public in 1967.

Essential Information Address: 336 Belle Grove Road, Middletown, VA | 540-869-2028 Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-4pm (last tour at 3:15pm), Sun 1pm-5pm (last tour at 4:15pm) Cost: $12 per head for adults; discounts available for children, students, military, and seniors Website: Belle Grove Plantation

5. Magnolia Plantation and Gardens (Charleston, South Carolina)

The Magnolia Plantation dates back to 1676, when Thomas and Ann Drayton built a house and a formal garden on the site. It grew and evolved through the years, but the plantation remains under the control of the Drayton family.

Magnolia began as a rice plantation but after the Civil War, its focus shifted to horticulture. In fact, it’s the oldest public garden, being open to visitors since 1870.

Magnolia Plantation

Today, the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is Charleston’s most visited plantation, offering tours of the plantation house, the expansive gardens, and an exhibit featuring African-American life in the plantation from their perspective.

Basic admission gets you access to the Historic Garden, Petting Zoo, The Conservatory, Orientation Theater, The Peacock Café, and the Gilliard Garden Center.

Additional guided tours are a separate cost each and include the Plantation House Tour, Nature Tram, Nature Boat, Audubon Swamp Garden, and Slavery to Freedom.

Essential Information Address: 3550 Ashley River Rd, Charleston, SC | 843-571-1266 Hours: Mon-Sun 9am–4pm Cost: Basic admission: $20 per head for adults; discounts available for children; Additional tour: $8 per additional tour per head for adults; discounts available for children Website: Magnolia Plantation & Gardens

6. Belle Meade Plantation (Nashville, Tennessee)

Belle Meade Plantation is a historic plantation that operated as a cotton and livestock farm. It dates way back to 1807, when John Harding bought Dunham’s Station log cabin and developed it into a plantation.

He named it Belle Meade, which means “beautiful meadow” in French. He began breeding and racing horses in the plantation. His son William inherited the property in 1839 and expanded it to the neighboring property.

Belle Meade Plantation

The main house was first built in the 1820s as a red brick Federal-style house. When William took over, he had the house altered in a Greek-Revival style and applied stucco to cover the red bricks.

A two-story veranda was created with six limestone pillars, the left wing was removed, and the right wing was raised two stories.

A dairy, carriage house, stable, and a mausoleum were added to the plantation complex by the turn of the 20th century.

During the Civil War, Harding had to cease his breeding and racing operations. Confederate General James Chalmers occupied Belle Meade as his headquarters during the Battle of Nashville, and after the Civil War, Harding resumed his horse farming operations.

Belle Meade had many successful thoroughbred studs. In fact, a few of their bloodlines remain and dominate modern horse racing.

In 1953, after the plantation has turned over a few owners, the mansion, eight outbuildings, and the 30 remaining acres of the plantation were purchased by the State of Tennessee to ensure their preservation.

Nowadays, you can tour the mansion, the grounds, and the outbuildings. They also offer a Journey to Jubilee tour that educates visitors about the first African-Americans brought to Belle Meade and highlights their importance to the success of the plantation.

After touring, you can go for a free wine tasting at the winery on the grounds. If you want a more extensive wine tasting, you can also sample more wines and pair them with food for an additional fee.

Essential Information Address: 5025 Harding Pike, Nashville, TN | 615-356-0501 Hours: Mon-Sun 9am–5pm; last tour at 4pm Cost: Mansion-only tour: $24 per head for adults; discounts available for children and seniors; for other tours, see their list of tours Website: Belle Meade Plantation

7. Pebble Hill Plantation (Thomasville, Georgia)

Pebble Hill Plantation was built by Thomas Jefferson Johnson in 1825, first cultivating cotton, then rice. Upon his death, his daughter Julia Anne who managed the plantation with her husband John Mitchell.

In 1896, Melville Hanna acquired the property and eventually gave it to his daughter Kate in 1901, who then bequeathed the property to her daughter Elizabeth Ireland, known as Pansy.

She established and endowed the Pebble Hill Foundation in 1950 and willed that the entire estate be given to the foundation so it can be publicly opened as a museum and educate as many visitors as they can about life during that era.

Pebble Hill Plantation

The main house was first built in 1850 by architect John Wind, who was commissioned by the Johnsons. Eventually, in 1934, when the plantation was owned by Kate Benedict Hanna, the main house burned down.

Hanna then commissioned architect Abram Garfield to rebuild the house and he made it into the Neo-Georgian, Greek Revival style mansion that we know today.

The H-shaped configuration was retained, but the entire house was rebuilt in masonry to make it fire-resistant. The columns on the exterior are reminiscent of the Greek Revival style, while the plaster molding is reminiscent of Beaux-Arts architecture.

Today, the main house and the grounds are open to the public for tours.

Essential Information Address: 1251 US Highway 319 S, Thomasville, GA | 229-226-2344 Hours: Tue–Sat 10am–5pm, Sun 12pm–5pm; first tour starts at 10:30am, last tour starts at 4pm Cost: $16 per head for adults; discounts available for children Website: Pebble Hill Plantation

Gilded Age Mansions

The Gilded Age refers to the period between the Civil War and the turn of the twentieth century, when America experienced rapid economic growth.

The richest of the rich, such as the industrialists, bankers, and heirs to already-rich clans are the ones who most benefited from this economic growth, and they weren’t modest about it. They build lavish homes for themselves and vacation homes for the summer.

Gilded Age mansions usually feature European-inspired architecture and interiors, but what makes them uniquely American are the innovations that reflect the current technology at the time. These innovations include central heating, indoor plumbing, and showers.

The rich families also weren’t shy about displaying their wealth in their mansions; these would often have high ceilings, one or two sweeping staircases, marble floors, a separate reception room for receiving guests, and a huge ballroom, usually with crystal chandeliers and painted ceilings.

Here are some of the most famous Gilded Age mansions.

8. The Breakers (Newport, Rhode Island)

There’s no shortage of Gilded Age mansions in Newport, and The Breakers is the most popular of them all.

The Breakers

Cornelius Vanderbilt II bought a wooden house called The Breakers and commissioned architect Richard Morris Hunt to design a villa to replace the wooden-framed house. The result is an Italian Renaissance-style palazzo inspired by the 16th century palaces of Genoa and Turin.

Today, The Breakers is known to be the most lavish mansion in Newport and the signature symbol of the Gilded Age.

Essential Information Address: 44 Ochre Point Avenue, Newport, RI | 401-847-1000 Hours: Vary depending on season; check this detailed, regularly updated calendar prior to your visit Cost: $26 per head for adults; discounts available for children Website: The Breakers

9. The Marble House (Newport, Rhode Island)

Marble House was built as a summer house (or “cottage,” as Newporters call them) and is largely credited as the summer house that begun the transformation of Newport from a sleepy town to a renowned district of stone mansions.

In short, it was the mansion that started it all.

Marble House

Another Vanderbilt commissioned this mansion, namely, William K. Vanderbilt, Cornelius II’s younger brother. It was a gift for his wife, Alva, in honor of her 39th birthday.

Architect Richard Morris Hunt also worked on this mansion. Inspired by the Petit Trianon at the Palace of Versailles, Marble House is one of the earliest examples of Beaux-Arts architecture in America.

Its distinct façade features Corinthian pilasters that are two stories high, as well as arched windows and a monumental portico.

Essential Information Address: 596 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, RI | 401-847-1000 Hours: Vary depending on season; check this detailed, regularly updated calendar prior to your visit Cost: $18 per head for adults; discounts available for children Website: Marble House

10. Rosecliff (Newport, Rhode Island)

Rosecliff is named for the rose gardens along Cliff Walk that were planted by the original owner of the property, the historian, diplomat, and amateur horticulturist George Bancroft.

Theresa Fair Oelrichs, a silver heiress from Nevada, bought the Rosecliff property in 1891 and commissioned the architectural firm of McKim, Mead, and White to design a summer home suitable for throwing extravagant parties.

Stanford White, the principal architect, modeled Rosecliff after the Grand Trianon in Versailles. This is evident in the open-air colonnade at the center, the paired Ionic columns, pilasters on the second story, and the roofline balustrade concealing the staff quarters on the third floor.

Rosecliff

The highlight of the mansion is the grand ballroom in the middle of the building. Measuring 40 feet by 80 feet, it was Newport’s largest ballroom where Theresa Fair Oelrichs threw the most memorable balls, securing her place as one of the greatest hostesses of Newport.

The magnificent ballroom has been featured in films such as True Lies and The Great Gatsby .

Essential Information Address: 548 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, RI | 401-847-1000 Hours: Vary depending on season; check this detailed, regularly updated calendar prior to your visit Cost: $18 per head for adults; discounts available for children Website: Rosecliff

Check out our article about Newport’s Gilded Age mansions to learn about more mansions you can tour in the area.

11. Lyndhurst (Tarrytown, New York)

First built in 1838, Lyndhurst was owned first by New York City mayor William Paulding, Jr. who hired architect Alexander Jackson Davis to design a mansion in the Gothic Revival style.

This architectural style is evident in the pointed roofs and windows, as well as the castle-like towers and parapets. At the time, this type of design wasn’t very common, and so critics called it Paulding’s Folly for a while.

Lyndhurst

It was then bought by George Merritt, who renamed it Lyndenhurst for the linden trees planted on the estate. He hired Davis again to double the size of the mansion.

Years after Merritt died, Jay Gould purchased Lyndenhurst as a summer home, shortened the name to Lyndhurst, and stayed there until he died in 1862. This is why Lyndhurst is also known as the Jay Gould estate.

Essential Information Address: 635 S Broadway, Tarrytown, NY | 914-631-4481 Hours: Thu–Mon 10am–4pm Cost: Apr to Sep: $20 per head for adults; discounts available for children, seniors, military, and students; Oct to Dec: $24 per head for adults; discounts available for children, seniors, military, and students Website: Lyndhurst Mansion

12. Vizcaya Museum And Gardens (Miami, Florida)

Formerly known as Villa Vizcaya, the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is a sprawling estate developed to conserve the surrounding mangrove swamps and tropical forests.

Vizcaya museum

James Deering, a known conservationist, developed the property from 1914 to 1922. Architect F. Burrall Hoffman designed the estate in the Mediterranean Revival style, influenced by Tuscan Italian Renaissance and Baroque architecture.

When Deering died in 1925, his descendants sold off the surrounding parcels of land one by one. Presently, the main house, formal gardens, and the village are now owned by Miami-Dade county, including the art, antiques, and furnishings.

Today, you can tour the museum and the lovely gardens outside.

Essential Information Address: 3251 South Miami Ave., Miami FL | 305-250-9133 Hours: Wed-Mon 9:30am-4:30pm; Tue closed Cost: $22 per head for adults; discounts available for seniors, children, students, wheelchair users; Free for military with ID and children 5 and under Website: Vizcaya Museum & Gardens

If you plan to spend a weekend in Miami to visit this mansion, try our Miami weekend itinerary .

13. Lynnewood Hall (Elkins Park, Pennsylvania)

Lynnewood Hall was built between 1897 and 1900 for Peter AB Widener, a well-known tycoon. Architect Horace Trumbauer designed this grand home for Widener and his children after he lost his wife.

Trumbauer designed the T-shaped mansion in the Neoclassical style of architecture, inspired by Prior Park in Bath, England, and Ballingarry in New Jersey.

The interiors were furnished with the most expensive materials: walnut and marble, silk and velvet, Persian rugs and Chinese pottery. Art by Raphael, Rembrandt, El Greco, and other notable artists adorned the walls.

Tragically, Peter Widener’s son George and grandson Harry lost their lives when the Titanic sank in 1912, followed by Peter Widener himself in 1915. Joseph, the only surviving son, took over the property and maintained the extensive art collection.

When Joseph Widener died in 1943, neither one of his children wanted to take on the responsibility of maintaining the mansion and the assets. It was abandoned until 1952, when a religious group bought it.

To raise funds, the religious group sold off the assets, such as the mantels, artwork, and even the landscape sculptures.

Lynnewood Hall

Subsequent property tax troubles with the next owners of the mansion resulted in the mansion to be in the market since 2014. At 70,000 square feet, it is the largest surviving Gilded Age mansion in the Philadelphia area, and currently the largest home for sale in the United States.

So if you have an extra $11 million lying around (and an extra $100,000 a year for taxes), you can buy this mansion and have a piece of history, albeit a tragic one.

Essential Information Address: 900-934 Spring Ave, Elkins Park, PA

Biggest Mansions

Megamansions never cease to amaze and intrigue us. Here are the biggest American mansions to date.

14. Biltmore Estate (Asheville, North Carolina)

At 178,000 square feet, the Biltmore Estate is the largest privately-owned home in the United States.

Biltmore Estate

Technically a Gilded Age mansion, architect Richard Morris Hunt designed the Biltmore House Châteauesque-style, reminiscent of the French chateaus in the 16th century.

This is evident in the steep roofs, towers or turrets with conical roofs, the metal cresting on roof ridges, and the arched windows and doors.

George Washington Vanderbilt II and his wife Edith lived in their luxurious family home until his death in 1914. The massive estate remains under the control of the Vanderbilt’s descendants, with The Biltmore Company as the registered owner and family members serving as board members.

Presently, three floors of the Biltmore House, the surrounding gardens, and the winery are available to tour. You can choose among a variety of tours that take you to different parts of the house and the grounds, as well as self-guided, guided, or private tours.

Also, there are various outdoor activities you can do, such as hiking, biking, carriage rides, sporting clays, fly fishing, river rafting, horseback riding, and falconry. Kids can learn about farm animals or simply play on the huge playgrounds.

If you’re feeling tired from the tour, you might want to try out their luxurious spa treatments or even stay overnight in the Village Hotel, The Inn, or Cottage.

Essential Information Address: 1 Lodge St, Asheville, NC | 800-411-3812 Hours: Mon–Sun 9am–5pm Cost: Varies depending on the tours or activities you want to do; check out their list of available tours and activities Website: Biltmore

Planning a trip to Asheville, or planning to stop there for a night while on a road trip? Check out our article on what you can do with one day in Asheville .

15. Oheka Castle (West Hills, New York)

Oheka Castle is a Gilded Age, Châteauesque-style mansion that’s now a luxury hotel.

In 1914, financier and philanthropist Otto Hermann Kahn commissioned the architectural firm Delano & Aldrich to design a country home, specifically asking for the structure to be fireproof, as he lost his previous home in a fire some time ago.

The castle was completed in 1919 and from then on has been the second-largest private residence in America. Oheka Castle is named for the first syllables of O tto He rmann Ka hn’s name.

Oheka Castle

French influences are seen all over the house, from the steep roofs to the arched windows and doors. The grand staircase leading to the second floor was inspired by the Chateau de Fountainbleu in Paris, France.

The mansion sits atop the highest point in Cold Spring Harbor, providing residents a breathtaking view of Cold Spring Harbor and Cold Spring Hills.

The grounds were designed by the Olmsted Brothers and included a formal sunken garden, an 18-hole golf course, a greenhouse complex, tennis courts, an indoor swimming pool, orchards, stables, and even a landing strip.

After Kahn’s death in 1934, ownership of the estate turned over a few times before finally being bought by Gary Melius, who renovated the house and restored the gardens using the original plans by the Olmsted brothers.

Today, after the $40 million restoration project, Oheka Castle is now a luxury hotel, conference center, and a weddings and events venue. It’s also been the filming location for plenty of music videos, movies, and TV specials.

They offer a guided Historic Mansion Tour that offers limited access to the estate and gardens, followed by coffee, tea, and cookies.

Essential Information Address: 135 W Gate Dr, Huntington, NY | 631-659-1400 Hours: Mon-Su, 11am-12pm Cost: Historic Mansion Tour: $25 per head for adults; discounts available for children, students, seniors, and hotel guests Website: Oheka Castle

16. Arden House (Harriman, New York)

Arden House is a sprawling estate known as America’s first conference center.

It’s unique among the other Gilded Age mansions in that it’s an entirely American mansion—the carved wood, paintings, tapestries, marbles, stone, granite, and sculptures were all sourced from, and made, in the United States.

Arden House

The Arden estate was first owned by Peter Pearse Parrott and was named after his wife, Mary Antoinette Arden. Edward Henry Harriman bought the property in 1886. Over the next several years, he bought up forty different parcels of land in the area, and increased the land area of his estate to 28,000 acres.

Harriman commissioned Carrère and Hastings to design what is now Arden House. Construction began in 1905 and was finished in 1909. Sadly, Harriman only lived in it for a few months before he died.

The house had a ton of rooms, including a grand ballroom, a library, a large formal dining room, a bar, as well as numerous bathrooms and bedrooms. The most elaborate and the most preserved of the rooms is the music room styled in Gothic-style architecture.

The Harriman family lived in the estate until 1933, after which they allowed the US Navy to use the Arden House as a convalescent hospital during the Second World War.

In 1950, the Harriman family donated the property to Columbia University, who used it as the “home of The American Assembly,” making it America’s first conference center.

Subsequent owners turned it into a public space, with the intent of eventually selling it to the State of New York, but the plan never materialized.

It is currently owned by the Research Center on Natural Conservation, a Chinese-backed nonprofit organization, who turned the mansion back into a conference center, just as it once was.

Essential Information Address: Harriman, NY Website: Arden House

Strange And Unusual Mansions

From creepy mansions with paranormal backstories to mansions that can withstand hurricanes, here are some of the most curious and odd American mansions.

17. Winchester Mystery House (San Jose, California)

In case you’re wondering, yes, this house belonged to a member of the Winchesters of firearms fame.

William Wirt Winchester was the treasurer of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. He was married to Sarah Winchester. They had an infant daughter who tragically died of marasmus, and William himself died of tuberculosis in 1881.

Legend has it that a Boston psychic convinced Sarah that her family was being haunted by ghosts of those who were killed by Winchester rifles.

The same psychic told her that the only way to appease these spirits is to move out of her home in New Haven, Connecticut, move west to California, and continuously build a home for herself and the spirits.

Sarah followed the psychic’s advice and bought a small eight-room farmhouse in San Jose, California.

After her husband’s death, Sarah Winchester inherited more than $20 million plus an almost 50% ownership of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, giving her an income of around $1,000 per day. This fortune kept the construction and renovation of her mansion going until her death in 1922.

Winchester Mystery House

By the time she was done, the Winchester was a modern marvel with indoor plumbing, hot showers, elevators, and central heating. From 8 rooms, she expanded the house to have 160 rooms, 40 bedrooms, and 2 basements.

More unusually, the mansion contained doors that lead nowhere, staircases that lead straight to ceilings, a Tiffany glass window in a wall where it’ll get no light, and numerous secret passages. A recurring theme in the house is the number 13 and spider web motifs.

After Sarah’s death, the house was auctioned off and then leased by John and Mayme Brown, who then bought the property for themselves after 10 years. They opened the house to the public in 1923, with Mayme Brown serving as the property’s first tour guide.

Today, the Winchester Mansion is owned by Winchester Investments LLC, a company representing the interests of the Browns’ descendants.

The story of Sarah Winchester and her eccentric house has intrigued millions of visitors all over the world, making the house one of the most popular American mansions to visit. Guided tours are available to see more than a hundred rooms in the house.

Essential Information Address: 525 S Winchester Blvd, San Jose, CA | 408-247-2000 Hours: Mon-Sun open 9am; closing hours vary Cost: Varies depending on the tour you want to do; check out their list of their daily and seasonal tours Website: The Winchester Mystery House

18. Acqua Liana (Manalapan Beach, Florida)

Known as the largest, most opulent certified green mansion, Acqua Liana is a 15,000-square-foot mansion on 16 acres of oceanfront property in Manalapan, Florida, close to Palm Beach.

Designed by renowned real state artist Frank McKinney, Acqua Liana features waterfalls, water walls, water gardens, and water floors. A double helix glass staircase, a movie theater, and a 2,000 gallon aquarium bar are just some of the luxurious features of the mansion.

For all its unique features and enormous size, the mansion is certified “green” by three organizations: the US Green Building Council, the Florida Green Building Coalition and Energy Star for Homes. This makes this mansion the first ultra-luxury home to earn a triple certification.

The house was sold for $22.9 million a few years ago, but a brochure and a video tour are still available to provide a glimpse into this environment-friendly mansion.

Essential Information Address: 620 South Ocean Boulevard, Manalapan Beach, FL Website: Acqua Liana

19. Caveland (Festus, Missouri)

What is now known as Caveland started out as a mine on the side of a hill in the 1800s to the early 1900s and was converted into a roller skating rink and concert venue in 1958 by Sue Morris.

The venue closed in 1985 and was bought by the Sleeper family in 2003 from eBay, of all places.

They converted it into their family home, constructing a two-level, 5,000-square-foot house inside. The front chamber contains the living areas, the middle chamber has the laundry room and storage, and the back chamber still has the stage where performers entertained the roller skaters.

The house also features thirty-foot ceilings, large windows on the front to let in as much natural light as possible, and an indoor natural groundwater spring pool.

Its temperature is regulated naturally; no furnace or air conditioning was ever installed.

You can see photos of the construction and of the family on their official gallery .

It’s now listed for sale ; the Sleeper family is ready to downsize.

Essential Information Address: 215 Cave Dr, Festus, Missouri Website: Caveland

20. Eye of the Storm (Charleston, South Carolina)

The “Eye of the Storm” on Sullivan’s Island in Charleston is 230 feet from the beach, with a design that’s quite different from the other houses in Charleston.

Built in 1992, this dome-shaped house is energy-efficient and hurricane-proof. George Paul designed the house for his parents after they lost their house to a hurricane in 1989.

The side of the shell that faces the beach features large windows that provides a view of the beach and a maritime forest.

The dome and the interior design are inspired by the curves of seashells. It has 3 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, an elevator, a wet bar, a skylight, an 889-square-foot deck, and even a bank vault room.

It was renovated in 2018 and put up for sale for $5 million. You can view the photos of the mansion as well as the surrounding areas in their website.

Essential Information Address: 2851 Marshall Blvd, Sullivan’s Island, Charleston, SC Website: Eye of the Storm

Visit one of these American mansions soon!

Plan your next trip to gawk and tour one of these mansions! Or better yet, save up a few hundred thousand dollars and live in one.

Which of these American mansions intrigued you? Know of any mansions that we skipped? Tell us in the comments!

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12 Things To Do In Moscow: Complete Guide To A Unique Idaho City

M oscow, Idaho, is a small city with plenty to offer lovers of the outdoors and culture aficionados. Moscow is the county seat of Latah County in the panhandle region of Idaho. It’s known as the home of the University of Idaho, which is a great campus with galleries and gardens for visitors to explore.

Moscow’s landscape is particularly unique as it is set in the Palouse region , an area between Idaho, southeastern Washington, and even Oregon, known for its peculiar rolling green hills, which make it one of the most beautiful vistas in the state . d.

UPDATE: 2023/08/22 16:57 EST BY NOAH STAATS

There Are More Things To Do While In Moscow, Idaho!

This article has been refreshed with new stops in Moscow, Idaho, as well as tips, tricks, and things to experience in town. From fun waterslides to nature preserves to beer, here are all the reasons Moscow should be on the itinerary this fall and beyond!

Things To Do

Here is everything travelers need to know about planning a great trip to Moscow, Idaho, including the best time of year to visit, where to eat and drink, and the best activities.

Check Out The Historic McConnell Mansion

One thing to do while in Moscow, Idaho, is to go see the McConnel Mansion , located in Moscow's historic neighborhood. Here is where a home built by the former governor sits, now working as a place to learn more about Moscow, as well as see how life and architecture looked back then.

Constructed in 1886, this museum also features period rooms and decor, so it's certainly worth seeing for people in the area.

  • Address: 110 S Adams St, Moscow, ID 83843
  • Hours: Dependent on season/tour

Soak Up The Sun At Hamilton-Lowe Aquatics Center

The next thing to do in Moscow, Idaho, is to check out the Hamilton-Lowe Aquatics Center . Here is where families or groups can enjoy the outdoor seasonal water park with a lazy river, large pool, waterslides & interactive play area.

This aquatic center boasts a great summer itinerary, making it perfect for travelers with children.

  • Address: 830 N Mountain View Rd, Moscow, ID 83843
  • Hours: Open daily from 12 PM to 7:30 PM (Open at 11 AM on Saturdays and Sundays)
  • Tickets: Children 3 and under FREE, Children 4-17 $5.75 including tax, Adults 18-64 $7.75 including tax, Seniors 65+ $5.75 including tax

Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute

Another idea while in town would be to visit the Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute. Here is where people visiting Moscow can explore a 26.2-acre nature preserve in the city, as well as walk around and enjoy the fresh air.

  • Address: 1040 Rodeo Dr, Moscow, ID 83843
  • Hours: Open Monday - Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM

See A Show At The Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre

The next idea for a Moscow, Idaho, visitor is to catch a performance at the city's Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre . Here lies a restored historic theater that offers classic films, community events, and a variety of stage performances.

  • Address: 508 S Main St, Moscow, ID 83843

Cycle Some Of The Palouse Bike Trails

A very popular tourist activity in Moscow is to rent a bike and cycle through some of the Palouse bike trails. A popular trail is the 7-mile Bill Chipman Palouse Trail between Pullman in Washington and Moscow.

  • Admission: Bike rental costs will vary; check out Paradise Bike Rentals
  • Address: The trail end points are SE Bishop Blvd. (Pullman, WA) and Farm Rd. (Moscow, ID)

View The University Of Idaho Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Spend an afternoon checking out the countless plants from across the world in the University’s Arboretum & Botanical Garden . The garden is open every day, from dawn to dusk.

  • Admission: Free
  • Address: 875 Perimeter Drive MS 2281, Moscow, Idaho

Head To The Moscow Farmer’s Market

Visiting the Farmer’s Market is the big thing to do in Moscow and is incredibly popular with locals and visitors alike. It’s held from May to October from 8 am to 1 pm on Saturdays. Check out the fresh produce and enjoy some local performers entertaining the crowds.

  • Address: 101-155 W 4th St, Moscow, ID 83843

Camp Out In Robinson County Park

This campsite is great for those who would like to immerse themselves in nature but also want to be close to town, and the campsite in Robinson is just a ten-minute drive from downtown Moscow. This park has plenty of trails and picnic spots to enjoy.

  • Admission: $20 a night to camp
  • Address: 5168 Robinson Park Rd, Moscow ID 83843

Related: 8 Idaho State Parks To Add To Your Scenic Bucket List

Check Out The Appaloosa Museum & Heritage Center

For those wanting to learn about the history of the beautiful Appaloosa horse breed, native to the Palouse region, the Appaloosa Museum & Heritage Center is a perfect place to spend the afternoon.

Here is where guests can tour the Davis-Gillman Activity Center, Gift Shop, and Picnic Area, all while learning more about this area's rich culture.

  • Address: 2720 Pullman Rd, Moscow, ID 83843, USA
  • 1912 Center: Check out some local art and learn about cultural initiatives in Moscow
  • Address: 412 E. Third St. Moscow, ID 83843

Tour The Third Street Gallery

Next up, guests of the city of Moscow, Idaho, can check out the Third Street Gallery. The Third Street Gallery is located on the second and third floors of Moscow's beautifully renovated and historic City Hall, making that another nice thing to see while here.

  • Address: 206 W 3rd St, Moscow, ID 83843, USA
  • Hours: Seasonally/dependent on art and creators

Skate At The Palouse Ice Rink

Another fun stop in the Moscow area is the Palouse Ice Rink , a fun place to visit for all the family for some ice skating and hockey in the winter and rollerblading during the summer.

This could be a nice location to bring the family, especially for people with young kids.

  • Admission: Adults - $10, Children 6-17 - $8.00, 5 and under free
  • Family Admission (up to 5 members) - $35.00
  • Address: 1021 Harold St, Moscow, ID 83843, USA

Taste Local Moscow Craft Beers

Moscow has a pretty extensive craft beer culture, and it's well worth making a day of visiting some of the local breweries. Here are several great breweries to check out.

Moscow Brewing Company : Be sure to visit Moscow’s first brewhouse for some great history and even better beer

  • Address: 630 N Almon St #130, Moscow, ID

Hunga Dunga Brewing Company - Offering unique IPAs, Stouts, and so much more.

  • Address: 333 N Jackson St, Moscow, ID 83843, USA

Rants & Rave Brewery - A brewery and a grill, what’s not to love?

  • Address: 308 N Jackson St, Moscow, ID, USA

Best Time To Go To Moscow, Idaho

Moscow, Idaho, has a temperate climate with hot summers and cold winters. During the summer months, the temperature can reach into the 90s and can be quite dry. The winters are cold, with temperatures often dropping below freezing and the area receiving some snowfall. Spring and fall are mild, with temperatures ranging from the 40s to 60s.

The best time of year depends on what visitors have planned for the trip. The months of June, July, and August are great for outdoor activities like hiking and biking.

Related: Drive Mesa Falls Scenic Byway & See Idaho's Most Stunning Views

However, in the winter months, there are local mountains and resorts suitable for snowboarding, skiing, and snowshoeing for those interested in winter sports. The Palouse Ice Rink is a popular spot for locals and visitors during the winter, too, and also offers some family-friendly activities the whole year round. Even a scenic road trip can be enjoyable during Idaho's winter .

The city tends to be a bustling hub of activity during its festivals, like the Rendezvous in the Park music festival, which usually takes place on the third weekend in July, or the Moscow Winter Carnival, which takes place in early December.

Best Ways To Get Around Moscow Idaho

Moscow is a very walkable city, and most of the main destinations for tourists can be accessed on foot, especially during the summer. Getting around on a bike is a great option; Moscow has 36 miles of paved trails, so renting a bicycle in town could be a good choice for visitors.

  • Paradise Bike Rentals is a convenient bike rental shop on Main Street.

Moscow also has a public bus system called the Sustainable Moscow Area Regional Transportation or SMART transit that covers two loops, one in the west and one in the east of the town, and the fixed routes are free.

There are multiple taxi and rideshare companies in Moscow, and Uber and Lyft are also available. Here are some local Taxi company options:

  • Moscow Taxi
  • Pegasus Taxi

It’s possible to rent a car coming from the regional Pullman Moscow airport from companies Avis, Hertz, Enterprise, and Budget.

Where To Eat In Moscow, Idaho

Moscow, Idaho, has some great spots for food, drinks, and coffee if visitors know where to look. The food options in Idaho tend to pleasantly surprise visitors. As it's a student town, there are more than a few fun bars too.

Best Breakfast in Moscow, Idaho

One World Café, Breakfast Club, Varsity Diner

Delicious Lunches in Moscow, Idaho:

Shari’s Café and Pies, Einstein Bros Bagels, Stax

Fantastic Dinners in Moscow, Idaho:

Nectar, Tapped - Taphouse & Kitchen, Lodgepole

Great Coffee Shops in Moscow, Idaho:

Café Artista, Bucer's Coffee House Pub, Steam Coffee

Fun Bars in Moscow, Idaho:

John’s Alley Tavern, Mingles Bar & Grill, Neat Whiskey Bar

Where To Stay In Moscow, Idaho

There are a number of hotels and rentals in the city, although some travelers also opt to stay in the nearby Washington state town of Pullman. Here are a few options in Moscow itself:

Highly rated hotels in Moscow Idaho

Best Western Plus University Inn : Room rates at the Best Western Plus University Inn start from $120 per night

  • Amenities: Swimming pool, fitness center, on-site restaurant, and bar
  • Address: 1516 Pullman Road, Moscow, Idaho 83843

Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Moscow : Room rates at the Fairfield Inn & Suites start from $140 per night

  • Amenities: Free breakfast, indoor pool, and fitness center
  • Address: 1000 West Pullman Road, Moscow, Idaho 83843, United States

Mid-Tier hotels in Moscow

The Monarch Motel Room rates at the Monarch Hotel start from $100 per night

  • Amenities: garden/chill-out area
  • Address: 120 W 6th St, Moscow, ID 83843, United States

Hotel Mccoy Pullman Room rates at this property start from $140 per night

  • Amenities: Fitness center, Restaurant, Bar/Lounge, Free Wi-Fi, Free parking
  • Address: 455 Southeast Paradise Street, Pullman, WA 99163

Related: Idaho The Potato State: Why Not Sleep In A Hotel Shaped Like One?

Budget hotels in Moscow Idaho

La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Moscow Pullman : Room rates at La Quinta Inn & Suites start from $130 per night

  • Amenities: Free breakfast, airport shuttle, shuttle to local attractions
  • Address: 185 Warbonnet Dr, Moscow, ID 83843, United States

Super 8 by Wyndham Moscow / Pullman: Room rates at Super 8 by Wyndham Moscow start from $80 per night

  • Amenities: Mobile check-in, Wi-Fi, free coffee & breakfast Item
  • Address: 175 Peterson Drive Pullman Hwy and 175 Peterson Dr, Moscow, ID 83843

Tips For Visiting Moscow, Idaho

Moscow is a University city in north central Idaho and has a population of just over 25,000. It’s about 8 miles east of the Washington State border. It’s been home to the University of Idaho since 1889.

Moscow is served by a regional airport, The Pullman Moscow Airport is four miles west of the city, and the closest major airport is Spokane International Airport in Washington, located within 90 miles east of the city.

From here, visitors can rent a car or arrange a shuffle to get to Moscow; it will take about an hour and 40 minutes.

Related: Explore Idaho's Capital City: The Ultimate Travel Guide To Boise & Things To Do

Moscow is located along Highway 95, which runs north and south through the city. It’s also possible to travel to Moscow by bus from Spokane and Seattle. It’s good to know a little bit about the unique landscape travelers will get to explore when visiting Moscow. It’s part of the Palouse region, which encompasses parts of north central Idaho, southeastern Washington, and a little bit of Oregon.

Its distinctive and peculiar rolling green hills are made of a material called loess, which is mainly dust and silt blown in over thousands of years from the southwest.

After periods of deposition and erosion in harsh weather, unique dune-like shapes formed in the landscape. The Palouse region is a major agriculture zone, mainly for grain production, and it's also a stunning place to experience as a tourist.

How To Spend The Perfect Day In Moscow, Idaho

A perfect day in Moscow will start with a great breakfast, so head to the popular One World Café for a delicious bite to eat and then get ready to take on some of the incredible Palouse biking trails. Rent a bike for the afternoon and take the Bill Chipman Palouse trail nearby by Pullman and back.

Don’t forget to bring a camera. Head for lunch at Stax for some soup and sandwiches, and then visit the University of Idaho campus for a stroll through the arboretum and Botanical Garden. While on campus, check out some of the famous landmarks, like the Kibbie Dome or the Prichard Art Gallery.

In the evening, enjoy a fancy dinner at Lodgepole and polish the evening off with a drink at John’s Alley Tavern.

12 Things To Do In Moscow: Complete Guide To A Unique Idaho City

Virtual Travel

A Smithsonian magazine special report

Travel | June 8, 2020

Take Virtual Tours of These Seven Historic Homes of American Artists

A new book looks at American art through the studios of the masters that made it

Pollock Krasner House-mobile.jpg

Jennifer Billock

Travel Correspondent

Throughout history, people have turned to art in times of strife. American landscape painter Winslow Homer's later work is perceived to be a reaction to what he witnessed during the Civil War. Photographer Alice Austen created a whole series on immigrants coming into New York in the 1890s and being quarantined before they could enter Ellis Island. And, of course, this is evident in the present time, with coronavirus street art and murals memorializing George Floyd springing up around the world.

“In times like this, people do turn to these communal expressions of being human,” says Valerie Balint, author of Guide to Historic Artists' Homes & Studios , the new guidebook for the 44 site museums in the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Historic Artists’ Home and Studios program. “People look to the specific creative voice of humanity at times when other aspects of humanity are being challenged, and certainly artists who are producing in any one of those moments can't help but be impacted by that.”

Balint’s book offers an inside view of the homes and studios of American artists throughout history. Readers can imagine themselves walking through the living room of Weir Farm, the Connecticut home of the grand patriarch of American impressionism, Julian Alden Weir. They can explore the chaotic studio floor at the East Hampton, New York house where Jackson Pollock and his wife, Lee Krasner, lived from 1945 until their deaths in 1956 and 1984, respectively. Readers can inspect the thousands of tiles lining the walls at Henry Chapman Mercer’s Fonthill Castle in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, or take in the statuary of Elisabet Ney’s self-designed sculpture studio in Austin, Texas.

Preview thumbnail for 'Historic Artists' Homes and Studios: A Guide

Historic Artists' Homes and Studios: A Guide

From the desert vistas of Georgia O'Keeffe's New Mexico ranch to Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner's Hamptons cottage, step into the homes and studios of illustrious American artists and witness creativity in the making.

Through the book, it becomes apparent how the personal spaces of these artists impacted their work, potentially giving an idea of how we can embrace our own spaces as we stay home more often than not.

“While we're at home, we are communing with our personal spaces on an extended basis in ways many of us have not done for years,” Balint says. “It's really interesting to examine, at this moment, the incredibly personal spaces where some of the most important visual minds and creatives of American culture did their work. [It’s interesting to examine] the choices they made in terms of location, type of house they wanted to be in, the type of space, and what they surrounded themselves with, and how that fostered these great pieces of art and artistic movements that we still feel connected to today. Seeing how the landscapes informed works of art or how the artists themselves stretched into architectural and landscape practice beyond the confines of the picture frame really makes us remember that creative spirit is limitless. It humanizes these great geniuses of art, and reminds us that creativity resides in all of us.”

Armchair travel to the following American artists’ homes and studios through Balint's book, and then check out the virtual tours available for each site.

Thomas Hart Benton State Historic Site; Kansas City, Missouri

Take Virtual Tours of These Seven Historic Homes of American Artists

Large-scale muralist and painter Thomas Hart Benton lived in this limestone home , built in 1903 by architect George Mathews, with his family until his death in 1975. Benton worked in the carriage barn behind the house, where he spent the majority of his days painting. It was here he created one of his most famous works, A Social History of the State of Missouri , which is on display in Missouri's state capitol building. Benton died in his studio; he always returned to the house for dinner with his family, and one night, he returned to the studio to sign his latest (and last) piece, but collapsed and died before he could. Rita Benton, his wife, died only 11 weeks later, and the house and studio have remained the same ever since, per her wishes.

“We could see ourselves tinkling on the piano and grabbing a drink off of the bar cart in the dining room,” Balint says. “But when you're in the studio, you see all the different parts of process that need to go into making a really large-scale mural. Because of all the detritus that's there, you can actually see this is a very complex process.”

C-SPAN offers a video tour of Benton's home and studio, led by site administrator Steve Sitton. You'll also discover a bit about Benton's personal life.

Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle; Doylestown, Pennsylvania

Take Virtual Tours of These Seven Historic Homes of American Artists

Henry Chapman Mercer’s concrete home and studio , constructed between 1908 and 1912, was of the tilemaker and archaeologist’s own design. Though inspired by European buildings the artist discovered during travels while he was younger, the building completely flouts standard construction methods of the time it was built.

“He just decided he was going to create a concrete castle in the image that he wanted to do it, which meant that he created a new way to use this material,” Balint says. “He completely abandoned any typical ways of planning for an architectural space. He actually just made little models of rooms and then stuck them together. That’s why the outside looks really weird and irregular. So often in architecture, you consider the exterior of the building. But Mercer really cared about how his rooms were going to be in relationship to each other, and how that would all fit together externally was just not as important to him.”

Inside, the home reflects the chaotic nature of its design through the thousands of tiles he used to adorn the walls, ceiling and floors. Mercer created tiles for specific themed rooms, like pink and blue tiles in the Columbus Room designed to reflect Columbus’ voyages and the native people of the places he landed. The 44-room castle is also lined with Mercer’s massive library and ceramics collection.

This three-minute video tour walks you through Fonthill Castle, sharing information about Mercer and the art decorating the walls inside.

Alice Austen House; Staten Island, New York

Take Virtual Tours of These Seven Historic Homes of American Artists

Photographer Alice Austen lived a privileged life, but also one that didn’t conform to modern times. Photography wasn’t considered a suitable profession for a woman; however, her family was wealthy enough that she didn’t need to live off just her earnings. She often shocked society when she donned her corset and bicycled into New York City to capture images of life there, from shoeshine boys to quarantined immigrants. She lived with her partner, Gertrude Tate, in the family home (where she had a small darkroom in an upstairs closet and had to wash her prints in the well outside), even though both their families disapproved of the relationship.

“The Alice Austen House is a nationally-designated LGBTQ site, and I think it offers members of that community a touchstone to go to, to understand the creative practice of a person who was trying to forge her own way within the social conventions and artistic conventions of her time,” Balint says. “She managed to live a life on her terms and created work that was interesting and unique.”

That being said, Austen’s house was typical for the time period, a 1700s Dutch cottage with Victorian and Gothic Revival elements added by her grandfather in 1844. Austen lost everything she owned, including the house, in the 1929 stock market crash. Her family wouldn’t allow her to legally live with Tate afterwards, so she intentionally stayed impoverished and moved into a local poor house where Tate often visited her. Austen died in 1952, and was again denied her wishes to be with Tate—she was buried in the family plot instead of together with her partner.

The Alice Austen House created this virtual tour on Google Expeditions, allowing viewers to walk through the home and overlay historical images onto the modern setting.

Elizabet Ney Museum; Austin, Texas

Elizabet Ney Museum

When sculptor Elisabet Ney built her limestone castle home and studio —at once Texas’ first artist studio and first art museum—in 1892, she was in her 50s and had already reinvented her life several times. She began her career among the German elite, friend to royals and war heroes and working out of a studio in the German royal court. She and her husband, Edmund Montgomery, came to the U.S. in 1871 to escape political turmoil and get medical care for Montgomery. They first lived on a cotton plantation in Texas, where Ney quit sculpting to run the plantation, raise her two children and be a leader in the Texas women’s rights movement.

When her surviving child was grown and out of the house, she built her studio and reclaimed a career as a sculptor. Some of her first commissions were sculptures for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and her masterpiece— Lady Macbeth —is on display at Smithsonian American Art Museum.

“This is a woman who lived nine lives,” Balint says. “She's an incredibly complex person. She basically built her studio to create an artistic enclave. She would hold studio salons right out by the lake. Austin is really known for being an artistic community, and she is the embodiment of what Austin represents. She helped forge it.”

Take a video tour of Elisabet Ney's studio and explore her sculptures on YouTube, led by the museum's curator Oliver Franklin.

Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center; East Hampton, New York

Take Virtual Tours of These Seven Historic Homes of American Artists

About a week and a half after getting married in 1945, abstract expressionists Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner moved into a secluded cedar-shingle home built in 1879. Initially, Pollock painted in an upstairs bedroom while Krasner worked in the back parlor. But Pollock eventually moved his studio out to the barn, where the chaotic marks of his work remain splashed on the floor today. After Pollock’s death in 1956, Krasner moved into the barn studio, and today the walls still echo with the huge arching movements of her painting. The detritus of their work in the barn makes the building itself almost like stepping into a joint Pollock and Krasner painting.

“There are very few places you can go where you can understand process,” Balint says. “The house is so modest, and the studio is so modest, and there's this beautiful bucolic view out to the marshland and the creek. Pollock and Krasner both said they were inspired by this environment. And then you go into the studio, and you look down at the floor, and you look up at the walls, and you just understand being in the process. When you go to the studio, your understanding of the physicality of the process is changed through that experience.”

This YouTube virtual tour of Pollock and Krasner's home and studio, led by site director Helen A. Harrison, describes the history of the site, the artists' styles, and how the residence changed when it became a museum.

Winslow Homer House; Scarborough, Maine

Take Virtual Tours of These Seven Historic Homes of American Artists

In 1883, after gaining fame with oil paintings, watercolors and Civil War illustrations in Harper’s Weekly , painter Winslow Homer gave up urban life in New York City and moved to a coastal retreat in Maine, where he established his home and studio in a two-story Shingle Style carriage barn . Here, Homer dramatically shifted his work as well, from detailed illustrations to pieces reflecting the environment where he lived and worked.

“Works by Homer evoke such emotion for people,” Balint says. “And when you stand in the home, your sense of why you feel what you feel when you look at one of those paintings becomes even more imprinted upon you. You understand suddenly why that type of painting causes a reaction. You can see how a particular view and a particular environment can pull upon an individual soul and their desire to then somehow capture that for others.”

Homer lived a simple life in Maine, though taking time to travel regularly. He didn’t have running water or electricity, and relied on a fireplace for heat. His main goal was to focus on his work and the surrounding environs, leading him to create masterpieces like Weatherbeaten , an 1894 painting of a crashing ocean scene that’s now on display in the Portland Museum of Art.

This YouTube tour through Winslow Homer's studio speaks to artifacts, his career in New York before arriving in Maine, and his personal life.

Weir Farm; Wilton, Connecticut

Take Virtual Tours of These Seven Historic Homes of American Artists

American impressionism takes hold at Weir Farm , a home and studio enclave purchased in 1882 by Julian Alden Weir, a pioneer in the style. The 153-acre farm saw three generations of Impressionist work conducted on the premises, not just by Weir but also by his daughter, Dorothy Weir Young, and her husband, sculptor Mahonri Mackintosh Young, and artists Doris and Sperry Andrews, who bought part of the property after befriending the Youngs. Today, the farm and its picturesque red buildings are one of three major sites devoted to American Impressionism throughout history.

“Because it's multi-generational, you see the kind of studio a painter needs and wants, and then a hop, skip and a jump away is the type of very large studio that a sculptor needs,” Balint says. “You get to understand what the needs are of the different types of art practice in a really great way. Weir Farm is such a representation of what we, as Americans, think of when we think of our tie to the land—something that starts as a family farm and this beautiful pastoralness, and then all these interesting things come together about how we look at land in our culture.”

Follow along with this YouTube video tour to learn more about Weir Farm, its past residents, and the life and history of J. Alden Weir.

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Jennifer Billock

Jennifer Billock | | READ MORE

Jennifer Billock is an award-winning writer, bestselling author, and editor. She is currently dreaming of an around-the-world trip with her Boston terrier. Check out her website at jenniferbillock.com .

These eight stately New Jersey mansions let the public play house

tours of old mansions

  • The mansions' owners range from state governors to African kings.
  • Public tours or open houses are typically available at least once per month.

New Jersey has no shortage of stately manors, but few let the public trample through.

Owned by the state, education centers and nonprofits, the ones that do often come steeped in history. From summer retreats to governor’s mansions, these manors tell the story of the political and industrial forces that shaped their creation and renovation.

The official residence of the governor of New Jersey, Drumthwacket has a large central portico with six frontal columns, reminiscent of the White House.

The Greek revival home with the silly-sounding name was built by Charles Smith Olden in 1835 and housed its first governor when Olden himself took office in 1860. Officially, Drumthwacket has been the official governor's residence only since the 1980s, though it has been owned by the state since 1966.

Drumthwacket was owned and upgraded around the turn of the 20th century by industrialist and banker Moses Taylor Pyne, a Princeton University graduate and trustee. The upgrade included the construction of the Italianate gardens. Now restored, the terraced landscape draws many to the grounds today.

Go: The home itself is open most Wednesdays from September through July for guided tours; 354 Stockton St., Princeton;  drumthwacket.org/visit .

The headquarters of the Passaic County Historical Society, Lambert Castle is open for midday tours from Wednesdays to Sundays from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

The stone-clad, Victorian-era castle was built in 1892 on 53 acres by Catholina Lambert. The onetime president of the Silk Association of America, Lambert built and owned Paterson’s Dexter Mill, and his wealth grew off the mill’s government contracts.

Lambert was also an art lover. He expanded the mansion in 1896 by adding a 150-foot-long art gallery that he opened to the public on Saturdays starting in 1900. (The gallery is no longer there.)

Lambert’s son sold the site to the city of Paterson in 1925, two years after his father's death. The city restored the four-story structure in 2000. Another restoration project is in the works , as the building has some water damage to interior plaster and exterior sandstone. 

Go: The castle hosts a holiday boutique  from early November through early December. This year is the 31st annual boutique, which runs through Dec. 2 (Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.); 3 Valley Road, Paterson;  lambertcastleweb.wordpress.com .

Set in Ringwood State Park is Ringwood Manor, a grand summer estate once owned by the Cooper-Hewitt family. Now owned by the state of New Jersey, the lavishly decorated home provides visitors with the chance to set foot inside a 100-year-old time capsule.

The manor started life in 1807 as a 10-room, Federal-style home to serve the owner of the local ironworks. Today it stands as a 51-room Victorian mansion thanks to Sarah Amelia Cooper Hewitt. She led renovations in 1864, 1875, 1900 and 1910 and placed deed restrictions on the property to ensure its preservation.

Hewitt's son Erksine Hewitt, who served as a captain in the Spanish-American War before developing much of modern Ringwood, donated the site to the state in 1938.

Go: The home is generally open for guided tours Wednesday through Sunday , every hour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is closed most of November to prepare for the December “Victorian Christmas” events;  ringwoodmanor.org .

TEMPORARY CLOSURES: Ringwood's historic state-owned manors closed ahead of holiday events

Built over the course of 12 years starting in 1760, Liberty Hall was to be the retirement home for attorney William Livingston. The first Continental Congress in 1774 and ensuing Revolution-era events, including his election as New Jersey’s first governor in 1776, ended those plans.

Constructed as a 14-room, Georgian-style home, Liberty Hall was later transformed into a 50-room Victorian-style mansion and now museum by subsequent generations of the politically connected Kean family. The Keans first arrived in 1811 and by the late 1970s had converted the property into a museum.

Today, the exterior of the museum at Kean University stands out, with pale yellow paint and black shutters above first-floor white detailing. In the past, presidents Ulysses S. Grant, William Howard Taft and Herbert Hoover walked its halls.

Go: Tours and museum hours typically run from Tuesday through Saturday each week from April to December starting at 10 a.m.; 1003 Morris Ave., Union;  kean.edu/libertyhall .

Built by the son of a railroad tycoon in 1896 to house theatrical productions, polo horses and masquerade balls, Gould Mansion served as the summer retreat for George Jay Gould and family.

The 200-acre estate now serves the academic crowd as part of Georgian Court University in Lakewood. Four gardens, including Japanese and Italian gardens, adorn the site.

The estate, known as Georgian Court under the ownership of the Goulds, also features a rare court tennis facility. Restored roughly a dozen years ago, the facility helped Gould’s son, Jay, become the game’s world and Olympic champion in the early 1900s.

After Gould’s death in 1923, the home was sold to the Sisters of Mercy as the next home of the College of Mount St. Mary. Georgian Court College, as it was renamed to appease its former owner's estate, opened in 1924.

Go: Tours are available today by appointment; 517 Ninth St., Lakewood; georgian.edu/venue/georgian-court-university-mansion .

A villa-style home constructed by glass-making magnate Thomas Whitney in 1849, Hollybush was made more famous by its visitors than its owners.

The home has been a center of education in Glassboro since 1923, when the Glassboro Normal School opened to train teachers on a then-subdivided Whitney estate. The manor served as dorms for students. Later, it was reserved for school presidents.

For one day in 1967, the image of Hollybush was plastered on newspapers worldwide as President Lyndon Johnson and Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin met in its library for Cold War talks.

Now part of the campus known as Rowan University, the Italian-style manor underwent a $3 million renovation starting in 2003. Hollybush is used today as a meeting venue and reception area for school and community functions.

Go:  Tours available by appointment; 501 Whitney Ave., Glassboro;  sites.rowan.edu/hollybush .

Set amid the New Jersey Botanical Garden, Skylands Manor is a Tudor-style mansion built by Jersey City engineer and inventor turned investment banker Clarence McKenzie Lewis.

The lavish home features a marble-lined breakfast room, a Venetian wash basin and a five-sided study covered in oak panels carved with a mythical animal motif from the German Renaissance. Stained glass, marble and woodwork assembled from historic estates in England and New England adorn the structure.

The home was designed by John Russell Pope, famous for the National Gallery of Art and the Jefferson Memorial. The builder, Elliot C. Brown, counted Franklin D. Roosevelt among his clients. Each room has a garden view.

Lewis was a New York Botanical Garden trustee. He sold the property in 1953 but once had 60 full-time gardeners tending the grounds.

The state bought 1,117 acres of the property from Shelton College in 1966, marking its inaugural Green Acres purchase. In 1984, Gov. Thomas Kean designated the 96 acres surrounding the manor house New Jersey’s botanical garden.

Go: 45-minute tours of the house are available at 1 p.m. on selected Sundays; 2 Morris Road, Ringwood;  njbg.org/skylandsmanor.shtml .

Completed in 1912 on 1,000 acres, Natirar is a slate-roofed, limestone-trimmed, 33,000-square-foot Tudor mansion. Its name is the reverse of the nearby river: the Raritan.

Whaling heiress Kate Macy Ladd and her husband, Walter Ladd, built the manor. Rather than throw parties in it, as was the wont of many of their Gilded Age contemporaries, the couple opened a nearby convalescence center for ill women. After Walter Ladd’s 1933 death, the center moved into the mansion, where it stayed for 50 years.

Natirar and its 500-acre surroundings were then sold to the king of Morocco for use by family while his sons attended Princeton University. The king, Hassan II, owned Natirar from 1983 to 2003, when Somerset County bought it and 90 surrounding acres for $22 million.

Today, it operates as a cooking school, corporate retreat and wedding venue under a public-private partnership designed to fund restoration work. Residential units, hotel suites and a spa are all in development for club members, who are invited to join by invitation only.

Go: Membership in Natirar is by invitation only, but it can be booked for events; 2 Main St., Peapack-Gladstone;  natirar.com .

Ringling Manor: The story of 10 Capuchin friars who went from a Nazi concentration camp to Morris

Nostalgia: New Jersey's iconic Fairy Tale Forest to re-awaken

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tours of old mansions

Chicago’s greatest remaining Gilded Age mansions

Remnants of the indulgent bygone era exist throughout the city—if you know where to look

The Gilded Age might seem like a distant memory, but not all of the mansions constructed by the city’s well-heeled social elite between the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and the early 20th Century met the indignity of a wrecking ball.

Today, many impressive residences designed by architectural greats like H.H. Richardson, George Maher, Henry Ives Cobb, and Richard E. Schmidt still stand. Some look backward in their designs, evoking the grandeur of an idealized Europe in Chateauesque and Baroque styles. Others embraced newly emerging architectural trends of the time such as the Arts & Crafts and Prairie School movements.

Though a number of these historic mansions have been adapted and reused as hotels, offices, museums, or condos, some still serve their original purpose by sheltering a single family. Here are 19 of the most significant examples of Gilded Age mansions still standing in Chicago today.

Glessner House

Designed in 1886 for an executive of International Harvester by the famed H.H. Richardson, the Glessner House is a rare survivor along South Prairie Avenue, once the most fashionable address in the city. Now a museum, the house has many of the original furnishings from the family who built it. In order to retain the integrity of Richardson's design, the museum purchased a brick wall of the neighboring building before its demolition to preserve its sheltered courtyard.

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View this post on Instagram A post shared by Marla (@mjmno1) on Jun 5, 2019 at 12:52pm PDT

Cable House

Designed by Cobb & Frost in 1886 for the president of the Rock Island & Pacific Railway, the Cable House is one of only a few houses that remain in the area which once housed many of the city's greatest mansions —now dominated by skyscrapers. It was purchased in 1902 by Robert McCormick to become his son's residence. Today, it is the headquarters of Driehaus Capital Management, owned by Richard Driehaus, the noted preservationist and philanthropist.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by alexis ‍♀️tisbo (@lexi_tisbo) on Mar 4, 2019 at 8:03am PST

McGill House

Designed by Henry Ives Cobb in 1891 for physician and entrepreneur John McGill (an heir to a Canadian-built fur-trading fortune), this Chateauesque mansion has long been a landmark along Drexel Boulevard in Bronzeville. The grand home later went on to become a 34-unit condo development known as McGill Parc.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Alejandro Trujillo (@the_alejandrotrujillo) on Jul 20, 2017 at 1:49pm PDT

Dewes House

Among the most impressive mansions that remain in Lincoln Park is the one built in 1896 by architects Adolph Cudell and Arthur Hercz for brewer and millionaire Francis J. Dewes. The style is officially listed as German Baroque and is a prime example of the eclectic, internationally-inspired tastes that dominated Chicago after the 1893 World’s Columbian Exhibition. The home stands next door to the smaller but equally attractive August Dewes mansion.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Houses of Chicago (@housesofchicago) on Nov 8, 2015 at 7:17am PST

Wood-Maxey-Boyd House

John C. Cochrane, designer of the Illinois State Capitol building, constructed this house in the Douglas area for lumberman George Wood in 1885. The Queen Anne style mansion was purchased in 1948 by Charles Boyde and Dr. Alva Maxey-Boyd and became a center of culture on the South Side. Maxey-Boyd sold the house to a doctor from New York for $450,000 in 2011.

The exterior of the Wood Maxey Body House in Chicago. The facade is red brick and there is green ivy on some of the walls.

Nickerson House

Architect Edward Burling built the house in 1883 for Samuel Nickerson, founder of the First National Bank of Chicago. Known as the “marble palace” for its ornate stone interior, the property has since been restored and now operates as the Driehaus Museum , conveniently located directly across the street from the Cable House.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Christopher Blaise (@cblaiserun) on Feb 11, 2020 at 7:46am PST

Archbishop’s Residence

This imposing mansion and accompanying coach house occupying a large tree-lined lot along State Parkway was built in 1885 under the supervision of Patrick A. Feehan, the first Archbishop of Chicago. Architect James R. Willett, who served as a Union Army engineer in the American Civil War, designed the ecclesiastical residence with an ornate brick and stone exterior topped with turrets, dormers, and 19 chimneys. The residence hosted famous guests like Franklin D. Roosevelt and Pope John Paul II. Tucked away behind the property, you’ll find one of Chicago’s two surviving woodblock alleyways . Restored in 2011, this type of paving was once common throughout the city, but understandably fell out of favor following the Great Chicago Fire.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Chicago - Devon Neff (@devodare_chicago) on Jun 3, 2017 at 4:01am PDT

Patterson-McCormick Mansion

Located at the corner of Astor and Burton streets, the Gold Coast landmark was originally built in 1891 by architect Stanford White for former Chicago mayor and  Chicago Tribune  founder Joseph Medill, who gifted the home to his daughter Eleanor “Cissy” Patterson. Businessman Cyrus Hall McCormick, Jr. later purchased the property and hired David Adler to expand it. After serving as a private school, the historic mansion was converted into condos in 1978. Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan  owned a unit in the building  between 2002 and 2013.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Shelley Warkentin (@shelley_warkentin) on Apr 1, 2017 at 10:50am PDT

Pate-Comiskey House

Famous Prairie School Architect George Maher designed this house in Washington Park for lumberman Davey Pate in 1901. It stands out for its combination of traditional and contemporary elements. It would later be purchased and occupied by Charles Comiskey of Chicago White Sox fame.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Steve (@marquisdefacade) on Feb 6, 2016 at 6:06pm PST

Raber House

Built in 1870 for prominent businessman, developer, and politician John Raber, this rare pre-fire Italianate house in Englewood was more famous for its vast grounds than the actual building. Its six-acre gardens were once so elaborate and extensive that its original address was on State Street. It has languished for several years and is need of a rehab.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Adam Lucarelli (@adamlucarelli) on Feb 21, 2018 at 6:47pm PST

Kent-Gates House

This South Side mansion was built in 1883 by Burnham & Root for Sidney Kent, founder of the Chicago Union Stockyards. It was later home to John "bet-a-million" Gates, who built a fortune in barbed wire and gambled extensively on the stock market. During his time there, it was known as a center of lavish parties for the city's elite. The Kent-Gates House was later converted to apartments and then to condos.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Steve (@marquisdefacade) on Feb 15, 2016 at 5:55pm PST

Colvin House

The landmark Colvin House, designed by George Maher in 1909, is one of the last Gilded Age mansions embodying the wealth of the elite living on the city's far North Side. Following an extensive restoration, the Edgewater property reopened in 2017 as an event and co-working space .

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Colvin House (@colvinevents) on Mar 7, 2019 at 5:53am PST

Madlener House

Built in 1902 by Schmidt & Garden for Albert Madlener, son of a prominent liquor distributor, this Gold Coast residence combines elements of the Chicago and Prairie schools of architecture. It was purchased in 1963 by the educational institution the Graham Foundation and hosts art and design-focused exhibits and programming.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by FRONT International (@fronttriennial) on Mar 23, 2018 at 2:06pm PDT

Theurer-Wrigley House

This 15,000-square-foot north side house was designed by Prairie School architect Richard E. Schmidt for German brewer Joseph Theurer in 1896. It was bought in 1911 by chewing gum magnate William Wrigley, Jr. The mansion has gone on and off the market in recent years and ultimately sold from foreclosure for $4.65 million —roughly one half of the $9 million figure paid by its previous owner.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Ryan Preuett (@ryanpreuett) on Dec 11, 2017 at 1:49pm PST

Wheeler-Kohn House

This Near South Side house, built for banker Calvin Wheeler in the popular Second Empire style in 1870, is a survivor of the Great Chicago Fire and one of the last still standing along Calumet Avenue. It's second owner, clothier Joseph Kohn, updated it by adding a two-story window bay to the front and the elaborate canopy porch. It was threatened with demolition for a parking lot in 1997 before being purchased and converted to a boutique hotel.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Linda Nguyen (@lindaalouuuu) on Nov 6, 2016 at 6:01pm PST

Harriet F. Rees House

The Harriet F. Rees House stands at 2017 S. Prairie Avenue, but that wasn’t always the case. When Cobb & Frost designed the mansion for the widow of real estate developer James H. Rees in 1888, the limestone-clad Romanesque Revival residence was 600 feet away at 2110 S. Prairie Avenue. The landmark home moved in 2014 to make way for a new hotel and arena at the neighboring McCormick Place convention center. Crews used remote-controlled hydraulic dollies with a combined 232 wheels to transfer the 762-ton building—which is believed to be the heaviest residential structure to be moved in the nation’s history.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Chicago - Devon Neff (@devodare_chicago) on Nov 12, 2014 at 5:21pm PST

Marshall Field Jr. Mansion

Solon Spencer Beman designed the Near South Side mansion at 1919 S. Prairie Avenue in 1884. Department store magnate Marshall Field—who was living at 1905 S. Prairie Avenue—purchased the property in 1890 for his son, Marshall Field Jr, and hired architect Daniel Burnham to expand the house to an impressive 30,000 square feet. The South Side structure later served time as a psychiatric hospital before it was restored and partitioned into six luxury condominiums in 2007.

tours of old mansions

William W. Kimball House

Solon Spencer Beman also created this well-preserved home at 1801 S. Prairie Avenue in the Chateauesque style with a limestone exterior adorned with Baroque-inspired ornamentation. Constructed between 1890 and 1892 for wealthy piano manufacturer William Wallace Kimball, the property is currently owned by the U. S. Soccer Federation. The organization uses the former mansion as office space.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by T McDonald Photography (@tmcd.chi) on Mar 2, 2019 at 4:46pm PST

John Henry Raap House

This impressive Wicker Park home is one of the largest historic homes that comprise Chicago Beer Baron’s Row landmark district. Built in the 1880s for liquor merchant John Henry Raap , the stately red brick structure features a Second Empire exterior with a mansard roofline and a sizeable turret. The Raap mansion served as a rooming house during the Great Depression and was later converted back into a single-family home that blended the historic architecture and modern luxuries. The property hit the market in 2018 for $6.49 million, reported Crain’s at the time. The home was briefly offered as a $15,000 per month rental before getting yanked off the market.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Anthony Alfaro (@bbkohmy) on Aug 26, 2018 at 5:30pm PDT

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TravelAwaits

Our mission is to serve the 50+ traveler who's ready to cross a few items off their bucket list.

11 Beautiful Historic Hudson Valley Mansions You Must Visit

tours of old mansions

  • Activities and Interests
  • Architecture
  • Destinations
  • History and Culture
  • Hudson Valley
  • United States

From ancestral homes dating back to pre-Revolutionary War times to opulent mansions that celebrated the prosperity of business magnates during the Industrial Revolution, Upstate New York’s Hudson Valley is full of impressive historic homes.

Filled with impressive art, framing the beautiful valley scenery, preserving America’s rich history, and showcasing elegant architecture, the valley’s historic mansions are sure to excite everyone in your travel party. Be sure to add these ten beautiful mansions in Upstate New York to your Hudson Valley itinerary !

Note: Some of my experiences were hosted. All opinions are my own.

11 Beautiful Historic Hudson Valley Mansions You Need To Visit

1. lyndhurst.

Lyndhurst Mansion in the Hudson Valley, New York.

Just 25 miles north of the Big Apple , the Lyndhurst Mansion sits on 67 acres overlooking the Hudson River. This Tarrytown mansion is an imposing limestone building of sharp angles, narrow hallways, and limited natural light, making it one of the most notable examples of Gothic architecture in the United States. But the average American may recognize it as the spooky setting for movies like House of Dark Shadows and series like 7 Deadly Sins and The Blacklist .

Explore the history, art, and architecture of the former country home of “robber baron” Jay Gould on an hour-long classic tour of Lyndhurst. For some of the best views in Tarrytown, take the Backstairs Tour, which allows guests to climb to the fifth-floor observation tower, where you can look out over the River and see all the way to Manhattan on a clear day.

Pro Tip: Enjoy a beautiful mansion firsthand at the Tarrytown House Estate . Perched on a hill above Lyndhurst, the white porticoed King Mansion is now home to Goosefeather, an upscale Cantonese restaurant, and offers elegant accommodations. You can dig into crispy shrimp bao and sip a signature cocktail in the mansion’s dining room before retiring to one of the beautiful rooms with a view for a unique experience not available at other Upstate New York mansions.

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Kykuit, the Rockefeller estate in the Hudson Valley.

Felix Lipov / Shutterstock

Built on the highest point in Pocantico Hills, Kykuit is an impressive four-story ivy-covered brick mansion surrounded by 87 acres of beautifully terraced grounds overlooking the Hudson River. Four generations of Rockefellers enjoyed this Tarrytown mansion as a summer getaway and winter weekend retreat. This uniquely named mansion is derived from the Dutch word for “lookout,” and it’s easy to understand the inspiration when you gaze out at the wide Hudson River lined with evergreen firs and colorful maples and elms.

While some Hudson Valle y historic sites allow visitors to explore the grounds independently, Kykuit can only be seen via a guided tour. Tour options range in length. Allow at least 2 hours to explore Kykuit, and if you’re interested in viewing the manicured grounds, be sure to select a tour that provides that option.

3. Locust Grove

Poughkeepsie.

Overlooking the Hudson River from a bluff in Poughkeepsie, Locust Grove is an Italianate mansion set on 200 acres; it was once the summer home of Samuel Morse. While you may know him as the man who revolutionized the way the world communicated with the invention of the telegraph and Morse Code, you may not know that Morse was originally a painter.

As his Upstate New York estate was being designed, Morse reminisced about the years he spent enjoying the Italian countryside, sketching his vision for the floor plan and exterior features on scraps of paper given to architect Alexander Jackson Davis.

See the mansion from the gardens and grounds or tour the inside of Locust Grove via a guided tour. Note that this Upstate New York mansion is not ADA-accessible. Visitors should be prepared to walk up several steps to the front door and a flight of stairs to the second floor when visiting.

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4. Springwood

Springwood in Hyde Park, New York. Birthplace and home of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

America’s 32nd president was born in and spent most of his life in the sprawling three-story Italian-style mansion known as Springwood , dubbed “the Summer White House” for the 12 years Franklin D. Roosevelt was in office. The president is now buried in the adjacent rose garden, and his presidential library (the nation’s first) is also on-site.

A ranger-led tour of FDR’s home lasts about an hour and includes a look at original furnishings, artwork, books, photographs, and other Roosevelt family belongings.

Pro Tip: While not as grand and imposing as Springwood, you might also enjoy Val-Kill Cottage , the nearby retreat that Eleanor Roosevelt called home, and Top Cottage in Poughkeepsie, the wooded retreat where the Roosevelts welcomed heads of state and other distinguished guests.

5. Vanderbilt Mansion

Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park, New York, within the Hudson Valley.

Just a few miles up the river from Springwood, the Vanderbilts built a jaw-dropping 54-room, 44,000-square-foot beaux arts country house known as Hyde Park . The interior includes all of the finest finishing touches, from rich wood paneling to European marble.

The Hyde Park estate included greenhouses and a working farm that ensured the Vanderbilts had in-season produce, dairy and meat products, and fresh flowers when they spent time here. On the surrounding 200 scenic acres overlooking the Hudson River, the family enjoyed golf, lawn tennis, and carriage rides.

Since 1940, the National Park Service has managed the property, offering daily public tours.

Pro Tip: Be sure to read Anderson Cooper’s book Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty to learn about the fascinating (and often scandalous) events that took place inside this beautiful Upstate New York mansion.

6. Mills Mansion

Mills Mansion in Staatsburg, New York.

With its two-story front portico supported by eight massive Ionic columns, the Mills Mansion looks like a Greek temple, courthouse, or bank. It was originally a 25-room Greek revival mansion built in the 1830s. Ogden Mills and his wife, Ruth, expanded it into a French chateau-inspired, 65-room beaux arts mansion as the 20th century approached.

When you tour the impressive Gilded Age Mills Mansion, note that it includes all of its original furniture, including the long table and carved chairs in the dining room and all of the pieces in Ruth’s frilly, rose-colored bedroom. As you explore the colossal home sitting on more than 100 acres in this hamlet of Hyde Park, keep in mind that the couple owned four other homes and typically stayed in Staatsburg only from mid-September until Christmastime.

Pro Tip: If you plan on visiting several attractions operated by New York’s state park system, you may want to purchase an Empire Pass . Most sites charge an $8 to $10 admission fee, but for $80, you can purchase an annual pass that gives you access to all of the properties managed as state parks, including historic sites, forests, beaches, trails, and more.

7. Wilderstein

Wilderstein, a mansion in Rhinebeck, New York, within the Hudson Valley.

Wilderstein , a three-story Queen Anne mansion at the center of 40 wooded acres overlooking the Hudson River in Rhinebeck , was Daisy Suckley’s family home for 140 years. And while the rose-tinted Victorian mansion with hunter-green accents and its distinctive circular tower is certainly an impressive sight, so are the gorgeous grounds, where Calvert Vaux (one-half of the dynamic duo who designed New York City’s Central Park ) created an impressive network of carriage drives and walking trails rimmed with native flora and accented by wooden gazebos.

Explore the grounds and exterior of Wilderstein between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. year-round at no charge. Or dive deeper into the property’s history with a guided tour.

Fun Fact: A confidant to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Suckley also bred Scottish terriers, including the World War II leader’s beloved Fala .

8. Clermont

The Clermont mansion in Germantown, New York.

Mike Virgintino / Shutterstock

Seven generations of the prominent Livingston family lived on the banks of the Hudson River in a home dating to pre-Revolutionary War times. The most notable member of the family was Robert R. Livingston . A member of the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence, Livingston was the first chancellor of New York. And as the Empire State’s highest judge, he administered the oath of office to George Washington when he was sworn in as the nation’s first president in New York City in April of 1789.

Now part of New York’s state park system, the Clermont State Historic Site protects one of the oldest riverfront estates in the mid-valley region. Step inside the white house, with dormer windows and moons carved into its shutters, on a guided tour. Or explore the surrounding 500 acres, where you’ll be treated to amazing views of the Hudson River and the Catskill Mountains .

Olana in Hudson, New York. Frederic Church's home.

Just across the Rip Van Winkle Bridge from his mentor’s home and studio, Hudson River School artist Frederic Church built his home, Olana , on a hill overlooking the Hudson River Valley. Working closely with architect Calvert Vaux, who once again left his mark on Upstate New York, Church created an impressive stone-and-brick home adorned with elaborate stencils blending Victorian and Persian architecture.

While many historic mansions in the valley were built as summer or vacation homes, Church and his wife, Isabel, raised their four children at Olana. As one should expect from an artist whose career was largely built around the beauty of the Hudson Valley , the home was designed to accentuate panoramic views of the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains.

The grounds of Olana are a public park, so the exterior of the home, views of the valley, and carriage roads are free to visit from 8 a.m. to sunset. A variety of tours of the grounds and historic home are available, including an electric carriage tour of the 250-acre grounds.

10. Schuyler Mansion

Schuyler Mansion in Albany, New York.

Enjoying renewed fame thanks to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s wildly successful Broadway musical, Hamilton , the childhood home of Eliza Schuyler, Alexander Hamilton’s wife, is the northernmost mansion I recommend visiting. Relatively modest — at least compared to a Gilded Age Vanderbilt or Rockefeller home — this two-story red-brick Georgian mansion is where Hamilton and Eliza wed in 1780.

Once part of an 80-acre farm overlooking the Hudson River, today the Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site occupies just the northeastern corner of the block at Catherine and Clinton Streets. Take a guided tour to explore the beautifully maintained mansion and learn more about the Schuyler sisters — Eliza, Angelica, and Peggy.

11. Boscobel House and Gardens

The original Boscobel was built by wealthy Loyalist States Morris Dyckman in Crugers, NY in 1804. However, after being threatened by demolition due to neglect in the early decades of this century, this Federal-style mansion was dismantled, stored, and finally reassembled as a historic preservation 15 miles north of its original location. 

With a majestic view toward West Point, the new location is maybe the best of any house on the Hudson. The well-appointed grounds include a lush rose garden with scores of different varieties. Apart from the Neoclassical mansion, which has a comprehensive collection of antiques and arts from the Federal period, this 68-acre historic site is also home to a woodland trail. 

Exploring the house with a guide, and then enjoying a picnic in the gardens overlooking the Hudson River, makes for a great way to spend a day. Boscobel hosts various events and performances, including the prestigious Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival , which takes place on the front lawn of the estate each summer. 

Pro Tip: Boscobel is open Fridays to Mondays from May through December.

What Is the Area Along Hudson Known For Besides Mansions?

It is the oldest continuous settlement in the nation and a national historic preservation site that has inspired painters, poets, essayists, and novelists for centuries. It is also home to the Forever Wild Catskill Park, the largest publicly protected area in the United States.

How Much Time Do I Need For a Tour of the Hudson Mansions?

A tour of the mansions can be made in a single day, but a weekend would be even better. You could plan a half dozen visits, with some pleasant dining and an overnight stay in one of the many accommodations in the area. 

What Is the Best Time to Visit Hudson Mansions?

The best time to visit is in early October when the valley is most resplendent with its fall foliage. It is a glorious season and a splendid time to visit these historic sites along the Hudson.

What Are the Most Interesting Mansions Along the Hudson?

The most interesting mansions are those on the eastern shore, along a winding Route 9. The 18th‐century Sleepy Hollow Restorations in Westchester and three 19th‐century estates in the Hyde Park area are especially worth seeing.

Which Mansion in the Hudson Region Is Best for Walks and Picnics?

It depends on individual preferences, but from Vanderbilt estate one of the lanes leads to the river and access to walks and picnic areas along a waterway which is considered as one of the most beautiful and dramatic in the world.

Is it Free to Visit Hudson Valley Mansions?

The accessibility and admission fees for Hudson Valley mansions vary depending on the specific mansion you plan to visit. Some are privately owned and charge an admission fee, while others are open to the public for free or have specific areas that are free to access. We recommend that you check the individual websites or contact the mansions directly to get up-to-date information on admission fees and access policies.

Image of Sage Scott

Bitten by the travel bug as a preschooler when her family moved abroad for the first time, Sage Scott is addicted to travel. From her nomadic upbringing in a military family to her personal and professional travels as an adult, Sage has visited all 50 states, lived abroad twice, and explored nearly 30 other countries.

Now settled in America’s Heartland, Sage writes with a midlife traveler’s perspective from Kansas City — the Midwestern cowtown affectionately called the Paris of the Plains and the undisputed Barbecue Capital of the World — and is always in search of new experiences whether in her hometown or halfway around the world.

13 best historic mansions you can visit in Upstate NY

  • Published: Nov. 10, 2016, 12:30 p.m.
  • Chuck D'Imperio

tours of old mansions

Gary Walts | [email protected]

13 best historic Upstate NY mansions you can visit

By Chuck D'Imperio | Contributing writer

When it comes to regal, historic mansions, Upstate New York has an embarrassment of riches. Lucky for us, many of these are now open to the public. What a fun way to get a glimpse of the glories of another era. Here are a baker's dozen mansions worthy of a look. Of course, there are hundreds of them across the state. Which ones would you add to the list?

tours of old mansions

Stephen D. Cannerelli | [email protected]

Seward House Mansion (Auburn)

Built in 1816 by the Miller family, this became the home of William H. Seward when he married Elijah Miller's daughter, Frances. Seward went on to become a U.S. Senator, New York State Governor and U.S. Secretary of State. The house is now a museum to Mr. and Mrs. Seward's life and times. During one period, while Mr. Seward was travelling overseas, Mrs. Seward harbored runaway slaves in the mansion's' basement!

tours of old mansions

John Renfro via flickr

Schuyler Mansion (Albany)

This historic brick mansion was built in 1761 for Revolutionary War hero General Philip Schuyler.  Many of that era's famous personalities came, visited and stayed the night at this mansion. In fact, Elizabeth Schuyler, Philip's second daughter, got married to Alexander Hamilton in the parlor of this mansion on Dec. 14, 1780.

tours of old mansions

NYup.com file photo

Yaddo (Saratoga Springs)

The present structure was built by financier Samuel Trask after his original home burned down in 1881. The stone and wood Queen Anne Revival mansion is not technically open to the public as it is an active working writer's colony. It is a three-story, tower-topped, 55-room estate encompassing nearly 50,000 square feet. However, the famous Yaddo Gardens, which surround the estate, are visited by thousands each year. The writer's colony here has hosted 66 Pulitzer Prize winners, 61 National Book Award winners and a double Nobel Prize-winning writer (Saul Bellow).

tours of old mansions

Pubdog via Wikimedia Commons

Governor Reuben Fenton Mansion (Jamestown)

Now the home of the Fenton History Center, this Jamestown landmark was built in 1863. The brick mansion known as "Walnut Grove" features a four-story tower and a life-size bronze statue of Gov. Fenton on the front lawn. He was governor of New York from 1869 to 1875. The Italianate Villa design sets this building apart from the other historic buildings in the city. The mansion is filled with period antiques and is a popular venue for public and private events.

tours of old mansions

Jeff Goulding for nyup.com

Olana (Hudson)

This is one of Upstate New York's most visited mansions. Located in Columbia County, this 1872 home incorporates a hodge-podge mix of architectural designs to best reflect the owner's love of world travels. Painter Frederic Church positioned his mansion to take advantage of the breathtaking views of the Hudson Valley in the distance. The valley, and the Hudson River itself, was the subject of many of his most famous paintings. Tours here, of both the mansion and the grounds, are extremely popular, and many interesting public events are scheduled every year. And be sure and ask about the four teapots located on the top of the tower!

tours of old mansions

Michael Greenlar | [email protected]

George Eastman Mansion (Rochester)

This was the home of George Eastman. Today it is a museum which holds the world's largest and oldest photography collections. Eastman, the founder of Eastman Kodak, was a millionaire who spent considerable sums creating this extravagant mansion, which he bequeathed to the University of Rochester at the time of his death. The building lacks nothing in splendor, extravagance and excess. Rooms include a conservatory, billiard room, library, great hall, living room and much more. Note the large African elephant trophy head crashing through the wall above your head in the Conservatory. Guided tours are offered daily. The public is not allowed into Eastman's private bedroom quarters on the second floor where he committed suicide on March 14, 1932.

tours of old mansions

Jay Parker via flickr

Skene Manor (Whitehall)

This 1874 Gothic stone mansion was built overhanging a mountain in Whitehall in 1874. The view from here is spectacular. It is three stories tall, features a clock tower and is made of sandstone blocks quarried from the mountainside by a team of Italian stonemasons. Some call this one of the most haunted mansions in Upstate New York. Tours are given, and many public events are held inside this gorgeous structure.

tours of old mansions

George Fisher | Visit1000Islands

Boldt Castle (Thousand Islands)

This is one of the most popular mansions in all of Upstate New York. Literally thousands of visitors have come to this island mansion over the years. Doomed and sad, the home was a love token built by the millionaire general-manager of the Waldorf Astoria hotel, George Boldt.  The object of this tender souvenir was to be his wife, Louise Kherer Boldt. Unfortunately she died in 1904 before the home was finished and Boldt walked away from it. The mansion, projected to have been one of the largest private residences in the U.S., sat empty and forlorn in the middle of the St. Lawrence River for almost 75 years before preservationists came to its rescue. Tours today reveal the extreme opulence and luxuriousness of what was to be a happy home for Mr. and Mrs. Boldt.

tours of old mansions

apryldenise via flickr

Hyde Hall (Cooperstown)

This home, at the head of Otsego Lake in Cooperstown, has been called the "finest example of neoclassical country house design in the country." Built between 1817 and 1834 for the George Clarke family, the stone mansion consists of dozens of rooms including massive entertaining rooms which feature 20 foot ceilings. Tours are offered, and the view of the lake, referred to as the "Glimmerglass" by native-Cooperstown author James Fenimore Cooper, can be breathtaking.

tours of old mansions

Carol via flickr

Phelps Mansion (Binghamton)

This stunning 1870 mansion was built as the home of Binghamton Mayor Sherman Phelps. The architect of this three-floor Second Empire-style extravagance was Isaac G. Perry, who also worked on the New York State Capitol as the building's last lead architect (1883-1899). The mansion is packed with historic artwork, rare antiques, period furniture and unusual woodwork. Tours are very popular and many public events are scheduled here, hosted by the current owners, the Phelps Mansion Museum.

tours of old mansions

Lizzylane via flickr

Clermont (Germantown)

Seven generations of the famous Livingston family called this mansion home. The estate was built in 1740 on 13,000 acres of lush Hudson River Valley property. Tours of the home and gardens are available, and there is a gift shop and a public event area (many weddings are held at Clermont). A visitor's center tells the story of the famous Livingstons who lived here, including Robert, who swore George Washington into office and who helped draft the Declaration of Independence.

tours of old mansions

Joed Viera for nyup.com

McClurg Mansion (Westfield)

Now the home of the Chautauqua County Historical Society, this residence was built in 1818 for James McClurg, the son of a wealthy Pittsburgh industrialist. The mansion is packed with Victorian collectibles on all three floors and tours are popular. Be sure and check out the extensive collection of antique dolls in the children's nursery room. When it was built, locals called this "McClurg's Folly" for its unusually expansive layout and attention to extravagant design.

tours of old mansions

Heather Ainsworth for syracuse.com

Rose Hill Mansion (Geneva)

With its graceful columned façade, this grand home was built in 1839 and was once one of the great centers for society life and agricultural productivity in the beautiful Finger Lakes community. More than 20 rooms have been restored and are open (seasonally) to the public. Of interesting note is that one of the owners, Robert Swan, invented a method for farming using drain tiles as an irrigation method. Cornell University called this "the greatest agricultural innovation of its time (1850s). The views of Seneca Lake from the front porch are gorgeous.

tours of old mansions

Gary Walts for nyup.com

Rent this Upstate NY mansion for $3K a night

Read more: The 27-room Casa Blanca mansion in the Thousand Islands  could be yours for just $3,000 a night or $20,000 per week.

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Take a look inside Lyndhurst Mansion, a historic 14,000-square-foot Gothic Revival home featured in 'The Gilded Age'

  • Lyndhurst Mansion in Tarrytown, New York, belonged to three elite New York City families.
  • Completed in 1842, the Gothic Revival mansion spans 14,000 square feet.
  • The Max show "The Gilded Age" was filmed inside the mansion and on the 67-acre grounds.

Insider Today

Lyndhurst Mansion in Tarrytown, New York, once belonged to three of New York City's wealthiest, most elite families. Now, it's a museum and an occasional film set for the Max show " The Gilded Age ."

Located around 26 miles from New York City, the mansion was built by former New York City mayor William Paulding Jr. and completed in 1842. It was subsequently purchased by merchant George Merritt and railroad tycoon Jay Gould.

Take a look inside the historic home , including a behind-the-scenes look at its onscreen appearances in "The Gilded Age."

Once a lavish summer escape for New York City's elite families, Lyndhurst Mansion in Tarrytown, New York, is now a museum.

tours of old mansions

I booked an hourlong Classic Mansion Tour, which costs $25 and visits 16 rooms. The full list of tour offerings is available on Lyndhurst Mansion's website .

Seasons one and two of the Max show "The Gilded Age" were filmed inside Lyndhurst Mansion and on the 67-acre grounds.

tours of old mansions

On "The Gilded Age," Lyndhurst appears as the home of characters Charles and Aurora Fane, played by Ward Horton and Kelli O'Hara.

The estate grounds also served as Sheep Meadow in Central Park in the show.

The Carriage House, where horses were fed and groomed, is now the museum's Welcome Center.

tours of old mansions

Built in the 1860s, the carriage house's horse stables have been reimagined as booths.

The gift shop was once the tack room where bridles and saddles were kept.

tours of old mansions

The original metal hooks on the walls that once held saddlery now help display the assortment of clothes, accessories, and other merchandise sold in the gift shop.

Part of the Carriage House was also transformed into The New York Globe office for "The Gilded Age."

tours of old mansions

The New York Globe was a Black newspaper founded by Timothy Thomas Fortune, played by Sullivan Jones in "The Gilded Age."

When the show isn't filming there, the space functions as a screening room in the Welcome Center.

tours of old mansions

Visitors can watch an educational video about Lyndhurst Mansion and its history.

The tour began outside the mansion, where our guide spoke about the three families that owned the property: the Pauldings, the Merritts, and the Goulds.

tours of old mansions

In 1836, former New York City mayor William Paulding and his wife, New York real-estate heiress Maria Rhinelander Paulding, purchased the land overlooking the Hudson River to build a summer home.

Architect Alexander Jackson Davis designed the home and much of its furniture. Construction began in 1838 and was completed in 1842.

In 1864, the Pauldings' son sold the mansion to George Merritt, who made his fortune as the patent holder of a rubber spring used in railroad cars, and his wife, Julia. The Merritts rehired Davis to design an addition to the home, doubling its square footage.

After George's death, Julia sold it in 1880 to Jay Gould , a railroad tycoon and businessman who was one of the wealthiest figures of the Gilded Age, and his wife, Helen Day Miller. Adjusted for inflation, his net worth totaled approximately $71.2 billion.

Gould's daughter, Helen Gould, then took ownership of the property, followed by his youngest daughter, Anna Gould, who married a French aristocrat and spent most of her adult life abroad. After her death, Anna left the Lyndhurst estate to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which manages the site today.

The name "Lyndhurst" came from the Linden trees that the Merritts planted on the property.

tours of old mansions

The Linden trees still grow on the grounds today.

We then moved into the porte-cochère, the enclosed doorway where residents boarded and disembarked from horse-drawn carriages.

tours of old mansions

The Merritts had Davis enclose the open porte-cochère from the Pauldings' era of the house with floor-to-ceiling doors and windows and construct a second porte-cochère outside.

The grand entryway featured a marble floor and four closets.

tours of old mansions

Closets were a sign of wealth, indicating that the owners could afford to use a room's valuable real estate for storage, the tour guide said.

The walls and the ceiling looked like marble, but they were actually handpainted plaster, another sign of wealth.

tours of old mansions

The Merritts could have afforded real marble, but it was more expensive to decorate with faux finishing than actual stone, making it a status symbol for their wealth.

The Parlor, also known as the Drawing Room, was used for family gatherings and entertaining.

tours of old mansions

All of the furniture is original to the Pauldings, the home's first owners from 1842, except for the cabinet in the bay window.

A portrait of George Washington hung in a corner of the Parlor.

tours of old mansions

The piece was painted by American artist Rembrandt Peale.

"The Gilded Age" transformed the room for scenes in the show, though the same blue patterned carpet is still visible.

tours of old mansions

"The Gilded Age" brought all of its own furniture in for filming since the existing furniture pieces are valuable artifacts original to the home.

The formal Dining Room, added as part of the Merritts' renovation, featured a hexagon-shaped table designed by Davis.

tours of old mansions

Staff prepared food in a downstairs kitchen, brought it up on a dumbwaiter, and plated it in a butler's pantry off to the side of the room.

The fireplace was made of red-grain marble, but its columns were handpainted with a marble pattern over plaster and wood.

tours of old mansions

The walls were also hand-stenciled to look like they were covered with leather wallpaper.

The Dining Room featured stunning views of the Hudson River.

tours of old mansions

The Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge would not have been visible in the Gilded Age since it was completed in 2018.

Scenes from "The Gilded Age" were shot in the Dining Room.

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The Dining Room appears in episode three of the first season of "The Gilded Age."

One of the mansion's grandest rooms was the enormous Art Gallery on the second floor.

tours of old mansions

Priceless paintings covered nearly every surface of the walls.

The Pauldings originally used the room as a library.

tours of old mansions

When the Merritts moved in, they turned the Pauldings' old dining room into their library and built the new dining room as part of the expansion.

The Lyndhurst guide called Gould's art collection "one of the finest intact Gilded Age art collections in the country."

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Gould's collection included pieces from French, German, and Spanish artists.

The State Bedroom off the Art Gallery was considered the best guest room in the house.

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The room featured a Tiffany & Co. stained-glass window.

A bathroom in the hallway was furnished with pink double sinks sourced from Trenton, New Jersey.

tours of old mansions

The bathroom also included a claw-foot tub and rain-style shower.

Gould's daughter, Anna Gould, redecorated her late sister Helen's girlhood room and turned it into a guest room.

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Anna Gould continued to sleep in her childhood bedroom when she visited Lyndhurst.

Before electricity, Lyndhurst's wealthy residents used speaking tubes in the walls to communicate with servants.

tours of old mansions

The tubes connected to the butler's pantry downstairs.

Back downstairs, the estate office contained one of the mansion's most valuable artifacts: Gould's "laptop."

tours of old mansions

Gould's 100-pound Wooton desk, known today as his "laptop," held all of his business paperwork and accompanied him to work in New York City every day.

Gould refused to take the railroad to work because it was owned by his archrivals, the Vanderbilts.

tours of old mansions

Even though the railroad passed right by Lyndhurst Mansion, Gould commuted with his desk down the Hudson River on his steam yacht called the Atalanta. The journey took around 45 minutes.

The Vanderbilts also owned a mansion upstate during the Gilded Age in Hyde Park, New York.

Once the mansion tour concluded, the guide encouraged us to spend some time exploring the grounds.

tours of old mansions

The property is full of walking trails, gardens, and scenic picnic spots with views of the Hudson.

I could see why the estate stood in for Central Park in "The Gilded Age."

tours of old mansions

The wooded paths, park benches, and grass lawns looked just like Central Park.

While walking along the river, I stopped inside the bowling alley built for Helen Gould in 1894.

tours of old mansions

The bowling alley can be rented for special events where guests bowl with the lightest possible balls to help preserve the historic space, according to The National Trust for Historic Preservation .

Lyndhurst Mansion and its sprawling estate are worth a visit even if you've never seen "The Gilded Age."

tours of old mansions

With so many notable residents and original furnishings, the home preserves the opulence of the real Gilded Age.

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They don’t build ’em like they used to – and you’ll understand that the moment you enter one of Rhode Island’s breathtaking historic homes. From Colonial-era cottages oozing charm and history to waterfront Gilded Age Newport Mansions that were once the summer homes of the nation’s wealthiest families. These dozens of buildings – some serve as museums, some have become restaurants, hotels, and resorts, while others still serve as private homes – are must-sees.

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McConnell Mansion

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This home is a mixture of the Queen Anne and Eastlake architectural styles, both characteristic of the late 1800s. Architecturally, the McConnell Mansion Museum is important since no other home in the Eastlake style has survived in Idaho. The McConnell Mansion was added to the National Register of Historic Places in November of 1974.

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Watch CBS News

Pro golfer Grayson Murray, 30, died by suicide, family says

By Lucia Suarez Sang

Updated on: May 27, 2024 / 1:35 AM EDT / CBS News

The family of pro golfer Grayson Murray, the 30-year-old whose death  was announced on Saturday, said in a statement Sunday that he died by suicide.

The PGA Tour released a statement on behalf of Eric and Terry Murray, the golfer's parents, who said they "have spent the last 24 hours trying to come to terms with the fact that our son is gone."

"It's surreal that we not only have to admit it to ourselves, but that we also have to acknowledge it to the world. It's a nightmare," the statement said, adding: "He was loved and he will be missed."

The Murrays thanked the PGA Tour and the golf community for its outpouring of support.

"Life wasn't always easy for Grayson, and although he took his own life, we know he rests peacefully now," they said.

2024 PGA Championship - Round One

They asked for privacy and asked people to honor their son by being kind to one another.

"If that becomes his legacy, we could ask for nothing else," the statement said.

The PGA Tour announced on Saturday that the two-time tour winner had died. CBS Sports reported he had withdrawn from the second round of the 2024 Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth.

"I am at a loss for words," PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said. "The PGA Tour is a family, and when you lose a member of your family, you are never the same. We mourn Grayson and pray for comfort for his loved ones."

PGA officials said grief counselors will be made available at all venues this week.

Murray won his second PGA TOUR title at this year's Sony Open in Hawaii. He played golf at Wake Forest University, East Carolina University and Arizona State University before turning professional. He won his first title at the 2017 Barbasol Championship when he was 23 years old.

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or a suicidal crisis, you can reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988. You can also chat with the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline here .

For more information about mental health care resources and support , The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. ET, at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or email [email protected].

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Lucia Suarez Sang is an associate managing editor at CBSNews.com. Previously, Lucia was the director of digital content at FOX61 News in Connecticut and has previously written for outlets including FoxNews.com, Fox News Latino and the Rutland Herald.

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The Breathtaking Mansion In Idaho You Must Visit This Year

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Courtnie Erickson

From Southern Utah to the Panhandle in Idaho, Courtnie Erickson has lived in what she believes are the best (and the most beautiful!) areas in the country. She graduated with a journalism degree from Utah State University and has more than 15 years of professional writing experience. You’ll likely see her with a Dr. Pepper in her hand and a pair of running shoes on her feet. Courtnie is a writer and editor at OnlyInYourState.

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There are dozens of historic homes and mansions located around Idaho that deserve your attention. In fact, we put together a list of 11 historic houses in Idaho that you’ll certainly want to check out. But, whether you are a history buff or you just want someplace new to explore, there is one historic house that deserves a spot on your bucket list — the McConnell Mansion. Located in the town of Moscow, this historic mansion is not only breathtaking and has quite an interesting history, but it is also one of a kind in Idaho.

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tours of old mansions

This mansion is open for tours Tuesday through Friday and occasional Saturdays. Appointments are recommended. You can learn more and schedule your visit on the Latah County Historical Society website .

Have you ever explored the McConnell Mansion in Moscow, Idaho before? What did you enjoy most about your visit? We’d love to hear all about your experience in the comments! If you love historic houses, check out these photos of Idaho from the 1930s . It will certainly open your eyes to a different time in the Gem State.

OnlyInYourState may earn compensation through affiliate links in this article. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

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19-year-old Pennsylvania realtor goes viral for speedy house tours

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GREENCASTLE, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- For anyone who's ever been in the market for a new home, you know the process of touring houses can be exhausting and overwhelming.

Well, that's usually the case unless Trenton Miller of Greencastle, Pennsylvania is your realtor.

The 19-year-old got into real estate about a year ago and has been making waves. Action News' Sarah Bloomquist spoke with the teen about his viral speed tours.

He said he kept seeing boring tour videos online and on social media apps like TikTok, so he decided to switch it up.

Miller has used the 'speedy' approach to his tour videos, each sprinkled with some humor.

Some have said his style is very Gen X.

Miller agreed, saying, "Some realtors take everything too seriously and I believe people are wanting a change."

He also said being a realtor at just 19 years old can be difficult. People are skeptical of his age, but he says he's determined to do the work.

Since his speed tours started, he says business has exploded with millions of views converting clicks into clients.

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    James J. Hill House: St. Paul, Minnesota. 20/51. The Hill House is one of the more unique American mansions. While other homes have more width and depth, Hill House is five stories tall, including a two-story art gallery. It also has a whopping 22 fireplaces.

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    See and hear how the other half lived. This tour will highlight the stories of some of the men and women who worked to service the social whirl of Newport during the Gilded Age. *June 1-Aug. 31, 10:30 am, 2 pm & 3:30 pm. Sept. 1-Oct. 14, 10:30 & 3:30. Oct. 15-Jan. 1, 2025, 10:30 & 2:30. Guide-led Tour.

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    And many are open for guests to tour. Get ready to feel like the lord or lady of the manor as we take a look at 20 luxurious mansions visitors can check out in the U.S. 1. Biltmore Estate (Asheville, North Carolina) Milovzorova Elena/Shutterstock.

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    Uncover one of the last single residence mansion on Fifth Avenue. Visit the oldest building on Millionaire's Row, Fifth Avenue. Make this tour private, schedule it anytime. Starts at $312. Book ...

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    Cost: Historic Mansion Tour: $25 per head for adults; discounts available for children, students, seniors, and hotel guests Website: Oheka Castle. 16. Arden House (Harriman, New York) Arden House is a sprawling estate known as America's first conference center.

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    Region. This home is a mixture of the Queen Anne and Eastlake architectural styles, both characteristic of the late 1800s. Architecturally, the McConnell Mansion Museum is important since no other home in the Eastlake style has survived in Idaho. The McConnell Mansion was added to the National Register of Historic Places in November of 1974.

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