The following itinerary lists a range of museums, heritage properties and gardens, etc., which we plan to visit. Many are accessible to the public, but some require special permission, which may only be confirmed closer to the tour’s departure. The daily activities described in this itinerary may change or be rotated and/or modified in order to accommodate alterations in opening hours, flight schedules and confirmation of private visits. Participants will receive a final itinerary together with their tour documents. Meals included in the tour price are indicated in the detailed itinerary where: B=breakfast, L=lunch and D=evening meal.
Boston, MA - 4 nights
Day 1: Tuesday 26 September, Arrive Boston
- Welcome Meeting and Orientation
Participants taking the ASA ‘designated’ flight are scheduled to arrive into Boston in the late afternoon. After clearing Passport Control and Customs we transfer to our hotel, located in the heart of historic Back Bay. If you are not taking the ASA ‘designated’ flight please meet your fellow tour members at the Lenox Hotel, or ask ASA to organise a private transfer for you. (Overnight Boston)
Day 2: Wednesday 27 September, Boston
- Guided walking tour of Mount Auburn Cemetery
- Guided walking tour of Harvard University, incl. Glass Flower Exhibit and Museum of Natural History
- Museum of Fine Arts (MFA)
- Welcome Dinner
This morning we depart our hotel for Cambridge, which has played a pivotal role in America’s intellectual, literary and general cultural history. We first visit Mount Auburn Cemetery, that from the beginning was the preferred resting place for famous Bostonians. Inspired by Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, Mount Auburn has the character of an early 19th-century English garden, with gardenesque plantings to suit.
Later this morning we take a walking tour of Harvard University that includes a visit to the Glass Flowers Exhibit in the Museum of Natural History. This is a unique collection of over 3000 models created by glass artisans Leopold Blaschka and his son Rudolf. The commission began in 1886 and continued for 50 years. The collection represents more than 830 plant species.
This afternoon we visit the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), whose collection contains approximately 450,000 objects ranging from Renaissance and Baroque masters’ works to notable examples of Native American crafts. American decorative arts in general are liberally represented, especially those from New England in the years before the Civil War. The MFA is home to one of the world’s most extensive collections of Asian art under one roof — its Japanese art collection is the most sensational outside of Japan. The MFA emphasises their focus on traditions outside of the Western canon, and three important galleries within the Museum explore the art of Oceania, Africa and the ancient Americas. However, it by no means ignores Europe, and there is a considerable amount of attention paid to the Impressionist movement. Along with canvases by Renoir, Manet, Pissarro and American painters Childe Hassam and Mary Cassatt, the museum contains the largest acquisition of works by Claude Monet (around 38) outside of France. This evening we gather for a welcome dinner at a local restaurant. (Overnight Boston) BD
Day 3: Thursday 28 September, Boston – Bristol – Newport – Boston
- Blithewold Mansion, Gardens & Arboretum, Bristol
- Marble House, Newport
- The Breakers, Newport
We drive this morning to Rhode Island, to visit some of America’s most extraordinary houses and gardens. This is the world of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, evoking a past of overwhelming luxury and conspicuous consumption. Newport’s 2.5-mile Bellevue Avenue is lined with the houses of America’s ‘Gilded Age’ elite: the Astors, Vanderbilts, Pierpoint Morgans and others who made Newport Rhode Island their summer home. Mansions along the avenue include: Isaac Bell House, Kingscote, The Elms, Chateau-sur-Mer, Rosecliff (The Great Gatsby and True Lies were filmed here), the Astors’ Beechwood, and horticulturalist and art collector Doris Duke’s Rough Point. A number of gardens here represent the Country Place era, an important period (c.1890-1930) in the development of landscape architecture, when wealthy Americans commissioned extensive gardens for their country estates, emulating gardens they had seen on their European travels. Some of America’s greatest early landscape architects were involved: Frederick Law Olmsted, Charles Adam Platt, Beatrix Farrand and Marian Cruger Coffin.
We first visit Blithewold, a large summer estate with grand views of Narragansett Bay. It is one of the most fully developed and authentic examples of Country Place era properties. The Van Wickle family’s 45-room Queen Anne Blithewold mansion (1896) is filled with family heirlooms. It is framed by a series of lovely gardens ranging in character from the mysterious to the exotic, and from the poetic to the workmanlike. The gardens and greenhouse hold an exceptional collection of rare and unusual plants and specimen trees. A whimsical stonework project gives a unique aura that is romantic, yet fresh and inspiring. In 2010 Blithewold was nominated one of the ‘Best 5 Public Gardens in New England’.
We next visit two monumental houses of the Vanderbilt family, William Kissam Vanderbilt’s (1849-1920) Marble House and Cornelius Vanderbilt II’s (1843-1899) The Breakers. William and Cornelius were both grandsons of the shipping and railroad magnate, ‘Commodore’ Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877), who created the New York Central Railroad.
Marble House (1888-1892) was a social and architectural landmark that set the pace for Newport’s subsequent transformation from a quiet summer colony of wooden houses to a resort of opulent stone palaces. William Kissam’s wife, Alva Vanderbilt, was a society hostess who envisioned Marble House as her ‘temple to the arts’.
Architect Richard Morris Hunt based his design for Marble House on the Petit Trianon at Versailles. Upon its completion, Vanderbilt gave the house to his first wife, Alva, as a 39th birthday present. After William’s death, Alva reopened Marble House and built a Chinese Tea House on the cliffs where she hosted rallies in support of votes for women. She sold the house to Frederick H. Prince in 1932. The Preservation Society of Newport County acquired the house in 1963 from the Prince estate. In 2006, Marble House was designated a National Historic Landmark.
The Breakers (1982-1895) is the grandest of Newport’s summer ‘cottages’ and a symbol of the Vanderbilt family’s social and financial pre-eminence in turn of the century America. Cornelius Vanderbilt II had purchased a wooden house called ‘The Breakers’. In 1892 this house burnt down and Cornelius commissioned architect Richard Morris Hunt to design a villa to replace it. Hunt directed an international team of craftsmen and artisans to create a 70-room Italianate ‘palazzo’ inspired by the 16th-century palaces of Genoa and Turin. Allard and Sons of Paris assisted Hunt with furnishings and fixtures, Austro-American sculptor Karl Bitter designed relief sculpture, and Boston architect Ogden Codman decorated the family quarters. The Vanderbilts’ youngest daughter, Gladys, inherited the house on her mother’s death in 1934. In 1972, the Preservation Society purchased the house from her heirs and today it is designated a National Historic Landmark. (Overnight Boston) BL
Day 4: Friday 29 September, Boston
- Boston Common
- Private Houses and Gardens of Beacon Hill (Hosted by the Beacon Hill Circle of Charity)
- Boston Freedom Trail (optional)
This morning we walk from our hotel, through Boston Common up into the residential community of Beacon Hill. Boston Common, a beautiful English-style park, takes its name from the land’s original use as common pasture for horses and cattle.
The charming historic region of Beacon Hill is bounded by Cambridge Street on the north, Somerset Street to the east, Beacon Street on the south, and Storrow Drive to the west. The Massachusetts State House (1795), designed by the architect Charles Bulfinch (1763-1844), with its lustrous gilded dome, is a prominent landmark on Beacon Street just across from the Boston Common.
Fifty years after the construction of the State House, several wealthy Bostonians, including Bulfinch, formed an association to develop the area known as the ‘South Slope’, as an elegant residential community suitable for elite residents, dubbed ‘Boston Brahmins’. Between 1800 and 1850, although a few stately free-standing mansions were built on the South Slope, most of the homes constructed here were brick row houses, with either flat or bow fronts, built in the Federal style popularised by Bulfinch, or the Greek Revival style, inspired by an interest in everything Greek that swept across America during the 19th century. South Slope has charming brick sidewalks, gaslights, some cobblestoned streets, homes with tall narrow windows, sometimes with purple glass, doors with elaborate brass knockers, wrought iron railings, flower boxes, and beautiful hidden gardens. Over the years, most of the wealthy residents moved away from Beacon Hill to the suburbs. Their houses have been converted to apartments or condominiums for professionals who work close by. Since the area was legislated as a historic district in 1955, concerted efforts have been made to preserve its period architecture.
This morning’s program will be hosted by the Beacon Hill Circle for Charity, who have kindly arranged for us to visit a number of private homes not open to the public. At two of the properties we shall explore the challenges of urban gardening, especially within a heritage precinct. Many of Beacon Hill’s charming old houses had walled yards behind them, used in the 19th century for laundry lines, woodsheds, outhouses, and trash pits. Later residents recognised the potential of these compact outdoor spaces and converted them into pleasant little gardens.
After lunch there is an option to walk a section of Boston’s famous ‘Freedom Trail’. Sites include the New State House, Park Street Church, the Granary Burying Ground, the King’s Chapel, the site of the first public school, the Old Corner Bookstore, the Old South Meeting Hall, the Old State House, the site of the Boston Massacre, and Faneuil Hall. The evening is at leisure. (Overnight Boston) B
Jackson, NH - 2 nights
Day 5: Saturday 30 September, Boston – White Mountains – Jackson
- Kancamagus Scenic Byway (also known as ‘The Kanc’)
- Franconia Notch
- Aerial Tramway to the Summit of Cannon Mountain
- Dinner at the Wentworth Hotel
This morning we depart Boston and drive northwest to the White Mountains. Here we will meet Chris Lewey, a local ecologist and guide who will accompany the group during our stay in this beautiful part of the world, introducing us to the extraordinary and diverse flora and fauna to be found here.
We drive north through famous Franconia Notch, with some of the most spectacular scenery in New England. In Franconia Notch State Park we take the Aerial Tramway to the summit of Cannon Mountain. We shall enjoy a smooth, comfortable ride, viewing awesome alpine panoramas, up to where the spruce and fir are dwarfed and weather beaten, and then observe alpine plants on a short summit walk. On a clear day you can see the mountains of New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, New York and Canada!
We will then travel along the Kancamagus Highway, where our journey down this scenic byway will include a couple of short walks; our guide will present and ‘interpret’ the forest for you whilst allowing you time for photography. The route travels through some 70 kilometres of remote National Forest between Conway to Lincoln.
Mid-afternoon we continue our journey to Jackson, in the heart of the White Mountains. Tonight we enjoy a special dinner at the boutique Wentworth Hotel. (Overnight Jackson NH) BD
Day 6: Sunday 1 October, White Mountains National Forest
- Mount Washington
- Crawford Notch State Park
Today we travel to the highest peak in the northeastern United States, Mount Washington. From the base of the mountain we travel to the summit by cog railway, where we’ll learn about the alpine flora in this extraordinary landscape at 6288 feet. We will have the special opportunity to visit the Mount Washington Weather Station and see the observation room, the living quarters and talk to the people who work here, as well as visit the Summit Museum and see the Mount Washington Post Office (the highest post office in the East!).
From Mt. Washington we turn south on Route 302 through Crawford Notch State Park, source of the Saco River and another wonderful scenic area, remote even from villages. Dinner this evening will be at a local restaurant. (Overnight Jackson NH) BD
Note: If the weather on Mount Washington is poor and a visit to the summit is not possible, an alternative program will be arranged.
Deerfield, MA - 2 nights
Day 7: Monday 2 October, Jackson – Francestown – Hancock – Peterborough – Deerfield
- Private Gardens of Joe Valentine and Paula Hunter – Juniper Hill Farm, Francestown
- Lunch at Hancock Inn
- Private Garden of Michael and Betsy Gordon, Peterborough
We depart early this morning, and journey south to the private residence of Joe Valentine and Paula Hunter in Francestown. Their Juniper Hill Farm gardens surround an 18th-century saltbox house and farmstead that are much as they were 200 years ago. Juniper Hill remains a working farm and home to some of the world’s most endangered breeds of livestock. The 2 acres surrounding the farm might best be described as ‘country formal.’ There is a courtyard garden reminiscent of those at farmhouses in Provence, a formal lilac garden, a boxwood parterre leading into a woodland walk, a whimsical wildflower meadow, a tranquil Mediterranean-inspired ‘clipped green’ garden, a formal potager and a pool house modelled after the Arts and Crafts garden pavilion at Hidcote Manor, Gloucestershire. Scattered throughout the garden are over 150 boxwoods representing 11 different varieties. Because winter interest was an important consideration in the original layout of the garden, strong architectural lines have become a design element. The garden has been featured in several regional and national magazines and the home has been a cover feature in New Hampshire Home magazine. These gardens are also beautifully featured on Joe’s blog, at www.juniperhillfarmnh.com/p/gardens.html.
Next, we drive to the lovely rural town of Hancock, located in southwest New Hampshire, where we shall lunch at the Hancock Inn.
From Hancock we journey south to visit a gem of a small garden in Peterborough, owned by Michael and Betsy Gordon. It’s a superb example of how to garden a small space. Michael Gordon, both plantsman and garden designer, has played a significant role in developing a number of the beautiful gardens and public spaces in the region of Peterborough, New Hampshire. His own small village garden was designed to be an extension of the house. The house and garden are situated on a hill and the garden is terraced on three levels. The two upper levels are laid out formally with yew and boxwood hedges. The lowest level, a work in progress, is an informal woodland garden. The garden is planted with a mixture of unusual trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, and bulbs, selected primarily for their interesting foliage and textures. For further information see also Michael’s gardening blog, ‘Gardener’s Eye‘, which chronicles both his personal garden and the public gardens he works on in Peterborough.
From Peterborough, we travel further south to our charming hotel in Deerfield, Massachusetts. Located on the main street of this historic village, the inn has been welcoming guests since 1884. Tonight we dine together at our lodgings. (Overnight Deerfield) BLD
Day 8: Tuesday 3 October, Deerfield – Westminster West – Deerfield
- Private Gardens of Gordon and Mary Hayward, Westminster West
- Afternoon at leisure to explore Historic Deerfield
- Evening Talk by Gordon Hayward: ‘Fine Painting as Inspiration for Garden Design’
Since 1984, Gordon and Mary Hayward have been developing a garden around their 220-year-old farmhouse in Westminster West. It is divided into several areas: six rectangular island beds with crab apples under-planted with hardy geraniums, a brick walk garden divided by a central pergola, and a woodland garden. A copper beech tunnel links these to the Long Borders, a pair of 80 x 10 foot mixed borders with a post-and-beam gazebo at the end of a lawn path, an outdoor dining area, a four-quadrant herb garden, and a pool garden built on the remains of a 200-year old barn and an abandoned silo base. The Paddock, on the north side of the house, is a lawn area with topiary enclosed by stonewalls built by Dan Snow. Throughout are richly planted terracotta pots and garden ornaments. The most recent addition is a 20-tree orchard of apples, plums, pears and cherries, along with a renovated spring garden that follows the relaxed style of a densely planted meadow. The Haywards’ garden is the subject of their book, The Intimate Garden (2005).
The afternoon is at leisure for you to explore historic Deerfield, an authentic 18th-century New England village in the Connecticut River Valley of Massachusetts, and one of the settings for the 1994 film version of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. There will be time to visit a number of beautifully restored museum houses with period architecture and furnishings.
After checking into our hotel Gordon Hayward will give a lecture entitled Fine Painting as Inspiration for Garden Design. His lecture is based on the theme of his 10th book on garden design, Art and the Gardener. His talk will help link our local garden encounters with the nearby Clark Art Institute, which we shall visit on Wednesday. In Art and the Gardener, Hayward explores the visual language garden designers share with painters and artists such as Thomas Cole, Camille Pissarro, Piet Mondrian, Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, Gustav Klimt and Vincent Van Gogh. Hayward explains how to choose your garden style, the relationship between house and garden, its overall composition and colour, specific design principles, and the roles trees play in a garden. (Overnight Deerfield) BD
Stockbridge, MA - 2 nights
Day 9: Wednesday 4 October, Deerfield – Williamstown – Stockbridge
- The Mohawk Trail & The Green Mountains, Southern Vermont
- Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown
- Naumkeag, Stockbridge
This morning we view the Fall foliage of Southern Vermont as we make our leisurely way south through the Mohawk Trail and Green Mountains to Williamstown. Here we shall visit the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, one of America’s best collections of American painting and sculpture and a breathtaking corpus of French Impressionists that Clark collected whilst living in Europe in the early 20th century; you will see many very familiar works and wonder how one private collector could possibly have amassed such an extraordinary corpus of masterpieces.
In the afternoon we visit Naumkeag, a typical country estate of the ‘Gilded Age’ with a gracious Shingle Style house, magnificent gardens, and panoramic views. Stanford White, of the famous architectural firm of McKim, Mead, & White, who designed many of America’s greatest buildings like the New York Public Library and the West Wing of the White House, designed this family home for Joseph Choate, a leading 19th-century attorney. The house is a masterpiece, with extraordinary views of Monument Mountain, and a stunning collection of gardens created by Joseph Choates’ daughter, Mabel Choate and Fletcher Steele over 30 years. The gardens include the Blue Steps, a series of deep blue fountain pools flanked by 4 flights of stairs and a grove of white birches. There are also the Afternoon Garden, Tree Peony Terrace, Rose Garden, Evergreen Garden, and Chinese Garden.
In the late afternoon we continue our journey to Stockbridge, a charming historic town where we will stay. (Overnight Stockbridge) BD
Day 10: Thursday 5 October, Stockbridge – Lenox – Stockbridge
- The Mount – Edith Wharton’s Home, Lenox
- Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge
- The Mission House, Stockbridge
This morning we drive to the nearby town of Lenox to visit The Mount, novelist Edith Wharton’s ‘first real home’ where we shall take a tour of both the house and grounds. Wharton planned the house and its sumptuous interiors, applying the principles in her own book, The Decoration of Houses, and designed the garden, and in this grand home she sat in bed every morning and wrote books like The House of Mirth, The Fruit of the Tree and The Custom of the Country. Henry James, who travelled with Wharton in Europe and was a frequent guest at The Mount, described it as “an exquisite and marvelous place, a delicate French château mirrored in a Massachusetts pond”.
The 100-acre-property included a drive lined with sugar maple trees, an English-style meadow, an American suburban lawn, gravel walks, an elaborate rock garden, fountains and terraces with views over the lake, as well as a working farm. Wharton’s design includes a rock garden with grass steps, a landscape feature rarely seen in America. Wharton’s niece, Beatrix Farrand, designed the kitchen garden. Wharton lived here in summer and fall between 1903 and 1908, overseeing improvements and fresh plantings and once wrote that “it looks, for a fleeting moment, like a garden in some civilized climate”. The estate has recently undergone a massive restoration. Trees were revitalised or replaced and nearly 3000 annuals and perennials planted in the flower garden, the crown jewel of the four-year restoration of the formal landscape. The Italianate walled garden and its rustic rock pile fountain have been completely restored.
Following a boxed lunch provided by The Mount, we return to Stockbridge to explore the wonderful work of 20th-century artist and illustrator, Norman Rockwell. His art has been hugely popular in America and often appears in American films. Rockwell wrote extensively about art and depicted in his pictures the main street of Stockbridge, once an Indian Mission and now a lovely village.
The final visit for the day is to The Mission House, built in 1739 by Reverend John Sergeant. Landscape architect Fletcher Steele later created a Colonial Revival garden including the Dooryard Garden, a kitchen garden, an orchard garden, and a grape arbor. (Overnight Stockbridge) BL
Tarrytown, NY - 2 nights
Day 11: Friday 6 October, Stockbridge – Garrison – Tarrytown
- Manitoga (Russel Wright Design Center), Garrison
- Union Church of Pocantico Hills
We spend the morning making our way from Stockbridge to the Hudson Valley. A contemporary testament to the harmonious coexistence of nature and architecture, Russel Wright’s Manitoga nestles amidst the woodlands of the Hudson River Valley. Wright (1904-1976), a famous industrial designer whose legacy continues in the successful Russel Wright Studios (New York and Burbank, California), acquired the 75-acre property in 1942. He built a house and studio directly into the side of a former quarry, collectively referred to as ‘Dragon Rock.’ Manitoga, whose name means ‘place of great spirit’, is an integrated landscape encompassing his modernist, open design house and studio and grounds. Wright blurred the traditional boundaries between interior and exterior by walling his house and studio with huge areas of glass that bring the surrounding woodland into interior spaces, and by incorporating materials found on the site. Innovative construction methods and details exemplify his philosophy of domestic efficiency and economy of space. In 2001 the not-for-profit Manitoga, Inc. acquired ownership of the property, initiated its conservation, and opened the site to the public.
We shall explore this beautiful light-filled house and the surrounding woodland before continuing to our hotel in Tarrytown. En route we visit the Union Church, an unassuming country church that happens to contain a stained glass window by Henri Matisse, his last work before his death in 1954, and nine windows by Marc Chagall. (Overnight Tarrytown) B
Day 12: Saturday 7 October, Tarrytown – Sleepy Hollow – Tarrytown
- Kykuit, the Rockefeller Estate, Sleepy Hollow
The Hudson River Valley was the site of the first Dutch settlement in America (1610). It saw French and Indian wars and was one of the major regions of clashes during the Revolution. It has seen such conflict that it’s been dubbed ‘America’s Rhine’. This morning we explore superb Kykuit Estate, a hilltop paradise that was home to four generations of Rockefellers. The Estate, a monumental Neo-Palladian house set in grand formal terraced gardens, holds an extensive collection of sculpture and a collection of classic vehicles from horse-drawn carriages to cars. (Overnight Tarrytown) B
East Hampton, NY - 1 night
Day 13: Sunday 8 October, Tarrytown – Purchase -Westbury – East Hampton
- The Donald M Kendall Sculpture Gardens
- Old Westbury Gardens
This morning we drive first to Purchase where we visit the Donald M Kendall Sculpture Garden. Located at the Pepsico World Headquarters, this is a remarkable collection of sculpture set within a garden designed by Russell Page who worked carefully to relate the art works to their environment. The gardens continue to be developed and since Page’s death in 1985 the process has been taken up by internationally acclaimed designer Francois Goffinet.
We continue on to Westbury to visit the large and traditional house and garden, Old Westbury. This grand mansion was built by John S. Phipps, the son of a steel baron, for his British wife Margarita and their four children. Phipps employed English architect George A. Crawley to design the mansion, which is furnished throughout with English antiques and decorative arts. The house sits within 200 acres of woodlands, formal gardens and landscaped grounds. (Overnight East Hampton) BL
New York, NY - 3 nights
Day 14: Monday 9 October, East Hampton – New York
- Pollock-Krasner House
- Long House Reserve
This morning we drive to Pollock-Krasner House. In 1945 Jackson Pollock and his new wife, artist Lee Krasner, purchased this small homestead using a loan from Pollock’s mentor Peggy Guggenheim. Lee had a studio area in the back parlour, and Jackson painted in an unheated upstairs bedroom. In June 1946, he had the barn moved from behind the house to the north side of the property and renovated it as his studio and it is here that Pollock produced his most famous paintings, including Autumn Rhythm (Metropolitan Museum of Art), Convergence (Albright-Knox Art Gallery), Blue Poles (National Gallery of Australia) and Lavender Mist (National Gallery, Washington DC).
We then drive to the nearby LongHouse Reserve, located in East Hampton. The reserve is a 16-acre garden with established lawns, ornamental borders, plant collections and outdoor sculpture, planned by the internationally recognised textile designer, Jack Lenor Larsen. The gardens include a collection of over 90 sculptures, including ceramics and bronzes by Toshiko Takaezu and bronzes by Costantino Nivola. Other well-known sculptures include Blue Cobalt Spears by Dale Chihuly; The Fly’s Eye Dome, designed by Buckminster Fuller; Play it By Trust by Yoko Ono; Reclining Figure by Willem de Kooning; Irregular Progression by Sol LeWitt; and a gravity-defying kinetic sculpture by Takashi Soga. Overlooking lotus-filled Peter’s Pond stand two black figures, Rabdomante by Magdalena Abakanowicz and, at the end of David’s walk, Tumbling Women by Eric Fischl.
At the conclusion of our tour we shall enjoy a boxed lunch in the garden then travel to New York to the Hotel Beacon located on the historic Upper West Side, which will serve as our base for the next 3 nights. (Overnight New York) BL
Day 15: Tuesday 10 October, New York
- Guided tour: Lower Manhattan
- Afternoon at leisure
This morning we will take the subway down to Lower Manhattan for a long and gentle walk that will pass many well-known sites including Wall Street, the 9/11 Memorial, Trinity Church and City Hall. The afternoon is at leisure for you to further explore the city’s museums and monuments. (Overnight New York) B
Day 16: Wednesday 11 October, New York
- The Frick Collection
- The High Line
- Lunch in the Garden Room of The Park restaurant
We commence this morning with an audio-guided tour of the Frick Collection, housed in the former home of Henry Clay Frick (1849-1919). This is one of the preeminent small art museums of the US, featuring well-known masterpieces by major European artists, as well as numerous works of sculpture and porcelain, 18th-century French furniture, Limoges enamel and Oriental rugs. It also includes the 1913-14 ‘Fifth Avenue’ garden with its Neoclassical urns and limestone façade, the ‘Garden Court’ designed by John Russell Pope to replace the open carriage court of the original residence; and the soft and intimate ‘Seventieth Street Garden’, designed by Russell Page in 1977.
After this visit we continue by public transport to Gansevoort Street, where we commence our tour of the High Line, a public park built on an historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. The High Line is owned by the City of New York and maintained and operated by Friends of the High Line. During our walk, we shall make a diversion to The Park for lunch. Designed by Eric Goode and Sean MacPherson, this legendary restaurant includes a spectacular 400-square-foot garden room that has Japanese Maple trees and wisteria vines. (Overnight New York) BL
Philadelphia, PA - 3 nights
Day 17: Thursday 12 October, New York – Wayne – Philadelphia
- Chanticleer Garden, Wayne
We depart New York this morning for Philadelphia, making a detour in Wayne to visit Chanticleer, often referred to as ‘the most romantic, imaginative, and exciting public garden in America’. Adolph Rosengarten, Sr, head of the chemical company Rosengarten and Sons, bought the land on which the garden was created in 1912. Most of the floral and garden development that today surrounds the beautiful gamble roofed white house has been effected since 1990. ‘The garden is a study of textures and forms, where foliage trumps flowers, the gardeners lead the design, and even the drinking fountains are sculptural’. Seven horticulturists are each responsible for the design, planting, and maintenance of a particular area. The areas are continually evolving, each with a unique feel, yet joined together visually and spatially as one complete unit. There are lawns, woods, flower gardens, courtyards, a Ruin Garden and adjacent dry gardens, as well as the ‘Old Tennis Court’ gardens. The character is predominantly English – with an Arts and Crafts American accent. (Overnight Philadelphia) B
Day 18: Friday 13 October, Philadelphia – Brandywine Valley – Philadelphia
- Mt Cuba Center, Hockessin, Delaware
- Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square
This morning we travel to the historic Brandywine Valley of southeastern Pennsylvania and northern Delaware, home to a wonderful assortment of world-class museums and gardens.
Our first visit is to the Mt Cuba Center, located in Hockessin, Delaware, which Mrs Lammot du Pont Copeland founded as her home. In 1935 the Copelands built a Colonial Revival manor house they named ‘Mt. Cuba’ and soon afterwards, with the assistance of designer Thomas W. Sears, began developing the original agricultural landscape into a series of garden spaces. In the 1950s, the Copelands hired Marian C. Coffin to design the Round Garden, which has a swimming pool in the shape of a Maltese cross at its centre. Seth Kelsey designed the woodland wildflower gardens in the 1960s. The Copelands took a particular interest in plants native to the Appalachian Piedmont region. From the time they moved in until Mrs. Copeland’s death in 2001, the gardens grew in both the number of individual plants and the diversity of appropriate species. Today, the Mt Cuba Center that maintains the gardens is dedicated to the study, conservation and propagation of native plants of this region. It is recognised as having the region’s finest woodland wildflower gardens.
Our day concludes with a visit to Longwood Gardens, one of the premier arboretums in the country. The Peirce family acquired the land now occupied by the gardens from William Penn in around 1700; they named it Long Woods. Two members of the family, Joshua and Samuel Peirce, began planting exotic trees there in 1798. The industrialist Pierre Samuel du Pont acquired ‘Peirce’s Park’ in 1906, and renamed it Longwood. He drew inspiration from contemporary books and visits to European gardens and the garden grew by the addition of major features, but without an overall plan. The gardens now occupy 1050 acres (425 hectares) and contain extensive collections of native, tropical, and subtropical plants, totalling some 11,000 different varieties. There is a Flower Garden, a Sundial Garden, a Rose Garden, an Italian Water Garden (modelled on the Villa Gamberaia, Italy) and a Fountain Garden. DuPont was particularly interested in fountains and used them in his musical entertainments, in the manner of Versailles. The conservatory houses 4 acres of indoor garden. In the late afternoon we return to Philadelphia, where the evening is at leisure. (Overnight Philadelphia) BL
Day 19: Saturday 14 October, Philadelphia
- Private Garden visits with Jack Blandy
- The Barnes Foundation, Parkway Museum District
- Farewell Dinner
Our last morning of visits will take us to the outskirts of Philadelphia where we will visit two privately owned gardens designed by Jack Blandy, one of the most distinguished landscape designers and horticulturalists of the Delaware Valley. He has won numerous awards throughout his career, including six ‘Best in Show’ awards at the Philadelphia Flower Show, and The American Horticultural Society Citation for Garden Design. In 2015 he was awarded the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s highest honour, ‘The Distinguished Achievement Gold Medal’. Jack is the founder of Stoney Bank Nurseries where is son, also a landscape architect, is now the president.
In the afternoon we transfer to the new Barnes Foundation located on Benjamin Franklin Parkway, for an audio-guided tour of their collection. Located on 4.5 acres, the vast two-storey building houses the Foundation’s art collection in an exhibition space that replicates the scale, proportion, and configuration of the original galleries in Merion. Designed by architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, it is described as a ‘gallery in a garden, a garden in a gallery.’ Boasting a textured grey-and-gold Ramon limestone exterior and a glass canopy that glows at night, the building is a breathtaking addition to the Parkway Museum District. It includes a number of sustainable features, including a green roof and a 40,000 gallon rainwater cistern to water the Olin-designed gardens. But the true draw is the Barnes Collection, arguably America’s finest collection of Impressionist and Modernist works, including 181 Renoirs, 69 Cézannes and 59 Matisses, along with works by Manet, Degas, Seurat, Titian and Picasso. This collection will deepen your understanding of the European landscape tradition that has enriched American landscape painting and gardening. This evening we enjoy a farewell dinner at one of Philadelphia’s local restaurants. (Overnight Philadelphia) BD
Day 20: Sunday 15 October, Depart Philadelphia
- Airport transfer for participants departing on the ASA ‘designated’ flight
Our tour ends in Philadelphia. Passengers travelling on the ASA ‘designated’ flight will transfer to the airport for the return flight to Australia. Alternatively, you may wish to extend your stay in the USA. Please contact ASA if you require further assistance. B