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Edith Wharton and "The Mount"
This past July I visited Lenox, Massachusetts and had a chance to go to "The Mount", the home of Edith Wharton. I haven't read a lot of Edith Wharton, but have liked what I read, Ethan Frome and The Age of Innocence. I also liked the movie of The Age of Innocence. I enjoyed the scenes in the movie of folks at the opera in the late 1800s, as well as seeing houses constructed at the then northern boundary of settlement in Manhattan, around 50th Street!
The Mount is an impressive place. It sits on a large piece of property, and has beautiful gardens. Wharton descibes it better than I can:
"On a slope overlooking the dark waters and densely wooded shores of Laurel Lake we built a spacious and dignified house, to which we gave the name of my great-grandfather's place, The Mount…There for over ten years I lived and gardened and wrote contentedly, and should doubtless have ended my days there had not a grave change in my husband's health made the burden of the property too heavy.
"But meanwhile The Mount was to give me country cares and joys, long happy rides and drives through the wooded lanes of that loveliest region, the companionship of a few dear friends, and the freedom from trivial obligations which was necessary if I was to go on with my writing. The Mount was my first real home…its blessed influence still lives in me."
(From Wharton's autobiography, A Backward Glance. 1934)
There has been a lot of restoration done inside in different styles, although mostly in keeping with the time frame of the original house, except for a leopard-spotted rug that is not original to time or place. The dining room is rather small, but elegant, which is the way Wharton wanted it. She didn't like huge tables sitting a lot of people. It is all set up as if a meal were to be served at any time. Wharton designed the impressive gardens.
The Mount is open May through December.
(Above picture of The Mount taken by the author.)