House tour (not our house)

Yesterday we had a little excursion to a nearby estate. It was built by an eccentric millionaire in the 1890s, handed to family in 1946, and acquired by a public institution in the 1960s. It has 1500 acres of land that was mostly turned into woods (from prairie farmland) but there are a lot of nice formal gardens. Sparks and I had been there twice before, including last year to see the peonies, but getting into the house isn’t usually allowed unless you’ve paid several thousand dollars to reserve it for a function. Yesterday, happily, they were giving guided tours for $5 a person.






The Countess in me thinks it’s a nice little place; five good bedrooms upstairs and eight servants’ rooms, a couple of libraries and a couple of dining rooms off of a large hall, a conservatory and a nice staircase. Yes, I could live there.

And we walked through the gardens, too. After a few years of neglect they are being taken care of again. When we were first here in 2010 there weren’t nearly as many flowers.




Espaliered fruit trees, squee.

These fish statues are in several places on the grounds and Mimi always approached them from the rear. It’s an anthropological conundrum.


There she goes again.

The sunken garden. This one is an especial favorite for weddings. This is the first time we’ve been able to get into it.


The peony gardens are walled, and all of the walls are covered in grape vines. They must make wine with it.

And no visit here is complete without a picnic. This is Mimi’s first can of soda ever. She was intrigued, but only drank about a quarter of the can.

4 thoughts on “House tour (not our house)

  1. Thanks for sharing the house tour… it’s lovely and the gardens are fabulous! I bet you would love the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC. If you are ever in the area you should check it out.

    Mimi is such a doll and always smiling!

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