Monday, December 5, 2016

Vermont: Christmas time at Hildene in Manchester

In 1905 Robert Todd Lincoln built a summer cottage for his family in Manchester, Vt. He had loved the area since he first visited with his mother and brother Tad in 1863. He spent summers here and in later years even longer for the rest of his life. He named his home Hildene for the old English words for hill and valley with a stream. 

After the death of his granddaughter in 1975, the house was saved by a local group of people who made sure that it would survive to be enjoyed for years to come. It is lovely any time of year with gorgeous views and spectacular gardens. At this time of year, it really shines. Decorated as if it was Christmas 1912, it is a glimpse at a quieter simpler time. 

The magnificent Aeolian player organ serenaded us with a Christmas carol and just really added to the overall feel of the house. 

You tour two floors of the 8,000 square foot home and a friendly docent will be happy to chat with you about anything that interests you. He also gave us some brief historical facts. 

Since I was here last, things have really changed. The carriage house is a beautiful visitor center where you watch two 6 minute videos, one about the house and Robert Lincoln and the other about the Pullman car that has been brought to the grounds. 

You can tour the Pullman car which has been magnificently restored either before or after you visit the house. I highly recommend, however, that you do visit it. 

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