Built in 1884 by Joseph and Caroline Choate, Naumkeag was the grand summer home for these well-connected New Yorkers.
But it would fall to their daughter Mabel, after she inherited the property in 1929, to gradually create the surrounding gardens during her 30-year collaboration with the renowned landscape architect, Fletcher Steele.
As a result of this remarkable collaboration the property was developed as a series of individual ‘garden rooms’. There is a sense of exploration as the different garden rooms, each with its unique feel and style, entice you in.
But, in addition to enjoying each of the ‘rooms’ individually, perhaps the genius of Naumkeag is the way the whole landscape knits together in a seamless and flowing manner.
Here is a flavor of some of these ‘rooms:
The Afternoon Room
Coming out of the house you enter the Afternoon Room, a delightful shady space to spend time on a hot summer’s day.
It is decorated with turquoise benches, potted plants and neatly clipped boxwood hedges, while at each corner fiery dragons keep watch:
The Rose Garden
As you stroll along the upper terrace be sure to look down on the distinctive Rose Garden below–actually three sinuous paths carved into the lawn with a single rose bush marking each turn.
The Chinese Garden
From the upper terrace head north and you will discover the hidden Chinese garden with its classic Moon Gate and mystical creatures:
The Evergreen Garden
Enclosed on three sides by tall evergreens this tranquil ‘garden room’ with its large circular pool affords a beautiful view of the distant hills,
The Blue Steps
Finally after strolling across the ‘Oak Lawn our tour finishes at the iconic ‘Blue Steps’.
This dramatic and famous feature is actually a succession of small semicircular pools, each fed from the pool above through the bright blue back walls. White railings mark the outer steps to the upper levels and the whole is surrounded by tall white birch trees.
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