Hildene in Bloom
Celebration of the Peonies at Hildene
Manchester’s most visited historic site is popular in every season, but from late May to mid-June, something really special happens.
An 8,000 square foot Georgian Revival estate, Hildene was built in 1903 by presidential son Robert Todd Lincoln. From its hilltop perch, the home offers incredible views of the valley and surrounding mountains.
A French parterre garden designed in 1907 by Robert and Mary’s daughter, Jessie, is the pièce de résistance of late spring/early summer when it overflows with thousands of fragrant, flamboyant peonies.
If you can get there soon, terrific! If you miss them, not to worry. The kitchen and cutting gardens are coming on and the landscape is lush from here ’til foliage. Plus you can tour the house, visit the Pullman Car exhibit, and shop your way through the curated welcome center. We never leave without some Hildene cheese. But, if you’ve got a green thumb, you can buy a packet of seeds propagated from some of Jessie’s original flowers to plant at home in your garden!
In the summer months, Jessie’s 1928 Franklin Roadster is on display. The story goes that she and her husband John drove the car over 60,000 miles, traveling from their Virginia plantation to their homes in Washington, D.C. and New York and to Vermont. Imagine, touring the country like that!
If you go.
While you’re exploring, save time to see the Hildene Farm where they raise Nubian goats to make the estate’s signature chevre. You can walk down from the Welcome Center or hop on the trolley. If you’re up for a stroll, the campus offers 12 miles of walking trails and a cool floating boardwalk through the Dene. The campus is open daily year round from 9:30 am until 4:30 pm. From June through September, guided tours are offered twice a day — you can sign up at the welcome center. Questions? Call (802) 362-1788 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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We’ve mapped your route through Manchester to pack a picnic basket so you can enjoy one of summer's greatest (and simplest) pleasures.