Naumkeag
Find Your Place

About Naumkeag

Naumkeag is getting an extreme makeover! Learn more about our campaign to restore these magnificent gardens.

Experience Gilded-Age style and splendor at this marvelous estate, renowned for its elegant gardens and rare Berkshire “Cottage.”

What makes Naumkeag a special place?
With its gracious house, magnificent gardens, and panoramic views, Naumkeag is a quintessential country estate of the Gilded Age.

This architectural masterpiece is, at its heart, a family home. Joseph Choate, a leading 19th-century attorney, hired the architectural firm of McKim, Mead, & White to design the 44-room “cottage,” Naumkeag, which would serve as a summer retreat for three generations of Choates.

With its views of Monument Mountain, its stunning collection of gardens created by Joseph Choates's daughter, Miss Mabel Choate, and Fletcher Steele over 30 years, its original artwork, and its shingle-style house, Naumkeag creates an unforgettable experience for visitors. Don't miss the self-guided audio tour of the Naumkeag gardens, including the Blue Steps, a series of deep blue fountain pools, flanked by four flights of stairs and a grove of white birches. Walk through the equally beautiful Afternoon Garden, Tree Peony Terrace, Rose Garden, Evergreen Garden, and Chinese Garden to encounter the playful, inventive spirit of Miss Choate and Mr. Steele.

Bequeathed in its entirety in 1958 – from furniture to garden tools to its intact dairy barn – Naumkeag, a National Historic Landmark, provides a special link to Berkshires history. More than that, it is a place where you, like the Choates, can find beauty and rejuvenation in a lovely place.

When to Visit
Open May 24 to October 15, daily, 10AM to 5PM. Allow a minimum of 1 hour for the garden, 2 hours if also taking house tour.

Facilities

  • *NEW* Oak Café at Naumkeag, featuring grab-and-go sandwiches, salads, drinks and snacks, catered by The Red Lion Inn. Loaner picnic blankets available. Check out the menu >
  • Public restrooms available.
  • The Naumkeag gift shop sells books on the historic firm of McKim, Mead & White, Naumkeag' s famous architects, and Fletcher Steele, the landscape architect who worked with Mabel Choate to design and plant Naumkeag's gardens. In addition, visitors can buy post cards and blue and white porcelain.
  • Trustees members receive a 10% discount on all merchandise in the gift shop.
  • Weddings, receptions, small business events may be arranged on a limited basis. For more information, e-mail westregion@ttor.org or call 413.298.3239.

Regulations & Advisories

  • Access to the house is via guided tour only. You may take a self-guided audio tour of the gardens.
  • Photography is not permitted inside the house.
  • Dogs are not allowed in the gardens.
  • Mountain biking is not allowed on the reservation.

Directions

5 Prospect Hill Road
Stockbridge, MA 01262
Telephone:
  In season (June 1-Oct 13) 413.298.8138
  Off season (Oct 14-May 30) 413. 298.3239 x3013
E-mail: westregion@ttor.org

Latitude: 42.290
Longitude: -73.316

Get directions on Google Maps.

From Points East: Mass Turnpike (I-90),
Exit 2. Take Rt. 102 West approx. 5 mi. into
Stockbridge. Turn right onto Pine St. and
bear left onto Prospect Hill Rd. Follow for
0.5 mi. to entrance and parking (20 cars)
on left.

From Points West: I-90 East to Exit B3,
NY Rt. 22 South. Take 1st left onto Rt. 102
East. Follow approx. 7.5 mi. to Stockbridge.
Turn left onto Pine St., then bear left onto
Prospect Hill Rd. Follow directions above.

Admission

When to Visit
Open May 24 to October 15, daily, 10AM to 5PM. Allow a minimum of 1 hour for the garden, 2 hours if also taking house tour.

Fees
Trustees Members: FREE. Nonmembers: house and gardens - Adult $15 (AAA members $13); Child (up to 12) Free. Pre-booked groups of 15 or more receive a discount; call 413.298.3239 for details. Admission includes a garden audio tour.

Property History

Learn about our campaign to restore Naumkeag's gardens to the splendor of their prime.

Since the 1870s, Joseph and Caroline Choate had summered in Stockbridge with their young family. Like so many others, both then and now, they fell in love with the Berkshires and decided to build a summer retreat of their own. In 1884, Choate sought the advice of his friend, Charles McKim, of the architectural firm McKim, Mead & White. The result was Naumkeag – a gracious 44-room “cottage” with breathtaking views over the Housatonic River Valley.

Naumkeag was a creation of the Gilded Age, a time of transformation after the Civil War, a time when Andrew Carnegie and Cornelius Vanderbilt built their fortunes. The newly rich cemented their social position by constructing elaborate European-style country estates. The Choates were part of this social mix, but Naumkeag was a bit different – instead of a showplace open six weeks a season, it became a beloved family home used from April to November.

Naumkeag was the Native American name for Salem, Massachusetts, where Joseph Choate was born. Choate graduated from Harvard Law School and moved to New York City where he quickly rose to prominence. During his illustrious legal career, Choate was the premier courtroom lawyer, arguing cases in front of the Supreme Court. In 1899,Choate was appointed by President McKinley to be the Ambassador to the United Kingdom. Caroline Choate was a trained artist interested in women’s education, co-founding Barnard College.

Their daughter, Mabel Choate, inherited Naumkeag in 1929, and for the next 30 years worked with landscape architect Fletcher Steele to create the magnificent gardens for which Naumkeag is now known, including the world-famous Blue Steps. Today, Naumkeag provides a glimpse – through the eyes of one family – into a brief and now-vanished period of American history.

Mabel Choate bequeathed Naumkeag in its entirety, including all of the household furnishings and fine art, to The Trustees of Reservations. Since the property’s opening in 1959, it has become a popular destination for area residents and visitors to the southern Berkshires. Approximately 11,000 people tour the house and experience the beauty and tranquility of the gardens each year.

Property Acquisition History
Original acreage a bequest, with endowment, of Miss Mabel Choate in 1959. Additional land given by J. Graham and Margaret Parsons in 1985.

Archival Collections
Archival material related to Naumkeag is available to researchers at the Archives & Research Center in Sharon, Massachusetts.

Mabel Choate Papers Regarding Naumkeag
(11.5 linear feet)
Regarding the life of Mabel Choate and other Choate family members, and the house and grounds of Naumkeag, 1855-1958.
In process.

Fletcher Steele Fletcher Steele Papers Regarding Naumkeag
(3.5 linear feet)
Regarding Fletcher Steele’s work on the gardens at Naumkeag, 1926–1959.

Naumkeag Collection
(0.5 linear feet)
Materials regarding Naumkeag, 1903–1905.
Unprocessed collection.

The Archives & Research Center welcomes donations of documents, manuscripts, records, photographs, maps and memorabilia that pertain to a particular property. Please contact us at 781.784.8200 or arc@ttor.org.

Programs

Guided house tours offered Memorial Day Weekend - Columbus Day Weekend, 10AM - 5PM. Last tour departs at 4PM. Members: FREE. Nonmembers: Adult $15 (AAA members $13), Child (6–12) Free. Pre-booked group house tours for 15 or more receive a discount; call 413.298.3239.

You can also take a self-guided audio tour of the Naumkeag gardens. You'll get to experience our three-year garden restoration in action. Learn more!

Consult the events calendar for details.

Conservation and Stewardship

Naumkeag's gardens are in a need of a polish, so we've undertaken a three-year project to return them to the splendor of their prime. Learn more about the campaign to retore Naumkeag.

Management Planning for Our Properties
 


Since 1891, The Trustees of Reservations have worked to protect special places in Massachusetts and maintain them to the highest standards. To ensure these standards are met, a program of careful planning and sound management is essential. Comprehensive property management plans are created for each reservation and are completely updated approximately every ten years. We often work with volunteers, property users, and members of the community to carry out this planning, which typically involves several steps:
 


  • Describing in detail the site’s natural, scenic, and historical resources; identifying management issues related to the protection of those resources. 

  • Describing how visitors use the property; outlining the opportunities that the property provides for people to become involved in the work of conservation and caring for their community.

  • Developing a detailed list of management recommendations, a work plan, and a description of financial needs for implementing the actions.

  • Developing a prescribed routine management program for the reservation that will guide staff work plans, volunteer involvement, and the allocation of human and financial resources.


View Naumkeag management plan (Part 1).
View Naumkeag management plan (Part 2).

Maps and Resources

Self-guided landscape tour brochure provided with admission to house and/or gardens. Souvenir full-color guidebook available for sale in gift shop. You can also take a self-guided audio tour of the gardens.

Additional resources:



Private Functions

Weddings, receptions, small business events may be arranged on a limited basis. For more information, email westregion@ttor.org or call 413.298.3239.

Planning Your Visit

Community Links
Berkshire Visitor Bureau
Gardens of the Berkshires

Before You Go
We encourage you to visit as many Trustees properties as you can.

Wherever your travels take you, please observe all posted regulations, follow special instructions from property staff, and keep in mind the Stewardship Code:

  • Protect wildlife and plants.
  • Guard against all risk of fire.
  • Help keep air and water clean.
  • Carry out what you carry in.
  • Use marked footpaths and bridle paths.
  • Leave livestock, crops, and machinery alone.
  • Respect the privacy of neighboring land.
  • Enjoy and share the landscape with others.

Click on links below for further visitor information:

Before Setting Out

Enjoying Trustees Reservations

Safety

About Hunting on Trustees of Reservations Land

Tell Us What You Think

We’d love to hear about your visit! Here are three easy ways to let us know what you think:

  1. Take our visitor survey. If you have a question for us, you can ask us in the survey and we’ll get back to you.

  2. Post a comment about your visit on our Facebook page.

  3. Share your experiences with other visitors on our website. Simply fill out the form below, and we’ll post your comment right here on this page.


Submitted by SamLacasse on: October 18, 2013
The place is gorgeous! I took a tore today for a class field-trip and it just was absolutely gorgeous. I hope to see it again some time. It was grand and big!



Submitted by Andi on: August 12, 2011
Wow! We took a most fabulous tour today from Dan Brown at Naumkeag! We've spent a few days touring various Berkshire & Catskill historic properties, and our tour at Naumkeag outshines all of them. Mr. Brown was so informative, entertaining and enthusiastic, we left feeling like we'd met the Choate family. The house of course is amazing, but Mr. Brown really brought it all to life.



Submitted by bkahlich on: October 18, 2010
My friends and I enjoyed our visit to the home with Carl as our guide. Thanks to your staff for being so flexible with our schedule. Our visit to Naumkeag was a highlight of our trip to the Berkshires.



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Announcements & Alerts

Naumkeag at Night
Relish the musical performances on Top Lawn at Naumkeag while enjoying the stunning scenery and watching beautiful sunsets from atop our hill in Stockbridge.
See the schedule >>

New for 2014
Oak Café at Naumkeag, featuring grab-and-go sandwiches, salads, drinks and snacks, catered by The Red Lion Inn. Loaner picnic blankets available. Check out the menu >

See Naumkeag like you've never seen it before. Watch this special video:
Naumkeag

The Campaign to Restore Naumkeag

Man of Steele: Discover landscape architect Fletcher Steele's Naumkeag vision in this nifty film.

Upcoming Things To Do

Thursday, August 21
Naumkeag At Night

Thursday, August 21
Children's Discovery Day

Other Trustees Properties You Might Like:

The Mission House
Stockbridge, MA

William Cullen Bryant Homestead
Cummington, MA

Monument Mountain
Great Barrington, MA


Naumkeag in the News

36 Hours in the Berkshires
Jul 3 – The New York Times

En Mass.
Jul 1 – Conde Nast Traveler

Naumkeag's Rebirth
May 1 – Berkshire Magazine