THE BEATEN PATH IN NEW YORK:
Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden
isn't a hotel and it isn't in Mount Vernon. You've probably
seen it a thousand times while driving past on the FDR -
only one block from the Queensboro Bridge. What is it?
one of the seven oldest buildings in New York City. It's
a day trip with an enchanting garden and a glimpse of New
York in earlier days. It's the Mount Vernon Hotel
Museum & Garden.
Adams Smith and her husband, William Stephens Smith, set
aside 23 acres of the countryside on the East Side of Manhattan
Island in 1795. They began building a country estate named
Mount Vernon, after George Washington's Estate in Virginia.
Until the 1940s, this area of Manhattan was known by that
they ran into some financial troubles, they sold the property
to a wealthy merchant, William T. Robinson. He completed
the Federal style mansion and out buildings. The stone cottage
that houses the museum began life in 1799 as the carriage
house to this great estate.
the main house was destroyed by fire in 1826, Joseph Hart
took over the building and converted it into the Mount Vernon
Hotel. When the hotel opened the city ended at 14th Street.
is now 61st Street was four miles out of town, a short carriage
ride to a relaxing spot in the country. The Museum's site
those days, one could take the stagecoach or steamboat up
to 61st street and spend the day at the hotel sipping lemonade
in the ladies parlor or playing cards in the gentlemens
soup fresh from the river and a day splashing in the clean
waters - yes, it was definitely another era - made the spot
attractive to city folks looking for somewhere to escape
the pre-air-conditioned homes of New York City.
1833 until 1905 the building was home to the family of Jeremiah
Towle. Then it was sold to the Standard Gas Light Company,
which you may know as Con Ed. After a few years as an antique
shop, the Colonial Dames of America took over and in 1939
opened the restored building as the Abigail Adams Smith
2000 the name was changed to the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum
& Garden to match the new focus of the Museum.
Colonial Dames of America do a fine job of keeping the building
and grounds in good condition. The tours are fun for all
ages and a rest in the garden will have you wondering what
century you stepped into.
Museum offers events for adults such as quilting lessons
and classes on vintage furniture. During the summer there
are camps and activities for kids funded by the Manhattan
Chamber of Commerce. Games and music from the period and
an open bar make the Summer Garden evenings entertaining
for both adults and children.
Vernon Hotel Museum
421 East 61st St.
(btwn 1st and York)
New York City, NY
to 59th St.
M15, M31 to 61st Street; M58 to 61st Street and York Avenue
Site of The Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden
A bigail Adams Smith Museum
see -> New