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    Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden

    Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & GardenIt 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?

    It's 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.

    Abigail 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 name!

    When 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.

    When 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.

    What 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 explains,

    "In 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 gentlemen’s tavern."

    Turtle 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.

    From 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 House Museum.

    In 2000 the name was changed to the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden to match the new focus of the Museum.

    The 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.

    The 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.

    Mount Vernon Hotel Museum
    421 East 61st St.
    (btwn 1st and York)
    New York City, NY
    (212) 838-6878

    Subway Directions:
    New York City subway 4 TrainNew York City subway 5 TrainNew York City subway 6TrainNew York City subway N TrainNew York City subway R Train to 59th St.
    to 63rd St.

    M15, M31 to 61st Street; M58 to 61st Street and York Avenue

    Official Site of The Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden

    NY.com A bigail Adams Smith Museum


    also see -> New York Museums


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