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Against the backdrop of a sheltering Berkshires valley, during summer and fall wander through an intimate environment of outdoor sculpture and elegant gardens nourished by a gurgling stream.
What makes Ashintully Gardens a special place?
The 30-year creation of contemporary composer John McLennan, Ashintully Gardens are a serene retreat in the Berkshires surrounded by forested hills and traversed by a rushing stream. Mr. McLennan’s emphasis on elegant form and proportion in music is expressed through his garden design, which helped Ashintully earn the Hunnewell Medal from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society.
The gardens blend several natural features – a stream, native deciduous trees, a rounded knoll, and rising flanking meadows – into an ordered arrangement with both formal and informal beauty. Among the formal you'll find are the Fountain Pond, Pine Park, Rams Head Terrace, Bowling Green, Regency Bridge, and Trellis Triptych. Urns, columns, and statuary ornament the garden, while foot bridges, foot paths, stone stairs, and grassy terraces connect various parts of the garden.
A short trail up the hill leads to the ruins of the a Georgian-style mansion. In 1903, Robb and Grace de Peyster Tytus discovered the Tyringham Valley on their honeymoon. Soon after purchasing the 1,000 acres that they named Ashintully (Gaelic meaning “on the brow of the hill”), they built a Georgian-style mansion on the hill. The prominent home came to be known as the Marble Palace among local residents because of the way the pure white sand that was used for the stucco reflected the sunlight. In 1952, it burned down after being inhabited by two generations of the Tytus-McLennan family, but its Doric columns remain as testament to a bygone era. The present-day ruins command a striking view of distant Berkshire Hills.
A half-mile woodland trail leads to the ruins of the Marble Palace. Moderate walking. From these ruins, visitors can take in a distant view north through the Tyringham Valley.
When to Visit
Open on Wednesdays and Saturdays only from 1 – 5PM, starting the 1st Wednesday in June through 2nd Saturday in October.