Naumkeag
Stockbridge, MA
48 acres
Bird Watching Mountain Biking Not Permitted Picnicking Dog Walking Not Permitted Quest Guided Tours Restroom Gardens Historic House or Structure Private Function Rentals

About Naumkeag

Learn more about Naumkeag and plan your visit today >>

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. 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
April 14 – May 25, 2018, House and Gardens open Saturday and Sunday only, 10AM – 5PM.
May 26 – October 8, House and Gardens open 7 days/week, including holidays, 10AM – 5PM.
October 10, 2018 – April 12, 2019 Property closed to the public.
November 23 – December 30, 2018 gardens open for Winterlights. House closed for the season.
Please inquire about group tours or special events at 413.298.3239 x3014.
Allow a minimum of 1 hour for the garden, 2 hours if also taking a house tour.

Facilities

  • May 26 to Columbus Day: the grab-and-go Oak Café at Naumkeag features sandwiches, salads, drinks and snacks. Loaner picnic blankets available.
  • There is no indoor dining space, please enjoy our grounds.
  • Public restrooms available.
  • The Shop at Naumkeag offers a curated selection of jewelry, scarves, local crafts, and an array of unusual gifts. Books about the historic architecture firm of McKim, Mead, & White, Naumkeag’s famous architects, as well as volumes on local history, architecture, and gardens are also available for sale. 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, contact Camilla Gray at cgray@thetrustees.org, or call 413.298.3239 x3014.

Regulations & Advisories

Learn more about Naumkeag and plan your visit today >>

  • Access to the house is via guided tour only.
  • Dogs are not allowed in the gardens.
  • Mountain biking is not allowed on the reservation.
  • Naumkeag is not ADA-compliant, due to the age of the site. There are many stairs, a steep hillside, uneven footing, etc.

Greenhouse Restoration
Learn more about the newly restored greenhouses at Naumkeag >>

The Trustees reserves the right to photograph or video visitors and program participants for promotional use, and usage of our properties implies consent. Find the full policy here.

Directions

5 Prospect Hill Road
Stockbridge, MA 01262
Telephone:
  In season (June 1-Oct 8) 413.298.8138
  Off season (Oct 9-November 27) 413.298.3239 x3008
E-mail: naumkeag@thetrustees.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

April 14 – May 25, 2018:
House and Gardens open Saturday and Sunday only, 10AM – 5PM.

May 26 – October 8:
House and Gardens open 7 days/week, including holidays, 10AM – 5PM.

October 9, 2018 – April 12, 2019:
Property closed to the public.

November 23 – December 30, 2018:
Gardens open for Winterlights. House closed for the season.

Please inquire about group tours or special events at 413.298.3239 x3014.
Allow a minimum of 1 hour for the garden, 2 hours if also taking house tour.

Fees
(Admission is to the property, and includes a tour)
Trustees Members: FREE
Nonmembers: $20
Seniors and students 15 and up: $15
Children 6 – 14: $5
Children under 6: FREE

Private Group Tours
Private Group Tours for small groups of 5-10 are available with advance reservations and a non-refundable fee of $25/person nonmember, $15/person members. Tour must be booked at least 48 hours in advance. For more information, call 413.298.8138. Choose from: Beyond the Velvet Curtain: a Backstairs Tour of Naumkeag; The Gilded Age at Naumkeag; Outside/In: an Architecture and Design Tour of Naumkeag.
Pre-booked groups of 15 or more receive a discount. Call 413.298.3239 x3014 for details.

Learn more about Naumkeag and plan your visit today >>

Property History

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.

Choate Family CollectionChoate Family Collection
(0.25 linear feet)
Relating to Joseph H. Choate (1832-1917), focusing on his career and family including daughter Mabel Choate (1870-1958).

Dino Mottarella Dino Mottarella Photographs of Naumkeag
(0.25 linear feet)
Photographs showing workmen working on several projects throughout the gardens in the 1940’s. 

Naumkeag Staff PhotographsNaumkeag Staff Photograph Collection
(0.25 linear feet)
Documenting the lives of the employees at Naumkeag. Many of the photographs were taken in the 1950’s.

Mabel Choate Papers Regarding Naumkeag
(76.5 linear feet)
Papers from Mabel Choate regarding the maintenance and enhancement of the house and grounds of Naumkeag. The papers span the years 1855 to 1958 and also contain materials relating to the Choate Family. 

Fletcher Steele Papers Regarding Naumkeag
(6 linear feet)
Regarding the work of Fletcher Steele concerning the gardens at Naumkeag. The collection features Steele’s annotated order forms for materials used to create the gardens. 

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

When to visit:
October 11 to November 26: Open Saturday and Sunday only, 11AM to 4PM.
April 15 to May 19: Open Saturday and Sunday only, 10AM to 5PM.
May 20 to Columbus Day: Open daily, 10AM to 5PM.

Pre-booked group house tours for 15 or more receive a discount; call 413.298.3239 x3014.

Consult the events calendar for details.

Private Group Tours
Private group tours for small groups of 5-10 are available with advance reservations and a non-refundable fee of $25/person nonmember, $15/person members. Tour must be booked at least 48 hours in advance. For more information, call 413.298.8138. Choose from: Beyond the Velvet Curtain: a Backstairs Tour of Naumkeag; The Gilded Age at Naumkeag; Outside/In: an Architecture and Design Tour of Naumkeag.

Conservation and Stewardship

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.


Maps and Resources

Self-guided landscape tour brochure provided with admission to house and/or gardens.

Additional resources:



Private Functions & Photography

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

Private Group Tours
Private group tours for small groups of 5-10 are available with advance reservations and a non-refundable fee of $25/person nonmember, $15/person members. Tour must be booked at least 48 hours in advance. For more information, call 413.298.8138. Choose from: Beyond the Velvet Curtain: a Backstairs Tour of Naumkeag; The Gilded Age at Naumkeag; Outside/In: an Architecture and Design Tour of Naumkeag.

Planning Your Visit

Learn more about Naumkeag and plan your visit today >>

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