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From its iconic red barn to elegant allee of maples leading to the main house, this lovely property is testament to a celebrated poet's ideal of living mindfully on the land.
What makes the William Cullen Bryant Homestead a special place?
We think it’s the serene vista of the Westfield River Valley that inspired one of America's greatest poets. William Cullen Bryant’s verse celebrates this quintessential American landscape, and helped inspire the 19th-century land conservation movement that involved Frederic Law Olmsted and Charles Eliot, founder of The Trustees of Reservations.
Bryant served as editor and publisher of The New York Evening Post for 50 years. A passionate conservationist and horticulturalist, he used his editorials to rally support for Frederick Law Olmsted’s Central Park. He also was a strong abolitionist who helped Abraham Lincoln win presidential election.
From 1865 until his death in 1878, Bryant summered here at his boyhood home, today a National Historic Landmark. He converted the two-story farmhouse into a rambling three-story Victorian cottage and expanded the sprawling red barn to store apples and pears from his orchards. Inside the house you’ll discover colonial and Victorian pieces from the poet’s family, as well as exotic memorabilia from his extensive European and Asian travels.
The Homestead’s pastoral landscape, largely unchanged for more than 150 years, includes pastures, fields, maple sugar bush (that has been tapped for more than 200 years), and woodlands. A self-guided map highlights the Rivulet Trail, where old growth, including ancient specimens of hemlock and a magnificent cherry tree, rise near the Rivulet, a trickling stream immortalized by Bryant’s 1823 poem of the same name.
The Pine Loop features enormous pines that reach heights of 150 feet – a stand among the tallest in the Northeast. When the Homestead is open, guided tours are available.
2.5 miles of footpaths and carriage roads. Moderate hiking.
When to Visit
Grounds: Year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of 1 hour for the self-guided landscape tour.
Picnic tables year-round.