Yesterday my friend Ann treated me to an outing in honor of my November birthday. We headed west to Tarrytown and Lyndhurst. Lyndhurst, named for the linden trees on the property, is an estate that sprang to life in the 1830s as the summer residence for William Paulding, the mayor of New York City. Here we are at Ann's home at the very start of our adventure.
About 25 years later Paulding sold his eight room home to George Merritt, who was responsible for changing the name to Lyndhurst. He also doubled the size of the house, extending it on both ends. Another twenty or so years later Lyndhurst was sold for the final time to Jay Gould, famous (or infamous) for being a railroad tycoon. The more interesting person to inhabit and run Lyndhurst was Gould's daughter, Helen, and then her sister, Anna. You can read a bit more about them and the home's history here.
Our tour covered the main and second floors; if we want to see the below ground floor, which includes the kitchen, and the servant's quarters, we have to return when Lyndhurst reopens in the Spring for the Backstairs Tour. The house was decked out with 21st century holiday ornaments but everything else in the house is original to the house and the owners. Lyndhurst is remarkable for each successive owner opting to keep all the furniture and life of the house as they found it, making very few changes. As a result, it is possible to get a chronological view of the house and its occupants. Indeed, much of the owners' clothing and personal effects are in storage and are taken out periodically for various exhibits.
My favorite part of the holiday decorations were the many hats in what was Jay Gould's music room. Turns out the hats were each custom ordered and made for Anna.
The other fascinating bit were the windows in one of the Hudson River facing rooms. See if you can discern what makes the windows special. (Hint: Look in the lower middle portion of the window.)
After our house tour Ann took us a few miles north where we parked near the main street of Tarrytown and began the second part of our adventure, starting with a leisurely browse (and a purchase or two) at pretty funny vintage. Lunch was at the Sweetgrass Grill on Main Street where we shared a dessert of vegan chocolate mousse (oh my!), followed by eggnog and tea across the street at the Muddy Water Coffee & Cafe, followed by (no, not more food!) a walk along Main Street towards the Hudson and back again on the other side of the street.
And finally, a hearty Thank You to Ann! We have made for ourselves a tradition of taking one another out to celebrate each other's birthdays, and are determined to do this for the next 25 years!