Historical mansions are sometimes famed for their uniformity of style and design, some are known for their sheer size, and others are known for simply being the residences of important figures in a nation’s history. The Grasmere estate, located in the Hudson Valley close to the village of Rhinebeck, is certainly a big old house and was built by Janet Livingston Montgomery, who was the widow of Battle of Quebec hero General Richard Montgomery. However, from the time of its construction to the present time, the house, while lacking a coherent building style due to several additions and renovations over the centuries, is considered to be quirky, eclectic, strange, yet full of character, utterly charming and utterly beautiful.
Originally a delicate, Federal-style mansion built in the early 1800’s after the first home burnt down, in 1861 the then-owners tacked on a strange heavy marble staircase and marble porch to the front entrance along with rounded Victorian style windows on the first floor. Further “improvements” included an additional third floor with windows that didn’t match those on lower floors.
Although the home features what could be declared as strange design elements thrown in from different time periods (such as the lacklustre 1950’s era study and fireplaces in one wing), people who have visited the property find such eccentricities to be refreshing in a world that prizes “stylistic integrity”. And while the property may have its critics, all agree that the 600 acres of land attached to the mansion, which are under no sub development plans, are the key feature to Grasmere’s charm. With stunning views of the countryside and gorgeously matured trees, visitors simply fall under the mansion’s spell.
Grasmere was declared a historical monument in the 1980’s, and the current owners have no plans to subdivide the grounds but plans for a resort are in the works. More information will be presented soon at www.grasmerefarm.com .