Lieve Maréchal


Top choice in Southern Vermont

The ancestral home of Mary and Robert Lincoln, who was the son of Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln, 412- acre Hildene is a working farm, museum and gallery nestled between the flanks of New York’s Taconic and Vermont’s Green Mountains. 

Visit the sprawling, bucolic estate to stroll the halls of Lincoln’s Georgian Revival mansion, to explore the estate’s 14 historic outbuildings, and to wander the extensive gardens and walking paths. 

What does Hildene mean? 

Literally, Hildene is a marriage of two old English words “hil” meaning hill and “dene,” meaning valley with stream. Practically, it’s a place driven to encourage Abraham Lincoln’s core values: integrity, perseverance, civic responsibility. 

Hildene does this through active involvement in land conservation, historic preservation, sustainability, and civil civic discourse, and striving to inspire and impact every visitor.

Hildene’s history

Robert Lincoln built Hildene as a summer home at the turn of the 20th century. Lincoln’s descendants owned and farmed Hildene until 1975 when the last Lincoln family member passed away and the property was purchased by a non-profit that saved the estate from developers.

A red vintage car outside Hildene - the Lincoln Family Home
Hildene is a combo of two words that means "meaning valley with stream" © Artazum / Shutterstock

Tour Hildene 

Start your tour in the welcome center followed by a self-guided tour of Robert and Mary Lincoln's home. Keep your ears peeled for melodies from the 1,000-pipe Aeolian organ, then wander through the Formal Garden with its famous peonies, stroll the Cutting and Kitchen Gardens, which burst with brilliant blossoms and fragrant herbs all spring, summer and fall.

Peek into the Pullman car Sunbeam, and wonder at Robert's Observatory. If you’re still feeling fresh, and like it’s time to get lost in nature, follow the 12 miles of walking trails, then make a visit to Hildene’s Farm goat dairy and cheese making facility. 

Hildene’s exhibits 

The estate’s exhibits, which include The American Ideal, Abraham Lincoln and the Second Inaugural and Many Voices and new this year, are also included with the price of admission.

Throughout the year, Hildene offers guided tours of the property and educational opportunities in their gardens and farm facilities on everything from peonies to pond critters. The estate’s goal is that every guest leaves “feeling a profound sense of possibility.”

When should I visit Hildene? 

Hildene is open year-round. In summer, after touring the estate’s buildings, explore the 12 miles of walking trails. In winter, the Pavilion adjacent to the Welcome Center rents cross-country skis and snowshoes and the natural and ungroomed trails are open for winter adventure.

Things to do around Hildene 

When you’ve concluded your Hildene tour, stop in Manchester, Vermont, a classic New England town tucked into the mountains and teeming with small shops, a tasty café and restaurants. 

In Manchester, Orvis’ American Museum of Fly Fishing displays rods, flies and angling-related art. The Southern Vermont Arts Center hosts exhibits, performances and a sculpture garden. 

The active and adventurous can hike Mount Equinox on a trail that starts from town or spend an afternoon at nearby Stratton Resort’s new lift-serve bike park, or, in winter, carving turns on the resort’s snowy slopes. 

Grab lunch or dinner at one of Manchester’s exceptional restaurants like Al Ducci’s on Depot Street, which has a neighborhood market vibe and cases filled with authentic, made from scratch Italian foods, or Social House (SoHo), a Mediterranean restaurant with sharing and family-style options run by two restaurateurs reloaded from New York City's French-Seafood restaurant Le-Bernardin

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