Lovers of history and architecture should not miss Hildene on their next trip to Killington, VT. Hildene, also known as the Lincoln Family Home, is the former summer home of Robert Todd Lincoln, the eldest son of President Abraham Lincoln. The home is located in Manchester, Vermont, which is an hour outside of Killington. The estate is comprised of 412 acres and features a main house, gardens, trails, and a farm that produces cheese. It’s a great place to visit if you’ve got a family or want to take a day trip away from the slopes.
For more suggestions for historical sites to visit during your stay with GetAway Vacations, download our free Vacation Guide. We’ve made it easy to find sites just like Hildene in and around Killington.
A Brief History Lesson About Hildene
Hildene was built in 1905 by Robert Lincoln and was named for the old English word for “hill” and “valley with stream.” During his life, Robert Lincoln served as Secretary of War, U.S. minister to the United Kingdom, and was president of the Pullman Company, which manufactured railroad cars.
Today, visitors can witness Robert Lincoln’s legacy at the Pullman Company at Hildene. A restored 1903 wooden Pullman palace car is featured on the estate with an exhibit titled “Many Voices.” It’s centered around the Pullman Porters, African American employees of the railroad who have been credited with contributing to the development of the black middle class in America.
The Main House
When you first arrive at Hildene, you’ll enter a former carriage barn that now serves as a welcome center and museum store. You’ll watch a brief video explaining the history of the property and its owners before taking a self-guided tour. The main house is a Georgian Revival Style home and features 24 rooms. One if its main features is a 1,000-pipe organ, the oldest residential pipe organ in working order in the U.S. There are 242 rolls, many still in good condition. You can listen to it play during your visit.
The Hildene farm is the most modern installment on the property. It features a solar powered barn designed to house a herd of goats and to make cheese. Guests are welcome to visit with the animals grazing in the grass or watch each step of the cheese making process.
There are two gardens available for tours on the property: the Hoyt Formal Garden and the Cutting and Kitchen Gardens. The Hoyt Formal Garden was designed in 1907 for Robert Lincoln’s wife, Mary Harlan Lincoln. Their daughter Jessie designed the garden to resemble a stained-glass Romanesque cathedral window. The panes of colored glass were produced by different colored flowers, and privet hedges were planted to represent the leading between the panes. In mid-June, guests can watch as over 1,000 peony blossoms from the original plantings fill with color.
The Cutting and Kitchen Garden was used to grow the fruits, vegetables, and flowers used in the household. The garden was recently restored with a soft fruit cage and two new gardens. It also features an observation garden. This assists the Master Gardener in identifying and cataloging Hildene’s original peony plants. Visitors can also see the butterfly garden that is used for educational programs.
Don’t miss touring the 12-miles of walking trails surrounding Hildene! We recommend reading the interpretive signs along the Farm Loop Trail that highlight a variety of trees, shrubs, ferns, and natural habitats.
Return to your GetAway Vacation Rental
After you’re done exploring Hildene, return to your GetAway Vacation rental home. Our vacation homes and condos are perfect for families or groups of friends who want to travel but don’t want to sacrifice space and comfort. Browse our condos to find something that perfectly suits your needs. Book with us today! We look forward to having you.