locust grove

December 23, 2014 |  Category:   life outings







Sometimes on weekend days when Mark isn’t working, we wake up with an urge to look for an adventure. This is about as spontaneous as we get these days. Like most families with school-age kids, our lives can feel over scheduled. We’re bound by school days and vacations, and boxed in by the kids’ extracurricular activities and our work lives. I know it’s just temporary since the years that we have with the kids before they turn into teenagers who’d rather do anything but hang out with their parents are running short, but for now, these impulsive weekend drives satisfy that itch (well, almost).

Locust Grove
was Samuel Morse’s old estate – a summer house like so many of his fellow wealthy contemporaries used to own. The daughter of the new owners who purchased the house in 1901 set up a foundation to preserve the house and stated in her mandate that nothing was to be removed, nor anything brought in. So the walls have the original fading linen wallpapers, the cupboards are full with liquor and medicine bottles half full, and shoes were left peeking under the beds. It almost makes you feel like you’re a voyeur and it’s kind of a trip to think about how old everything is.


I’m pretty sure that when the girls grow up, they’ll remember how their crazy mother dragged them to all these old mansions along the Hudson River and Long Island. I don’t think they’re quite old enough, however, to know what it means to humor somebody, so I’m going to take their attentive attitude on these tours as genuine interest. They’re also studying American history at school so the details of this era are pretty fresh in their minds already. Me? I just like going into old houses.

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  • steph December 23, 2014 at 9:25 am

    I grew up going to historic sites and now it’s what I do for a living. Pay’s not the greatest, but it is nice to have such beautiful places to work!

    • Jenna December 23, 2014 at 7:58 pm

      Oh, that sounds nice, Steph. A beautiful environment to work in makes such a difference.

  • Melissa@Julia's Bookbag December 23, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    oh I would have LOVED this! adore adore seeing old preserved estates and houses. heck, i like seeing new houses. or a house down the street. my husband is convinced i’ll be shot someday trying to peek in someone’s window – must be why I like blogs as well, getting little peeks at other homes…..:)

    • Jenna December 23, 2014 at 7:58 pm

      In NYC, it’s a little too easy to peek into people’s brownstones at night if they don’t have the curtains drawn!

  • victoria December 23, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    Well I greatly appreciate you taking me along on these trips of yours Jenna, I love peeking into the past in this way. Have you ever come across the willard suitcases? I’ve included a link, as I think it may interest you and you have a chance of viewing the photos, or the collection, first hand

    • Jenna December 23, 2014 at 7:59 pm

      Thanks for the link Victoria. Fascinating!

  • Alex December 23, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    My first thought was ‘man, NY has a bunch of cool old mansion tours. Why don’t we have that here?’ But maybe I’m wrong–I just haven’t looked! I mean, it’s Texas. So thank you for the photos and the idea! I hope your family had a wonderful time.

    • Jenna December 27, 2014 at 9:05 pm

      You should definitely look Alex. The mansions are probably different than the East Coast, but interesting in their own way, I’m sure!

  • lulu December 24, 2014 at 11:23 am

    I was thinking the same as Alex, but maybe because i haven’t really look. I live in Sacramento so definitely there should be plenty of mansion around California Gold Country to check out. What we have plenty of is old mining towns. We have to drive through them in fact whenever the kids go skiing in Dodge Ridge. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    • Jenna December 27, 2014 at 9:22 pm

      I’m sure California has its share of mansions. Hope you had a great christmas!