For those of you who have visited Southern Vermont, or are planning to, you may be familiar with one of the area’s popular attractions. For those who aren’t familiar or want to learn more, keep reading! As locals, we still love visiting the Hildene Estate, especially in the springtime, and always recommend it to our guests at our Vermont country inn. Whether you’re a big history buff, a lover of architecture, an environmentalist, or just enjoy unique experiences on your travels, Hildene is a must-visit for your Bennington, Vermont getaway.
The History of the Hildene Estate in Vermont
The Lincoln Family Home was built by Robert Lincoln, son of Abraham and Mary Todd in 1905, after becoming Chairman of the Pullman Company, the largest manufacturing company of the time. Although the house was built 40 years after the president’s death, it remained the home to Lincoln descendants exclusively for 70 years, the longest of the family’s residences. The humble beginnings of “Honest Abe” growing up in a log cabin to the legacy of this Georgian revival mansion is often referred to as the “Great American Story.” When the last of the Hildene-residing Lincoln descendants died in 1975, the estate was left to her church to maintain as a memorial to the Lincoln family. When the church later released plans to sell it, the local community and non-profit organization Friends of Hildene, raised enough money to buy the estate in 1978 and restore its beautiful property.
The Hildene Estate Today
This magnificent 400-acre estate houses so much more than the beautifully restored mansion, including a formal garden, observatory, and 13 historic buildings. Today, the public can also enjoy the following at Hildene:
- Welcome Center and Museum Store in the historic carriage barn
- 1903 Pullman car, Sunbeam
- 1832 schoolhouse, still used for education programs
- Solar-powered goat dairy and cheese-making facility
- The Dene: a campus for high school students to learn about agriculture and environmental issues that includes a teaching greenhouse, composting facility, vegetable gardens and apple orchard, and a 600-foot floating wetland boardwalk!
As you can see, a large part of Hildene’s mission, aside from memorializing the Great American Family, is education, conservation, and sustainability. So a visit to the estate caters to many interests and passions, providing a wide variety of tours, activities, and events. Be sure to check out their calendar to see what’s coming up during your visit!
While you can spend all day here, even a quick visit to walk the grounds is worth it; explore some of the panoramic views and walking trails, maybe have a picnic while you take in the interesting mix of the estate’s rich history, architectural grandeur of its buildings and landscapes, and modern technologies.
Stay at The Four Chimneys Inn
Located about 24 miles from the Lincoln Family Home is our historic Bennington bed and breakfast. Our rooms are crisp, clean and spacious with every comfort of home! Guests of The Four Chimneys Inn will receive discounted tickets to Hildene so book your favorite room today and be sure to ask us about this deal, as well as anything else you may want to know about this unique Vermont experience. Or, if you prefer to book directly, just add the discounted Hildene tickets to your order. Regular ticket price is $23; discounted price is $15.Book Now