Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Road Trip Continued: An American Stately Home

Hampton, north of Baltimore, was once, arguably, America's finest house and at one time also its largest, built in the mid-18th century. It was in the same family, the Ridgeleys, until 1948.  There are stables, where thoroughbred racehorses were once bred, carriage houses, formal gardens, old specimen trees. Oh yes and slave quarters.

It's now a National Historical Site. We were there too early to take the tour but we explored the grounds, on the dew-wet grass, seeing the great house through the morning mists.
  You can walk down a wooded track to the Ridgeley cemetery: all stone angels, a mausoleum

 and old family names.

 This was the saddest - a lamb topping the tombstone of baby John, who lived less than a year.

Some of the formal gardens are still there, though much of the grounds have been turned into a suburban housing estate.

The original orangery burned down in the 1920s - this is a reconstruction.

The ice house

 With its underground vaults

Would be a great place for what Americans call a murder mystery.

No comments:

Post a Comment