Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Elms

This morning Hans and I toured the mansion called The Elms. It was built in 1902 by a wealthy couple, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Berwind, who made their fortunes in Pennsylvania coal - worth 31 million dollars. This was a time when there was no income tax, so they could spend their $$$ any way they wished. Mind you, this was their summer home, where they spent only 6 to 8 weeks during the summer. They entertained other wealthy neighbors such as the Astors, the Vanderbilts, and so on. Often Mr. Berwind only came up from New York or Pennsylvania for the weekend. Word has it that Mrs. Berwind had ladies over every day to play bridge. If she couldn't get a four-some, she would ask the butler to play. One stipulation followed, however. He had to stand during the game. One can only imagine what their home in New York was like.

Once again, this was a self-guided tour. Head sets were provided. Throughout the tour, I learned that the Berwinds had no children. They had 4 neices whom they entertained often. They employed 43 servants/staff members. They loved the French cuisine, so French chefs were hired.

The rooms had huge floor to ceiling windows, encased in marble. Beside the bedrooms for the couple, they had 7 bedrooms for guests. The floors were mostly wood, done in a herringbone design. Many of the family furnishings are still in place. I especially liked the china cabinets in one of the pantries. I know, this comes as no surprise. When I first spied them, I remarked to Hans, "Oh, boy. Here's the part I like." To which he replied, "Do you think you'll be alright, Mom? Can you handle it?" I love that my kids know me so well. And then, of course, I sneaked a few pictures as no one was around. Lord, help me. I just love dishes! My motto: You can never have too many dishes.

When the tour was over, we made our exit to walk around the grounds. And guess what? The clouds had all cleared away and the sky was an amazing blue. It was just beautiful!

I have included a few of the photos I took.

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