During our road trip in September to Maine, we took a longer route so we could stop in Vermont. With no research other than the map guiding us through Bennington, we decided to stop visit the local farmers market and see what we could of the college campus. When looking at the nearby tourist sites, The Park-McCullough House was one of the recommendations. How could we not stop?
The house is a beautifully maintained Victorian home (Second Empire Style – I know very little about Victorian style- missed that day in historical architecture, so it was interesting to hear about this subset of Victorian style). We met with the docents and quickly learned we were not on the same McCullough branch (darn), but the kids loved the connection none the less. Since we were due in Maine by the end of the day, we kept our tour to the gardens. Charlotte quickly fell in love with the miniature playhouse.
It was all the outbuildings that quickly caught my love. The house was built in 1864-65 and all the supporting buildings were kept to the same standard of maintenance as the home. The walled greenhouse was so inspirational, from the details of the brick back wall and the sprawling rawness of the current vigorous inhabitants.
There was a smaller scaled potting greenhouse and shed, and it was the charming antithesis of its grander scaled neighbor.
Beauty in Decay: The property also maintained the ruins of the former pool. The land surround the Park-McCullough house had been donated to the Fund for North Bennington, and maintains the natural and agricultural landscape. It made the neglected pool seem more beautiful than if the land beyond was not so pristine.
But the real showstopper was the stable and carriage barn. (Someday I want to write a book called Barn Lust and be filled with all these amazing buildings). The space is used now for weddings, so everything is crisp and white. The main floor featured the stables complete with a turn-of-the-century indoor carriage washing station. Below on the ground level was the carriage and maintenance buildings- where the real work happened. We did get a tour inside the barns, but I did not take many photos. It featured the original stalls and woodwork throughout. They even had a few of the original carriages on display.
While walking around the buildings you can see how they were added on to over the years as additional need for space occurred. These are my favorite buildings where you can see how the story of how the space evolved is detailed in the grade changes, bump outs and new wings.
Our landing at the Park-McCullough House was a happy accident. It is the reason why we love going on road trips and often choose the longer route that uses more county routes. It takes longer, but we see so many reasons to stop the car and explore, or buildings/ gardens that get us talking and scheming for the rest of the road trip.