I’m nosy by nature, and there’s nothing I like better than to see how other people live. Lucky me, I was invited to tour the gardens and interior of an elegant brick house I pass every single day. Little did I know that the vast and historic garden was created by one of the first American female landscape architects and MIT graduate, Marion Cruger Coffin. Well known for her affiliation with the duPonts and Winterthur, I had no idea there was a magical garden of her design, lovingly restored, right here in Old Lyme.
While I appreciate flora and fauna to the nth degree, I’m illiterate in the language of gardening, but one need not know the difference between privet and boxwood to enjoy a couple of acres of intimate outdoor rooms, complete with mazes, statuary, topiary, banks of peonies, and gently bubbling water features.
At every turn, there is more to discover: a swing tucked under an arbor, a secret skinny stone stairway, an allee, an orchard. The house, built in 1844 with later additions, is on the National Historic Register. The antique-filled interiors were designed by the current owner, and it’s an absolute gem. One elegant room leads to the next, with original floorboards, lovely beamed ceilings, and a freshly renovated kitchen and baths. A guest house (with an outdoor shower) overlooking the gardens completes the property.
Oh, and guess what? This fairy tale country estate was recently featured in the NY Times and is on the market. Contact Colette Harron for a showing. View the listing here.