Visit the William Cullen Bryant Homestead in Cummington, MA and take in the same vistas that inspired one of America’s most significant early poets.
Literary fans and history buffs alike will enjoy a visit to the William Cullen Bryant Homestead museum. William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878) was born in the Berkshires and the nearby Homestead was his childhood home.
Bryant’s childhood in the Cummington area inspired many of his most famous poems. “To a Waterfowl,” “Rivulet Trail,” and many others have direct connections to the area. Bryant was working as a lawyer in Great Barrington, MA when he published, “Thanatopsis,” his most famous poem.
Bryant’s considerable talents took him far in life – and far from the Berkshires. From 1825 on he lived in New York as editor for a variety of publications, most notably the New-York Evening Post. He never forgot the Berkshires though. In 1865, he bought back the family farmhouse in Cummington, renovating it and spending summers there until his death in 1878.
Visiting the Bryant Homestead Museum
Visitors to the William Cullen Bryant Homestead will discover a National Historic Landmark restored to its 1870 appearance. Bryant’s maternal grandfather built the home, originally a two story-Dutch Colonial farmhouse, in 1783. Bryant’s 1865 renovations transformed it into the three-story Victorian cottage found there today, fully restored and filled with exotic memorabilia.
The historic estate includes the homestead, barn, ice house, pastures, fields, woodlands, and sweeping views of the Hampshire Hills. 188 of the Homestead’s original 478 acres have been preserved. A maple sugar bush on the property has been tapped for over 200 years. You’ll also find remnants of the 1,500 fruit trees Bryant planted.
Self-guided tours of the property will take you to many of the places Bryant loved and wrote about. Walk the Rivulet Trail and see the tiny rivulet beside it that inspired Bryant’s poem of the same name. Bryant blazed many of the trails himself and they will lead you through many of the woodlands and meadows that inspired the poet’s early nature poems.
William Cullen Bryant Homestead
William Cullen Bryant Homestead is located at 207 Bryant Road in Cummington, MA. This is just under an hour from our Berkshires bed and breakfast, Applegate Inn, in Lee, MA. The property’s trails, picnic tables, and other outdoor attractions are open and free to all, 7 days a week, sun up to sundown. Visit thetrustees.org to for directions and more information.
It would be easy to make a day trip out of your visit, if you so desired. Nearby attractions include Notchview, the Crane Museum of Papermaking, Arrowhead, Chesterfield Gorge, Berkshire Museum, and Hancock Shaker Village, to name but a few.
Spend the day exploring the area, then return to historic Applegate Inn at five for our daily, wine and cheese cocktail hour. How’s that for relaxing? We love sharing the Berkshires with our guests!