Yaddo opens for tours

yaddo

The main mansion at Yaddo

The Saratoga artists retreat Yaddo has only opened to the public five times in the mansion's 100-plus year history. Founded by Spencer and Katrina Trask, the retreat has been a temporary home to 6,000 artists -- John Cheever, Sylvia Plath, Aaron Copland, Langston Hughes, Alice Walker and Susan Orlean, just to name a few.

YaddoStaircase-996-015-190.jpgMore than 200 artists a year come to live and create at the mansion and in the cottages throughout the 400-acre grounds -- which is why they keep it so private.

But on September 18 Yaddo will be open for three public tours at 8:30 am, 11 am and 4 pm. Tours are two hours long and take you through the first and second floor of the mansion, the first floor of West House -- the residence where Katrina Trask lived after her husband died -- the Pigeon Barn Studios, and the gravesite of the first owner of the property, Jacob Barhyte. You'll be able to see, the collection of Tiffany stained glass windows in the main house and one in West House. There's an indoor fountain in the main house and a grand stairway that John Cheever is rumored to have slid down in an antique sleigh -- a gift to Katrina Trask from the Queen of The Netherlands.

Leslie Leduc, Yaddo's public affairs co-ordinator says you'll also be able to see a lot of the original furniture. "Most of the furniture in the main house and West House dates back to the period of the Trasks and it's used everyday. You might be walking by the chair that John Cheever sat in, or Leonard Bernstein."

The two-hour tours will cost $40 per person. Want more? Fifty people will be able to purchase tickets for the $200 deluxe tour on September 17, from 4-7 pm which includes a cocktail party at West House, where you'll get a glimpse at the second floor.

You can make reservations online. If you want to see it, we suggest getting your tickets ASAP. When tours were offered for the 100th anniversary of the main house back in 1993 they gave tours from 10 am until after dark and still had to turn away about 1,000 people. We checked with Yaddo today and they've sold more than half of the 1,400 available tour spaces already.

(Thanks, Jessica R!)

staircase photo: courtesy of Yaddo

Comments

Were Yaddo tours only available for those 2 days?
I wish to be able to view Yaddo on the internet,.The prices are a little too high for me now.

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