6. Bushong Farm (New Market (VA) National Historic Battlefield)
Although not the largest house museum, this one is interesting. Sitting in the middle of the national battlefield, it depicts a farm family home around the time of the Civil War, which raged through the Shenandoah Valley. I like it because it looks similar to the house my father, whose family farmed in Pennsylvania just north of Gettysburg, was born in.
5. Shriver House Museum (Gettysburg, PA)
The Shriver House Museum was interesting because, like the Bushong Farmhouse, it shows how a middle-class family in the 1800s lived. It also tells the story of Hettie Shriver, and how she weathered the slings and arrows of fortune during the turbulent years of the Civil War. This house is also a favorite because of two spooky incidents that occurred during our visit, which you can read about here (at the bottom of the page) and here.
3. Fonthill Castle
A crazy genius took an old farm house and kept layering concrete around and above it and created Fonthill Castle. The genius and whimsy captured my imagination. Enough said. But then he decorated the inside with tiles from his nearby tile factory, which he'd started to revive a local folk art AND provide local jobs. It's a crazy castle filled with whimsy and creativity, a must see!!
Loved Fallingwater. Touring it is a lesson in architecture and the whims of the rich and famous -- imagine having such a home, as a summer home, no less! I would love to stay a weekend in the house, to really experience the home. One of the aspects of Fallingwater that attracted me the most was how Frank Lloyd Wright incorporated nature into the home. You can walk down from the living room into an outdoor pool. Bedrock helps shape the living room hearth and fireplace. The sound of the falls themselves is heard throughout the house. Loved it.
1. Hampton Mansion
What makes Hampton Mansion my number 1 choice: Not only is it an amazing mansion, it's also free, run by the National Park Service. And they have an extensive program focusing on slavery on the estate. Touring the estate is also a lesson about Maryland colonial history!
Updated September 2018