Houses and Gardens of Mount Desert Island


Decorative Arts Trust Sojourn

July 19–24, 2022

Join us in Maine for a summer exploration of Mount Desert Island and the surrounding region, an area admired for its splendid Gilded Age architecture and gardens. We have arranged an alluring itinerary filled with visits to private homes, fabulous gardens, and exquisite meals. 


ITINERARY  (subject to amendment)  

Tuesday, July 19: Arrivals in Northeast Harbor

Check into the Asticou Inn, a beautiful early-20th-century Shingle Style inn at the foot of Acadia National Park. The Asticou is a historic landmark designed by renowned architect Fred Savage, and every room overlooks Northeast Harbor. Our stay is sure to capture all of the charm characteristic of a Maine retreat.  

Spend the afternoon strolling through the Asticou Azalea Garden, an elegant and soul-inspiring Japanese style garden designed by Maine native Charles Savage and conveniently located across the street from the Asticou Inn. 

In the evening, enjoy an opening lecture from Willie Granston, PhD Candidate in History of Art & Architecture at Boston University, who will regale us with the history of Mount Desert Island and its stunning architecture.

After the lecture, we will enjoy a dinner at the Asticou Inn before resting in preparation for a full day of touring.

Included: D  

Wednesday, July 20: A Day in Bar Harbor

Our day begins at the Abbe Museum where we will learn about the first inhabitants of Mount Desert, the Wabanakis. The Abbe Museum is the first and only Smithsonian Affiliate in Maine, and offers the largest and best-documented collection of Maine Native American basketry in any public collection.

Jumping ahead to Mount Desert’s Gilded Age, we cross the street to take in ten Louis Comfort Tiffany stained glass windows at St. Saviour’s Episcopal Church before departing for an afternoon of private visits.

Driving to the crest of a hill overlooking Bar Harbor, we enjoy a rare glimpse of the Robert Patterson-designed Armory Hill. Our hosts offer a brief overview of Patterson’s work on the Island, including Mrs. Astor’s tea house and pool house, which we will visit on Saturday. The stunning Thorndike house is a superb example of architecture embracing the joys of one of America’s most fabled summer retreats.

After our tour, we descend to Bar Harbor’s shore for a visit and lunch at Bide-A-While, an enchanting house that features breathtaking views of Frenchman Bay. After wandering the sweeping gardens, we enjoy lunch on the extensive wrap around porch.

Our day continues with tours of the gardens, grounds, and greenhouses at Kenarden, including an Italianate sunken garden inspired by Edith Wharton and influenced by her niece, the famed American landscape designer, Beatrix Farrand.

Built by the same family as Kenarden, our next stop is La Rochelle, a French Revival mansion and the largest estate along the shore on Bar Harbor’s West Street. Now home to the Bar Harbor Historical Society, the house offers an excellent overview of the history of this unique town, sometimes referred to as the Newport of the North. We then enjoy a sumptuous meal on La Rochelle’s Covered Porch. 

Included: B, L, D 

Thursday, July 21: A Day in Northeast Harbor

After a morning departure from the Asticou Inn, a short drive leads us to Thuya Garden, a semi-formal herbaceous garden in the style popularized by Gertrude Jekyll and designed by Charles Savage in 1956. Thuya Garden contains many of Beatrix Ferrand’s plants, trees, and shrubs from her Reef Point Garden in Bar Harbor. Thuya Lodge overlooks the garden and was constructed for Joseph Henry Curtis from 1912-1916. This charming summer cottage has many of its original furnishings and boasts an excellent library of botanical books.

We proceed through the picturesque village of Northeast Harbor along Main Street dotted with alluring shops. Arriving at Hedgefield, we tour several acres of herbaceous plantings and stunning landscapes including an enormous “natural” swimming pond.

A short stroll brings us to St. Mary’s By the Sea, a Gothic Revival stone church designed by Maine architect Henry Vaughan, the first architect of the Washington National Cathedral. 

Lunch is served at a stunning private home with a sweeping view of Somes Sound, the only fjord on the east coast. Noteworthy for the furniture by Mount Desert artist Joe Tracey, the home’s Dining Room is wrapped in a mural depicting the family’s houses from the 18th century to the present.

We then head to Rosserne, Fred Savage’s most complex Shingle Style cottage built for the Reverend Dr. Cornelius Bishop Smith. Shingles sheathe the gabled roof and cover an exterior staircase, the round corner porch, and a turret with a bell-like ogee roof. Offering yet another magnificent view of Somes Sound, the house is a quintessential example of both the formal and rustic life of a bygone age.

Further up the Sound, Westacre contains a fine collection of Maine art, including an extensive collection of Soderholtz pottery displayed in a sunken “pot” garden. All of the art is beautifully placed to enhance the individual pieces while creating a sublime atmosphere with Somes Sound as a background.

Our next stop is a charming Arts and Crafts home only a few houses up the Sound. Containing a stunning collection of Samuel Yellin hardware, the hinge and latch on every door boasts the unique artistry of one of America’s most beloved blacksmiths. Originally the play house for a larger estate no longer extant, the present owner has added a storybook tower addition that beautifully enhances and extends this gem of a residence. 

Cocktails and dinner are served at Fern Rock, a relatively contemporary house that boasts a lovely flavor of the Far East. The fine collection of Asian art showcases both the architecture and the objects, ranging from Japanese screens to Buddhist statues that “dwell” in their spaces in serene and sensitive arrangements. 

Included: B, L, D 

Friday, July 22: A Day in Seal Harbor

Our day exploring Seal Harbor begins at the iconic Skylands, the impressive house built by architect Duncan Candler in 1925 for Edsel and Eleanor Ford. Now owned by Martha Stewart, who has sensitively preserved, restored, and enhanced this historic masterpiece, the collection combines a curated selection of the Ford’s furniture, china, silver, and linens with myriad pieces of her own.

We continue to Wanakiwin, a stunning cliffside home along the ocean, acclaimed for not only spectacular views but also a superlative collection of 19th-century American landscape paintings. 

We make our way down the street to Hi Mount. Although the house has the classical appearance of a 1920s Maine Shingle Style cottage, it was actually constructed in 1995. The house has a range of family furniture and portraits complementing Chinese export porcelain collected by the owners.

Taking some time to enjoy the scenery, we visit the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden. Designed and built between 1926-1930 by famed American landscape designer, Beatrix Ferrand, the site is the quintessential merging of “East meets West” with an Asian spirit path adjacent to an opulent double-tiered perennial bed, planted in the tradition of British garden designer Gertrude Jekyll, all surrounded by a Chinese wall with tiles from the Forbidden City.

At the foot of the Rockefeller Garden sits St. Jude’s Episcopal Church, designed in the 1880s by William Ralph Emerson, the father of Mount Desert’s Shingle Style architecture. The church boasts two stunning Tiffany windows depicting the serene views from nearby Bracey Cove. 

Our final visit of the day is a tour of Landfall’s magnificent Japanese garden. Hugging the rugged coast, the garden paths wind through various mosses, pines, and herbaceous borders to a Japanese pavilion on the sea. This hidden garden is not open to the public and captures much of the soul of the Island.

And, of course, the day is topped off with a quintessential lobster bake dinner at the Asticou Inn.

Included: B, L, D 

Saturday, July 23: Blue Hill, Ellsworth, and Long Pond

We head off island to begin our day at the Jonathan Fisher House. Built in 1814 by Reverend Fisher, the first settled minister of Blue Hill, the house contains a fascinating collection of his furnishings, inventions, and books. Helping us to appreciate the house and its remarkable owner is Joshua Klein, editor-in-chief of the woodworking journal Mortise and Tenon and author of Hands Employed Aright, The Furniture Making of Jonathan Fisher.

Next we visit the Black House, also known as Woodlawn, built for Colonel John Black between 1824–1827 and a perfectly preserved time capsule curated by his son, Nixon Black. Named “Maine’s Most Famous House” by House Beautiful magazine, the Neoclassical house includes Greek Revival overtones. The rooms offer a wealth of family treasures and a glimpse into the lives of the lumber barons who formed the culture of Ellsworth. 

Returning to Mount Desert Island after lunch, we head to August Moon, the Asian tea house and pool house. Robert Patterson’s crown jewels were designed and built for Mrs. Vincent Astor, who used August Moon as her retreat from the busy social life of Northeast Harbor. These exquisite, fanciful creations have been lovingly restored and maintained. 

Perched on a hill overlooking Long Pond’s tranquil waters, Long Pond Cottage provides an unforgettable conclusion to our extraordinary journey. Asian and American art offers a feast for the eyes, as we enjoy the hosts’ gracious hospitality. 

Included: B, L, D 

Sunday, July 24

Enjoy breakfast at the Asticou Inn before independent departures for the airport, or extend your stay on Mount Desert Island for additional exploration at your leisure. 

Included: B 


Land Arrangement Cost: For the main tour, $3,900 per person, based on double occupancy for 5 nights. 

Included in Trip Cost: Hotel accommodations in a 4-star hotel, 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches, and 5 dinners. Private transportation, local guides, admission in museums, historic houses, and gardens, gratuities for guides and drivers, and porterage.

Not Included in the Trip Cost: Airfare, airport transfers other than specified above, alcoholic beverages other than when provided, personal expenses, and trip insurance are not included. Please do not make your airline reservations until you have received written confirmation of your registration from the Trust.

Reservations: Full payment is required by February 28, 2022, to hold spots in this program. Reservations are taken on an as received basis. You will receive written confirmation from the Decorative Arts Trust when we are in receipt of your registration. 

Single Supplement: The single supplement is $850, to be paid with registration.

Itinerary: The schedule outlined in this itinerary is contracted for at this time but subject to change as necessary. The itinerary is strenuous and requires a significant amount of standing and walking, often over difficult terrain. 

Participation: The trip is limited to a maximum of 20 members and requires a minimum of 10. The trip will be canceled if under-subscribed, and payments will be refunded. We will maintain waiting lists on the basis of the time registrations are received. 

Vaccination requirement: All participants must be fully vaccinated and show proof of vaccination.

Cancellation and Refunds: If you must cancel your reservation, you are urged to do so as soon as possible in writing to the Decorative Arts Trust. All Cancellations are subject to a $500 administrative fee per person. Cancellations arriving by April 30, 2022, will receive a 50% refund. Cancellations arriving by May 31, 2022, will receive a 25% refund. There will be no refunds for cancellations received after May 31, 2022 unless your space can be filled. THE TRUST STRONGLY ENCOURAGES ALL PARTICIPANTS TO PURCHASE TRAVEL INSURANCE TO PROTECT AGAINST CANCELLATIONS DUE TO ILLNESS AND INJURY.


Join our mailing list to receive the latest news, tour and symposium announcements from the Decorative Arts Trust.

Thank you for subscribing!


Join our mailing list to receive the latest news, tour and symposium announcements from the Decorative Arts Trust.

You have Successfully Subscribed!