Steepletop, a 600-acre farmstead in upstate New York, rests comfortably at the intersection of gardening and literature. This National Historic Landmark was the home of the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay for the last twenty-five years of her life. She built a writer’s cabin there under whispering pines and drew inspiration from the gardens she planted among the ruins of Steepletop’s original farm. The Garden Conservancy is advising the Millay Society on restoration, management, and planning.
1925: The poet Edna St. Vincent Millay and her husband Eugen Boissevain buy the 435-acre Bailey Family Farm in Austerlitz in upstate New York for $9,000. They name the property Steepletop after a pink-spired flower common in surrounding fields. Over time the farmstead is enlarged to over 600 acres.
1927: With the guidance of landscape architect and actor Harrison Dowd, they begin garden-making in earnest and for the next 25 years surround their 1892 white clapboard farmhouse with gardens: kitchen gardens, pleasure gardens, a garden in the ruined walls of an old barn that allegedly once housed the first circus elephant in America, as well as a Maine pine forest, and a "gentleman's farm"
1949: Boissevain passes away
1950: Millay dies and her sister Norma moves in and cares for the property until her death in 1986 when ownership passes to the Millay Society
1971: Steepletop is designated a National Historic Landmark
2003: The Millay Society enters into an agreement with the Garden Conservancy to assist in the management and the landscape and horticultural preservation plans for Steepletop
2004: The writer's cabin opens to the public
2006: The state of New York pays $1.69 million to acquire 230 acres of Steepletop to add to a nearby state forest preserve. Proceeds from the sale are being used to create an endowment and implement plans to turn the site into a museum open to the public
Open for visits, house tours, and garden tours during the summer and fall. See the Steepletop website or call 518.392.3362 for details.
11 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day except Wednesdays
Admission and Tours
House tour: $16 per person
Garden tour: $16 per person
Combination tour: $25 per person
General admision to gardens and gallery: $10 per person
Guided tours of the gardens and house are available by appointment (limit of six people in house tours). House tours: Friday through Monday; guided garden tours as possible.
For more information or to schedule a tour, please call 518.392.3362.
Steepletop is located at 436 East Hill Road in Austerlitz, NY 12017.
For directions and additional information, please visit the Steepletop website.