Surrounding the Bidwell House are terraced stone walls brimming with perennial beds. Installed in the 20th century when the house was restored, these provide a fabulous setting for this gem of a Georgian saltbox. The remaining acreage is woodlands laced with hiking trails and foot paths leading to historical landmarks throughout the property.
The Bidwell House gardens were featured in the 1998 Massachusetts Garden Club Federation Garden Tour and the 2000 Lenox Garden Club Tour. They are open to the public, free of charge when the museum is open. Beautiful in all seasons, strolling in the grounds and gardens is a pleasant adjunct to a visit to the museum. Additionally, the Heritage Vegetable Garden demonstrates the early colonial style and variety of plants and 19th century Shaker vegetable gardening. An heirloom herb garden is located close to the house outside the former Buttery door. There is also the remains of an old orchard.
Bidwell Gardens Featured in Book
A few years ago, photographer Paul Rocheleau and author David Larkin visited the museum and toured the gardens in search of material for a new book. As a result, a stunning photo of the back of The Bidwell House taken from the herb garden graces the front cover of a book entitled Country Acres, published by Houghton Mifflin. In addition, a large photo of the interior of the 1836-carriage barn, displaying herbs drying after harvest, has also been included. And on the rear cover is the picture of produce from the heirloom vegetable garden on the front porch.
Country Acres is about the history and culture of country life and is the second in a series of handsomely illustrated books about country ways. Author David Larkin is also the editor-designer of the best selling Barn and Shaker as well as the author of Farm, among many other illustrated books. Photographer Paul Rocheleau is noted for his excellent work for Antiques Magazine. You can purchase Country Acres from the Bidwell House Museum for $35 plus postage and packing.