Meadow Brook Hall, the historic home built by the remarkable Matilda Dodge Wilson – the widow of automobile guru John Dodge, is a not-so-secret local gem, but it is an absolute must-visit for families both near and far – and the fall months are prime time to check it out.
From September to November, the 1,500-acre grounds, which are dotted with historic buildings and beautiful scenery, transform into a breathtaking sight – and there’s plenty of family fun, to boot.
You can start your visit by taking a leisurely stroll around the grounds, which are open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily throughout the year, to take in the rock gardens, which have turned from their lush summertime greens to spectacular orange, red and yellow hues, the loggia or the always-popular and inspirational Pegasus Fountain.
And those who come later in the fall season and early winter, from Nov. 29 until Dec. 23, 2019, can even see the children’s outdoor playhouses done up for the holidays.
At this time, Knole Cottage will become Candy Cane Cottage, Danny’s Cabin will be decorated with automotive holiday decorations and Richard’s Playhouse will transform into Santa’s Workshop – and kids will be able to share their holiday wishes with Santa himself Dec. 21-23.
Of course, that’s not all. Once you’re finished seeing the grounds and gardens, you and your family can head inside to see the estate’s impressive collection of original paintings, sculptures, ceramics, costuming and other artwork. Some favorite rooms include the library and Alfred’s game room, which features hand-carved designs of playing cards, dice and more.
Inside the mansion, visitors can actually take a step back in time to see the bedrooms and playrooms that Danny, Frances, Barbara and Richard played with as kids, too – including the trapdoor that Danny used to get from his bedroom to his playroom.
There are plenty of tours to see these items along with the historic home in its entirety.
You can choose from a standard house tour, which will take you through the living areas on all three floors of the house, or the Behind-the-Scenes tour, which takes curious visitors through rarely seen areas of the house including bathrooms, closets and even staff wings.
You can take a single tour or do a combination of one or more tours on your visit by purchasing a tour ticket in the museum store, which is located inside of Meadow Brook Hall.
House tours are available 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday-Friday, and hourly from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Behind-the-Scenes tours run 12:30-2:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday through Oct. 31 and will begin again in 2020.
For more information about Meadow Brook Hall, or for tips on planning your upcoming trip, visit meadowbrookhall.org.