For the past several months, we have been restoring Tamarack Cottage, the farmhouse that sits on the opposite side of the road from the Millay House. This building was formerly the guest house on the property that the poet frequently used for visiting friends. It has been converted into a new Visitors Center and is now open. The Center is the starting point for purchasing tickets and launching tours, and provides us with a new exhibition space and a fabulous gift shop. We are grateful to Hudson City Savings and Trust Foundation for their support of this new and much needed Visitors Center.
Moving the offices from the Ellis Studio, and turning the 1860s cottage into a beautiful Visitors Center was no easy task. Millay Society Trustee and Vice President, Mark O'Berski, took on the task along with site manager, Todd Hall. While the cottage had been rented periodically over the years, it really hadn't been updated in some time. There were several fundamental changes needed to take place to bring the building up to today's safety standards, as well as some exciting aesthetic improvements that will make the building yet another wonderful place on the Steepletop for visitors to enjoy. One of the most exciting new features is the additional exhibition space which was made possible by a generous gift given by the Jackson family and their friends, in memory of Barbara Jackson.
Visitors to Steepletop enjoy Millay's house and grounds for guided tours. For a more vigorous outing visitors can also take a self-guided walk up the wooded poetry trail to visit the Millay family gravesite, and traverse a mowed uphill path along a hedge row to the original tennis court which offer a spectacular view of the area's highest peak, Pinnacle, as well as Harvey Mountain and the distant Taconics.
Now, in addition to touring the house, gardens and property, visitors can enjoy a new exhibition each season in the Visitors Center. "The former Tamarack Cottage living room is the perfect place to install a seasonal show," says O'Berski. "It will also double as a space for lectures, poetry readings and other educational programs happening throughout the year."
This year's exhibition is called "Beyond the Poetry: Treasures from Steepletop" and it gives visitors a glimpse into the extraordinary life of Millay through the artifacts she collected and rare photos taken of her as she lived her bohemian life in Austerlitz. Many of these items have long been hidden from view, as they are not seen on the regular tours of the house.
Opposite the exhibition space is a gift shop featuring a new line of souvenir items, books, jewelry and much more.
Our sincerest thanks and gratitude go out to the contractors who worked on the renovation of Tamarack Cottage who donated time or materials to help with the cost:
Basement Systems of New York
Berkshire Home Properties
Dells' Plumbing Heating A/C Inc.