Historic SteepletopGarden & Grounds

During Millay's years

at Steepletop, the farm encompassed 700 acres including a large group of wonderful gardens designed, planted and maintained by Millay herself.

Beginning in 1927 on the former site of an ancient barn, Millay used the existing stone foundations to create “exterior rooms” entered through garden doors.

Husband Eugen Boissevain and Edna St. Vincent Millay at Steepletop, late 1920s.

Daily, in good weather

and in season, she worked on making “the ruins,” as she called the site, into special areas: a walled rose garden, a rock garden of Siberian iris, an outdoor bar set on flagstone, a spring-fed swimming pool (completed in 1931), and a flat plain she called “the dingle” that, in 1935, was the site of a badminton court.

Together, she and Eugen planted stands of arborvitae near the court and by the pool, for privacy, where swimming au natural was considered the norm.

Their property included three rose gardens; a large and verdant kitchen garden; the sapping maple grove; the "dingle"; the Maine pine forest which surrounds her writing cabin; wildflower gardens; and more.


From “Steepletop”

Even you, Sweet Basil: even you,

Lemon Verbena: must exert yourselves now and somewhat


against untimely frost; I have hovered you and covered you

   and kept going smudges,

until I am close to worn-out. Now, you

go about it. I have other things to do.

Writing poetry, for instance. And I, too,

live in this garden.
- Edna St. Vincent Millay

Learn About Our Preservation EffortsThe beautiful pool and bar areas are in critical need of restoration. Learn how you can help!
“My favorite part of the tour was seeing the Steeplebush which abundantly bloomed along the path to the upper meadow and the tennis court area.”
Kris L.