Hildene, the Lincoln Family Home is the former summer home of Robert Todd Lincoln and his wife Mary Harlan Lincoln. Robert Lincoln built Hildene at the turn of the 20th century. He was the only child of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln to survive to maturity. Robert first visited Manchester as a young man in the summer of 1864 when he came to the Equinox Hotel to meet his mother and his brother Tad. Some forty years later he returned to purchase 392 acres of land to build what he would call his ancestral home. At the time, Robert was president of the Pullman Company, the largest manufacturing corporation in the country.
We shopped in Manchester during our 2018 New England tour and took a few hours to visit and tour Hildene. If you like history, a few hours spent at Hildene is a MUST. Abraham Lincoln’s son Robert was an accomplished, successful and powerful man. And his “summer home” is fabulous and it has been meticulously preserved!
When you arrive there is a large concrete parking lot with several van accessible parking spaces. There’s an easy level walkway into the large modern gift store. The large accessible restroom is located in the gift store. After purchasing an admission pass, you’ll be directed to Hildene which is up a somewhat steep paved walkway. The front door has a step or two, but the side door is step free and fully accessible. The entire main house 1st level and multiple well-decorated rooms are wheelchair accessible, however, there is a staircase to the upper floor. There is no elevator. There are self guided or escorted tours available with knowledgeable guides with answers to all of your historical questions.
We experienced light rain during our visit so we didn’t tour the beautiful grounds, but they are only partially accessible as Hildene is located on about 400 acres in a beautiful valley with streams and meadows. But the landscaping and views are gorgeous. Similarly, we did not tour the restored Pullman Car which was a bit of a hike from the main house and may not have been wheelchair accessible.
WAs a side note, we stayed at the nearby Equinox Resort which was elegant (See my review on our website). And if you visit Manchester Vermont please take the opportunity to visit Hildene. You will love it!