Edna St. Vincent Millay, the celebrated 20th c. poet, spent the last 25 years of her life just up the road from my Inn at Green River, on her 700 acre farm high up a ridge in Austerlitz, NY. She named the property, Steepletop, after a wildflower which grows there -Steeplebush, or Spirea Tomentosa. This Saturday, May 21, and again, once a month through the summer and fall season, you can take an expanded hiking tour around the property, led by head gardener, Michael Minchak.

Views at Steepletop

Photo courtesy of the Edna St. Vincent Millay Society – millay.org

Even if you have visited Steepletop before, this hiking tour offers a broader experience of this historic property.  The tour will include a selection of Millay’s nature poetry, much of it inspired at Steepletop.  You will hike to areas of the property that are not included in the regular House or Grounds & Gardens tours.  You need to wear appropriate attire and foot gear as the hike will take you over uneven terrain, through the forest and the fields, and some areas may be boggy.

This special monthly hike is held on Saturdays; May 21, June 11, July 9, August 20, and October 8, from 10am to 12pm. You will meet at the Visitors Center at Steepletop 15 minutes before the hike begins. The cost is $35.

The woodland photo below was taken along the Poetry Trail.

Photo courtesy of the Edna St. Vincent Millay Society – millay.org

For those who wish to take a tour of Millay’s home afterwards, a 12:30 pm tour will be offered at a special price of $12.

Also, this Saturday & Sunday, May 21-22, 2016, there is the added bonus of an Herb and Plant Sale, which takes place from 10am to 4:30pm at the Steepletop Visitors Center.

Millay was a serious gardener, and her kitchen garden included many different herbs.  Her last herb order, placed in 1949, included 36 varieties. Between 20 and 25 different types that were included in that order will be offered for sale this weekend. In addition to the herbs, Steeplebush plants and a limited edition of Steepletop Lupine seed packets, harvested from Millay’s kitchen garden, will be on sale.

You might also like to read my very first blog post from June 2010, which was about my tour of Steepletop that spring. The blog post also includes a link to an excellent Washington Post article about Millay. (Scroll to the bottom of the page.)

So bring your hiking boots, and enjoy a Saturday hiking around Steepletop. It will surely be a highlight of your 2016 getaway.

See our complete list of recommended Things to Do in Columbia County.

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