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Historic Houses, Gardens and Country Farms of Vermont and New Hampshire

Program Number: 21415RJ
Start and End Dates:
7/13/2014 - 7/19/2014; 6/26/2016 - 7/2/2016; 8/14/2016 - 8/20/2016; 9/18/2016 - 9/24/2016; 10/2/2016 - 10/8/2016;
Duration: 6 nights
Location: Brandon, Vermont
Price starting at: $1,289.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: On the Road; Homes & Gardens; History & Culture
Meals: 13; 5 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Vegetarian; Low Salt    

Set out across two northern New England states to discover an array of historic properties, from humble homesteads to magnificent mansions — plus several bountiful working farms. Venture from the rural Champlain Valley to lively Portsmouth on the New Hampshire Seacoast, learning about prominent and everyday Americans — from Green Mountain Boy Ethan Allen and President’s son Robert Todd Lincoln to farmers working in the Vermont of a century ago. Enjoy time to drop in on New England towns and their farms, flower growers and kitchen gardens.


• Discover architecture from the late-18th to the early-20th centuries, including the Ethan Allen Homestead, dating back to 1787, and the Park-McCullough House, an expertly preserved Victorian mansion.
• Visit Shelburne Farms, a 1,400-acre, nonprofit working farm practicing sustainable agriculture, and the historic Billings Farm in Woodstock, a working dairy farm and museum of Vermont rural heritage.
• In Portsmouth, New Hampshire, enjoy visits to two historic houses as well as the Strawbery Banke Museum, a living-history museum that tells the story of a community over the course of 250 years.

Activity Particulars

Up to two hours of moderate walking and standing each day, sometimes on uneven and unpaved surfaces.

Date Specific Information


Enjoy peak fall foliage across Northern New England.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Brandon, Vt., 4 nights; coach to Portsmouth, N.H., 2 nights; shuttle to Brandon, departure. Option to depart in Portsmouth.


With its entire downtown recorded on the National Register of Historic Places and the town’s bucolic location among the rolling hills of central Vermont, Brandon is a unique, historic destination near the Green Mountains.

Brandon: Country inn in the center of charming, historic small town. Portsmouth: newly refurbished, full-service hotel.
Meals and Lodgings
   Brandon Inn
  Brandon, VT 4 nights
   Holiday Inn Portsmouth
  Portsmouth, NH 2 nights
 Brandon Inn
Type: Inn
  Description: Historic country inn located in the center of the small town of Brandon with many historic homes, shops and galleries within walking distance
  Contact info: 20 Park Street
Route 7
Brandon, VT 05733 USA
phone: 802-247-5766
web: www.historicbrandoninn.
  Room amenities: Phones, air conditioned in summer, clock radios.
  Facility amenities: Outdoor pool in season, full service restaurant, elevator.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Bathroom: Some bathrooms have claw foot tubs, and some others vary between regular and shower stalls.
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: $100.00 - $150.00 Please call hotel for exact rates.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 Holiday Inn Portsmouth
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Portsmouth, NH is a unique seaside city bustling with culture, wondrous attractions and the Holiday Inn® Portsmouth hotel. Whether you're here for work or play, our hotel's location in Portsmouth, NH serves you well. If you're vacationing in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, our hotel's location is a great launching point. We're near historic sites like Strawbery Banke Museum, USS Albacore Museum and the Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse. We're also a short drive from the thrilling rides at Water Country. Other nearby attractions include the Kittery Outlets, Prescott Park Arts Festival and the beaches of New Hampshire and Maine.
  Contact info: 300 Woodbury Ave
Portsmouth, NH 03801 USA
phone: 603-431-8000
  Room amenities: Cable / Satellite TV Color TV In Room Movies - Pay Per View In Room Movies - Premium Cable In Room Video Games Available Workspace / Desk Work Desk w/ Lamp Amenities available in some guest rooms. Desk Level Electrical Outlet Electrical Adapters Available Amenities available in some guest rooms. Power Converters Available Amenities available in some guest rooms. Spare Electrical Outlet at Desk Amenities available in some guest rooms. Phone / Fax Phone with Voice Mail Two-Line Phone Amenities available in some guest rooms. Number of Phones : 1 Direct Dial Phone Free Local Phone Calls Spare Electrical Outlet at Desk Amenities available in some guest rooms. Desk Level Electrical Outlet Electrical Adapters Available Amenities available in some guest rooms. Power Converters Available Amenities available in some guest rooms. Coffee Maker Microwave Oven Amenities available in some guest rooms. Mini Refrigerator Amenities available in some guest rooms. Tea Maker
  Facility amenities: Business Center Copying, E-mail & Internet PC available Service Provider: Printer, Unstaffed Business Center, Analog Dial-up Service Provider: High-speed Internet Access Wireless Data Connection Health and Fitness Center (On-site) Recumbent bike, treadmill and elliptical machine located in new room with flat panel LCD TV. Health/Fitness Center On-Site Fitness Center Type: LIMITED The Fitness Center Times: 24 Hour Fitness Center Public Space Data Services Analog Dial-up Service Provider: High-speed Internet Access Service Provider: PC Wireless Data Connection Other Data Connections Indoor Pool Housekeeping and Laundry Services On-site Guest Self-Laundry Facilities (washer/dryer) Hours Of Operation: 12:00 AM to 12:00 AM Daily Housekeeping Same Day Dry Cleaning A/C Public Areas ATM/Cash Machine Dedicated Lounge (or 24 Hour Lounge) Ice Machine Safety Deposit Box available at Front Desk
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: $109 - $129 Only available if you decide to depart from Portsmouth.
  Check out time: 8:30 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
3:00 PM Brandon You will be staying at Brandon Inn that night.
  End of Program:
12:00 PM - Brandon You will be staying at Holiday Inn Portsmouth the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. None needed.
  Parking availability:
Parking is available at the Brandon Inn at no charge
To Start of Program
  Location:  Brandon, VT
  Nearest city or town:  Brandon
  Nearest highway: Route 7
  Nearest airport:  Albany
  From End of Program
  Location:  Portsmouth, NH
  Nearest city or town:  Portsmouth
  Nearest highway: US Route 1
  Nearest airport:  Portland, ME
Travel Details



From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Middlebury Transit
phone: 800-388-1002
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$75 - $100
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


1.5 Hours 






Call for reservations and schedules. They will try to group other riders together to keep your costs down.




From Airport




All Occasions
phone: 802-236-1966
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$35 - $50
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


1 Hour 




35 Miles


You may fly into the Rutland Airport from Logan in Boston on Cape Air and then travel to the Brandon Inn

Driving Directions
  New York City & South Merge onto I-95 N / NEW JERSEY TURNPIKE N toward US-46 / CLIFTON / I-80 (Portions toll). 4.0 miles Map 9: Keep LEFT to take I-95 N / NEW JERSEY TURNPIKE N toward I-80 W / HACKENSACK / PATERSON (Portions toll). 2.2 miles Map 10: Merge onto I-80 W toward RT-17 / HACKENSACK / LOCAL. 2.9 miles Map 11: Merge onto NJ-17 N via EXIT 64A toward RT-4 / ROCHELLE PK / PARAMUS. 3.0 miles Map 12: Keep LEFT at the fork to continue on NJ-17 N. 14.7 miles Map 13: NJ-17 N becomes I-287 N / NJ-17 N (Crossing into NEW YORK). 0.4 miles Map 14: Merge onto I-87 N / NEW YORK STATE THRUWAY N via the exit on the LEFT toward ALBANY / RT-17 N (Portions toll). 117.8 miles Map 15: Merge onto I-87 N / I-90 E via EXIT 24 toward ALBANY / MONTREAL. 1.0 miles Map 16: Merge onto I-87 N via EXIT 1N toward ALBANY INT'L AIRPORT / MONTREAL. 50.5 miles Map 17: Take EXIT 20 toward RT-149 / FORT ANN / WHITEHALL. 0.1 miles Map 18: Turn LEFT onto US-9 / NY-149. 0.5 miles Map 19: Turn RIGHT onto NY-149. 11.7 miles Map 20: Turn LEFT onto GEORGE ST / US-4. Continue to follow US-4. 10.5 miles Map 21: Turn SLIGHT RIGHT onto US-4 / POULTNEY ST. Continue to follow US-4 E (Crossing into VERMONT). 11.6 miles Map 22: Take the VT-30 exit- EXIT 4- toward CASTLETON CORNERS / POULTNEY. 0.2 miles Map 23: Turn LEFT onto VT-30. 15.2 miles Map 24: Turn RIGHT onto VT-73. 6.2 miles Map
  North and South Motorists can reach Brandon via Interstate 91 and 87, which connects with U.S. Route 7. The Inn is on route 7.
  North or South Motorists can reach Brandon via Interstate 91 from the north or south and Route 87, which connects with U.S. Route 7. The Inn is on Route 7. If using I 91 take I 89 North to Exit 1 Route 4. Route 4 West, to Route 7 North, Route 7 North from Rutland to Brandon 17 miles, the inn is located on Route 7 From the West: Route 4 East to Rutland, Route 7 North to Brandon, 19 Miles.
Elevation Note: None

Equipment Requirements: None
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival & Check-in, Program Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation, Introduction to Historic Brandon
(Sunday, July 13)
 Arrive To: HOTEL CHECK-IN: Available from 3:00 PM PROGRAM REGISTRATION: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar desk in the living room beginning at 5:00pm to register with the program staff. You’ll receive your arrival packet containing your name tag, the most up-to-date schedule, and other important program information we will review during our orientation session after dinner this evening.
 Dinner: Enjoy a delicious three course dinner in the main Dining Room at the Inn, featuring a choice of menu selections.
 Evening: ORIENTATION: The Program Coordinator will greet you with a warm welcome, introduce everyone, and provide key staff contact names and phone numbers. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have.

Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding!

PRESENTATION: Historic Brandon. Chartered in 1761, Brandon is a study in early American architecture and Vermont history. The historic downtown with its entire core of 243 buildings is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The town describes itself as “unhurried, unspoiled, unforgettable.”

Accommodations: Brandon Inn
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Shelburne Farms, Burlington, Wildflower Farm, Historic Brandon, Movie Night
(Monday, July 14)
 Breakfast: Breakfast is in the Wicker Room at the Inn, available from 8:00am. Choose from cereals and homemade organic granola with natural Vermont yogurt, fresh fruit salad, bagels with cream cheese, homemade muffins and pastries, daily hot items, juice, coffee and tea. Early morning coffee (self-serve) is available in the Sun Room approximately an hour prior to breakfast.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: Shelburne Farms. This 1,400-acre working Vermont farm and National Historic Landmark on the shores of Lake Champlain is also a non-profit education organization whose mission is to cultivate a conservation ethic for a sustainable future in farming, natural resources, and historic preservation. We will explore the campus to learn how Shelburne Farms stewards and shares its working landscape and property in ways that are environmentally, economically, and culturally sustainable.

After the field trip, we travel to Vermont's chief city, Burlington.

 Lunch: Lunch is on your own today at the historic Church Street Marketplace in Burlington, VT. Your Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. This award-winning, open-air mall is a hub of activity where you’ll find historical architecture, year-round festivals, street entertainers, music, and many places to dine.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Vermont Wildflower Farm. Established in 1981, the Vermont Wildflower Farm is not only a working farm but a family owned and operated retail operation and public garden. The staff offer expert guidance for planning, cultivating, and enjoy all kinds of wildflowers. We will see two flower fields as well as woodland with brook and ponds.

WALKING FIELD TRIP: Historic Brandon. Returning to Brandon, enjoy an expert-led guided walk beginning at the birthplace of Stephen A Douglas, one of America’s most prominent 19th Century statesmen, that is now the Brandon Museum. Trace the story of the town and its people from its beginnings to the modern age. We will see some of the most important houses, study their architecture, and peer into private gardens.

 Dinner: Dinner at the Inn features dishes prepared by the inn's award-winning, Austrian-trained Executive Chef, Louis Pattis, who is also the owner.
 Evening: MOVIE NIGHT: Relax with new Road Scholar friends as we enjoy a recent movie together in the living room of the Inn.
Accommodations: Brandon Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 3: Marsh Billings Rockefeller National Historic Park, Woodstock, Vermont
(Tuesday, July 15)
 Breakfast: Breakfast is in the Wicker Room at the Inn, available from 8:00am. Early morning coffee (self-serve) is available in the Sun Room approximately an hour prior to breakfast.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: Marsh Billings Rockefeller National Historic Site. Walk through one of Vermont's most beautiful landscapes, under the shade of sugar maples and 400-year-old hemlocks, across covered bridges and alongside rambling stone walls. This is a landscape of loss, recovery, and conservation. This is a story of stewardship, of people taking care of places -- sharing an enduring connection to land and a sense of hope for the future. Explore their fantastic perennial gardens and the home of Laurance Rockefeller. The educational presentation will be led by National Park Service staff.
 Lunch: Enjoy a picnic lunch at the farm with a choice of sandwiches.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Billings Farm. Explore one of the finest operating dairy farms in America and a living museum, your gateway to Vermont's rural heritage. Billings Farm features many aspects of farm work, including care of the Jersey cows and other livestock, milking of the herd, crop rotation, and feed production. Fully restored to its 19th century heyday, the 1890 farm house contains a business office, private living space, a creamery, and an adjoining ice house. It was a model farm house, incorporating state-of-the art equipment and many indoor conveniences that exemplified model dairy operation in Vermont.

At the conclusion of the field trip, we travel to the charming town of Woodstock.

FREE TIME: Finish the day with free time to explore lovely Woodstock on your own. Don’t miss the centerpiece Woodstock Inn and the Middle Covered Bridge.

 Dinner: Enjoy the chef's use of fresh local ingredients in the Dining Room of the Inn.
 Evening: FREE EVENING: Relax before a full field trip day tomorrow and share your favorite experiences so far with new Road Scholar friends.
Accommodations: Brandon Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Hildene - Summer Home of Robert Todd Lincoln, Park McCullough House, Last Night in Vermont
(Wednesday, July 16)
 Breakfast: BREAKFAST: Breakfast is served at the inn and includes both hot and cold selections, pastries, juice, cereal, coffee.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: Park-McCullough House - At Historic Park-McCullough, you experience the grandeur of the house often described as "one of Vermont's jewels". You also participate in the elegant lifestyle made possible through vast wealth accumulated during the California Gold Rush era and subsequently added to through business dealings in finance, railroads, steamship lines and real estate development. The thirty-five room house was completed in 1865 for Trenor and Laura Park. Park engaged architect Henry Dudley, of the New York architectural firm, Diaper and Dudley, to design his "summer home", a classic example of French Second Empire style. Park-McCullough is significant for its collections and archives, accumulated by the succeeding generations of one family who lived in the House for over a century. Few buildings of such important retain as complete a collection of furniture, clothing, decorative arts, fine art that belonged to the original family as well a complete archive of family documents, including all those related to the construction, maintenance and use of the House throughout its history. The furnishings and decor are nearly unchanged. As you walk in the front door you will find rooms with fourteen-foot ceilings opening onto a gracious central hall with a sweeping staircase. The fine interior details include oak and walnut paneling, parquet floors, and bronze chandeliers (originally supplied with gas from an ingenious gas-making machine). The family appears to have just left the large, airy bedrooms upstairs. The beautiful grounds feature a playhouse, rose gardens, and a Carriage Barn that houses a fine collection of horse-drawn carriages, buggies, and sleighs.
 Lunch: LUNCH: A delicious picnic lunch is served at Hildene offering a choice of sandwich options.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Hildene - His father was born in a log cabin and called from the humblest rank in life to preside over our nation during the most momentous period of its history. One generation later, Robert Todd Lincoln, the only child of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln to survive to adulthood, became Chairman of the Pullman Company, the largest manufacturing corporation at the turn of the 20th century. He built his Georgian Revival mansion in 1905 in the scenic village of Manchester. It became home to only Lincoln descendants until 1975, longer than any other Lincoln residence. It is the Great American Story. Your visit includes a brief video presentation in the Welcome Center, a guided tour of Robert and Mary Lincoln's home, listening to the 1,000-pipe Aeolian organ and access to the Hoyt Formal Garden. You'll also want to visit the Cutting and Kitchen Gardens, the Observatory, Hildene Farm, and the exhibits. Don't forget to visit the gardens, grounds, walking trails and farm, all easy walks from the Welcome Center.
 Dinner: DINNER: Our Vermont Farewell Dinner is served in the Main Dining Room. You will choose from a two or three item menu for the evening.
 Evening: PERFORMANCE: Enjoy light music in the living room as you unwind from the days events.
Accommodations: Brandon Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Travel Day, Visit Saint Gaudens National Historic Site, Fells Historic Estate and Gardens, Arrive in Portsmouth, NH
(Thursday, July 17)

Note: Travel from Brandon, VT to Portsmouth, NH

 Breakfast: BREAKFAST: Breakfast is served at the inn and includes both hot and cold selections, pastries, juice, cereal, coffee.
 Morning: DEPARTURE: Please drop your luggage at the elevator and the staff will deliver it to the lobby of the inn. FIELD TRIP: En Route to Portsmouth - Travel to the Saint Gaudens National Historic Site - The Federal style home and studios of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, one of America's greatest sculptors, offers sophisticated landscaping including a terraced perennial garden, a cutting garden, a pergola, the Birch Grove, Pan Fountain Garden, and hundred year old hedges. Discover the home, studios and gardens of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, one of America’s greatest sculptors. See over 100 of his artworks in the galleries and on the grounds, from heroic public monuments to expressive portrait reliefs, and the gold coins which changed the look of American coinage. Enjoy summer concerts, explore nature trails, or indulge your hidden talents during a sculpture class.
 Lunch: LUNCH: Enjoy lunch served at a local restaurant in New Hampshire along our journey.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP CONTINUE: Fells Historic Estate & Gardens - The Fells Historic Estate & Gardens is one of New England’s finest examples of an early 20th-century summer estate. Come and discover 83.5 conserved acres of beauty and tranquility; learn the legacy of its founder, diplomat and statesman John Milton Hay, during historic guided tours of the 22-room Colonial Revival home; explore forest succession and nature’s diversity while walking woodland trails; and enjoy the renowned gardens. The Fells is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a preservation project of The Garden Conservancy . Enjoy a presentation by the Garden Conservancy, exploration of home, gardens and woodland trails. ARRIVE PORTSMOUTH Today we travel to Portsmouth where we overnight for the next two evenings. You will have some time to get settled in before dinner.
 Dinner: DINNER: A delicious dinner is included this evening at a Portsmouth Restaurant featuring local fare including delicious seafood.
 Evening: Relax this evening after your day long journey.
Accommodations: Holiday Inn Portsmouth
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Portsmouth Excursion, The Langdon House, Strawberry Banke Museum
(Friday, July 18)
 Breakfast: BREAKFAST: Breakfast is served at the hotel and may include both cold and hot selections.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP Governor John Langdon House. George Washington esteemed this 1784 Georgian mansion as “the first” in Portsmouth. Its reception rooms are of a grand scale suited to ceremonial occasions, ornamented by elaborate wood carving in the Rococo style. John Langdon was a merchant, shipbuilder, Revolutionary War leader, signer of the U.S. Constitution, and three-term governor of New Hampshire. He built this impressive home to express his status as Portsmouth's leading citizen. During our exploration, you will learn about the history of Portsmouth and the early colony of New Hampshire, the glory days of the city’s mercantile boom, and the Colonial Revival movement that blossomed during the early 20th Century. FIELD TRIP CONTINUE: Moffatt Ladd House - This 1763 house offers 2.5 acres of mid 19th Century gardens, including brick walks, rose arbors, herb gardens, raised flower beds and grape arbors.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own in historic downtown Portsmouth where you will have many options to choose from.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Strawberry Banke Museum and conclude the day at Prescott Park Prescott Park - This public park, home to an Arts Festival, features formal garden with fountain and an All American Trial Garden with over 500 varieties of annuals. We will feature a presentation by one of the master gardeners.
 Dinner: DINNER: A fabulous farewell dinner is included this evening at hotel or local restaurant.
Accommodations: Holiday Inn Portsmouth

(Saturday, July 19)
 Breakfast: BREAKFAST: Breakfast is served at the hotel featuring both hot and cold breakfast selections, juice, fruit, cereal, coffee.
 Morning: CHECK OUT: We board the coach by 8:15 AM and depart for our return to Brandon, VT for individual departures. We plan on returning to the Brandon Inn by 11:30 AM. People may choose to depart the program in Portsmouth and the coach can make a stop at the Amtrak Station. We hope you have enjoyed this wonderful new program and will return for other rewarding Road Scholar learning adventures in the future. Best wishes for all your journeys!
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

The History of Shelburne Farms: A Changing Landscape, An Evolving Vision

Author: Erica Huyler Donnis

Description: A chronicle of the transformation of Shelburne Farms from a collection of Vermont farms, to a renowned agricultural estate to a world-class leader in sustainability education.

Laurance S. Rockefeller: Catalyst For Conservation

Author: Robin W. Winks

Description: Winks's sympathetic portrait raises few criticisms. Notably lacking is a more thorough discussion of Rockefeller's missteps in the 1960s.... Such lapses, though, are outweighed by the book's pertinent conclusions. Not the least of these is celebrating the impact of wealth, ideas and personality focused on socially useful goals. -- The New York Times Book Review, Keith Schneider

Robert Todd Lincoln: A Man in His Own Right

Author: John S. Goff

Description: Book on Robert Todd Lincoln

Frederick Billings: A Life

Author: Robin W. Winks

Description: Frederick Billings was the first lawyer to hang his shingle in San Francisco, the man who named the city of Berkeley, and an instrumental figure in founding the University of California. An early conservationist and advocate of national parks, Billings was also president of the Northern Pacific railroad. This riveting biography captures not only Billings's dynamic life, but also the spirit and excitement of California during the gold rush era.

The Life and Works of Augustus Saint Gaudens

Author: Burke Wildinson

Description: This is a well written and illustrated biography of the great American sculptor Augustus Saint Gaudens. Wilkinson points out that biographical research on Saint Gaudens is limited by the fact that many of his personal papers have been lost, primarily through unfortunate accidents. Despite this obstacle, Wilkinson does very well in assembling a good narrative of Saint Gaudens' life and work. A good deal of the book is devoted to narrative of the creation of Saint Gaudens' major works. Like a number of his notable contemporaries, Saint Gaudens was a product of and a beneficiary of the Gilded Age. The enormous economic growth and urbanization of the USA in the post Civil War period provided considerable opportunities for American architects and sculptors. At the same time, the emergence of a fairly large and quite wealthy upper class generated patrons interested in supporting American artists. Saint Gaudens came from modest circumstances in New York City, manifested artistic skill at an early age, and was apprenticed to a cameo maker as a teenager. He and his family were subsequently able to scrape together the money for Saint Gaudens to attend the famous Beaux Arts School in Paris, the training ground for many talented Americans of his generation.

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