This spring, I discovered the vast properties held by The Trustees of Reservations, who protect over 100 properties in Massachusetts from development or falling into ruin. I bought a family membership and my husband and I have enjoyed visiting a different property several weekends since.
Recently, we visited the delightful Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate in nearby Canton, Massachusetts. Eleanor inherited the estate, built in 1902, from her uncle and eventually passed it to the Trustees. Until recently, the house served as administrative space, but now the remarkable formal gardens have been restored to their former glory. This year, in fact, there were three successive plantings, 5,000 tulips in the spring, rare lilies raised from seeds imported from England in the summer, and when we were there, a dozen humming birds were dive-bombing the late summer flowers.
The interior of the house has elegant bones but contains very little that originally belonged to Eleanor, as all went to her heirs. The guide told us that there used to be two Monets, because Eleanor’s aunt, American Impressionist Lilla Cabot Perry, studied with him in France. She spent nine summers working with Claude Monet at Giverny. Cabot Perry also played a significant role in introducing the Impressionists to wealthy Bostonians. I’m always amazed by the way people are relié (ruh-lee-ay), or interconnected, across countries and centuries.