Over the last few years, tours at Meadow Brook have changed drastically. 20 years ago, guests on our house tour would learn all about the fine art, furnishings, and materials in the home (that the wood beams in the Sun Porch are Wormy Chestnut, for example). Though every house tour is different, today most docents focus more on family stories, architecture and design elements of The Hall. It’s a more modern tour and guests really respond to it.
We try to update our tours periodically, because it’s important to our mission to share and interpret the Meadow Brook story in the best way possible. This year, we decided to make changes to the Estate Walking tour that have already increased its popularity and guest satisfaction. It’s so much better that even our docents can’t get enough of the tour!
The Estate Walking tour’s long, beautiful but often “warm” walk through all of the gardens has been shortened. This allows us to expand the tour by focusing more on the development of the Meadow Brook Estate itself. After the tour, guests can explore the Rose, Breakfast, Pegasus and Knot gardens on their own with the aid of an illustrated walking tour map that is included with the ticket.
The new walking tour explores the funding, design, creation and development of the Meadow Brook Estate through maps, photographs, special access to several outbuildings and of course a walk through the property. The tour examines the history of Meadow Brook Farms, the founding and success of Dodge Brothers Motor Car Company, the landscape design and the history of American country estates. Access to the (air-conditioned) Dodge Brothers exhibit, Knole Cottage and Dan’s Cabin round out the tour.
How did the Dodge brothers get their start? Why didn’t the Wilson’s ever complete their extensive landscape plan for Meadow Brook Hall? What was life like for the children growing up here? All of these questions and more are answered on the Estate Walking tour. You’ll even get to learn my favorite “Meadow Brook mystery.”
I love the Estate Walking tour now, so much so that on Thursday, August 11 at 1:00 pm, I will be the guest docent. I hope that you’ll come along on my tour!*
*Tickets will not sell out for this tour. If the group is too large to tour the playhouses and the Dodge Brothers exhibit together, we will break into smaller groups for those two buildings (which could increase the length of the tour from 1 hour to 1.5 hours)