Thursday, April 24, 2008

Deadline Extended

Thanks to your continued support, the deadline has been until extended until May 31 and permission granted to open for the season on May 9, 2008. Initially, we will be open Wed-Sunday, from 10am to 4pm, then after Memorial Day, we will be open seven days a week. Support us by coming to visit us in the beautiful Berkshires!
We extend heartfelt thanks to one and all who called or mailed in contributions and good wishes. Pending approval, processing of the pledges will begin in early May. We will be sending further notification to all who sent in or pledged, along with seasonal information.
We are still a long way from our ultimate goal, so please continue to spread the word and send your support

The Staff and Volunteers at the Mount

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Mount holds a very special connection

The Mount holds a very special connection for us, as we became engaged there four years ago. Arranged in advance by my husband with The Mount's wonderful staff and volunteers, everything from the bottle of champagne chilling in a silver bucket in the Italian garden where he proposed to the beauty of the house and gardens and the warm welcome we received - was perfection.

We can't express how much The Mount meant to us as we began our new life together then, and it continues to hold a special place in our hearts today. We truly hope that it continues to be accessible for the public and play a part in cherished memories to come.

With sincere gratitude,

Chad and Stacey Dunwiddie

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Update from The Mount

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Calls and contributions continue to come in, with a recent gift of $50K in support of the new leadership, and over half of the contributions in recent weeks coming from new donors. So despite the long road still ahead to the goal of $3 million, we hope your continued support and the campaign's momentum will allow us to open as planned for the 2008 season on May 9th.

Please continue to spread the word that we need everyone's help, and if you are planning a trip to the Berkshires this summer, pay us a visit and show us your support in person!

Stay tuned to this blog and the main web site for updates later in the week,

The Staff and Volunteers at The Mount

A neighbor in need

(excerpts from a letter to the editor, orginally printer in the Berkshire Eagle on 4/13)

"The recent headlines about The Mount are a challenge that we cannot ignore. There is a very real chance that this treasure will be lost to the public if significant support does not appear this month. We think that this cause is indeed a worthy one.

In the recent past, the generosity of many donors (giving in both large and small amounts) brought most of the house and the gardens back to life for all to enjoy. But The Mount is not just a pretty house. It represents a crowning achievement of a very creative woman, and is one of the few places to do so. Its importance in this light goes far beyond Berkshire County and even our county's shores.

Edith Wharton connected the Berkshires with the international community partly through her travels and her expertise in home and garden design. But she is, of course, best known for her great contribution to the art of literature. The Mount has continued in this tradition by hosting presentations from the contemporary literary community and through its marvelous encouragement of local student writers. Edith would have been very proud!

Please consider The Mount a good neighbor that needs our support - a neighbor that we don't want to lose. "

Tony and Corinne Cafaro

From a young writer

(posted April 17)

I'm Grace Ettinger, I'm 7 years old and I live in Portland, Oregon. I don't enjoy the idea of taking Edith Wharton's home "The Mount" and not letting the public see what it was like to live in that time. Film-makers and novelists and writers go to The Mount to get inspiration. If you do not let the public see it...well, let's just put it this way, if you don't let the public see it, then the public will forget about Edith Wharton.

(Grace wrote this during writer's workshop in her second grade class today. We discussed The Mount after I told her about the article in the Sunday New York Times -- Grace's Mom)

(Thank you Grace { and Grace's Mom}. We couldn't agree more!)

Ethan Frome

(posted April 16)

I've never been to the Mount but reading Ethan Frome had a profound impact on my life. Good luck with your fundraising efforts.

Monica Burke

Monday, April 14, 2008

Update from the Mount


We had a large number of mail and calls in the last several days, which makes us all hopeful. If anyone had trouble getting through on the phones, we apologize. We will make available the new totals as soon as we can. Please remember no contributions will be processed until we have achieved successful restructuring with our creditors.

With gratitude,
The Staff and Volunteers at the Mount

First visit to the Mount

(message of appreciation sent 4/14)
We first visited "The Mount" about 5 years ago, when the interior was mostly distressed. I had read a few of Edith's books, including the book on interior decoration so I was fascinated by the home and surroundings. Back again last year, we were so happy to see the gardens refurbished and more interior rooms decorated. Just walking up to the house through those tall trees is heavenly! It is a crime to let this house go!

Colette Malik

Visited the house.

(posted 4/14 by a supporter)
Visited the house on a trip (sponsored) through the New York Public Library and was charmed completely. Hope it all works out!!!

Cheryl Ringelheim
Queens Legal

From the Mount

Good morning! Thank you all for your continued responses. On Saturday, April 12th, the New York Times ran a very entertaining Op-Ed piece by Brock Clarke, author of An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England. I won't spoil the piece for you, but if you haven't yet read it, check it out! Sounds like the gauntlet has been thrown by Mr. Clarke. Do New Yorkers wish to "reclaim from Massachusetts the mantle of regional superiority"? Do New Englanders wish to be "thought of as doomed, taciturn mopes"?

Thanks to Mr. Clarke for such a provocative read and the Times for running it. Let us know what you think!

The Mount

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Dream Not Yet Realized

(posted April 10th)
For years it has been my dream to visit The Mount.

When the website came out, I was thrilled to finally see it in photographs. I could visualize my walks through those hallowed halls. Dreaming of the day or two that could be spent wandering through the Edith Wharton's inspiration.

There's a lump in my throat. Now that retreat may be lost. I fear I'll never see it.
To every writer out there, please pledge your support.

Karen Grooms
Poulsbo, Washington

My daughter's wedding

(posted on March 26th)
My daughter, Ivy Vale, was married in the most beautiful wedding ceremony in the garden at the Mount. She made her entry in a horse drawn carriage, with her father at her side with the music from "Gone With the Wind" playing. This was her dream and we were so happy to be able to have it come true at The Mount. The year was 1988, and it took a great deal of "fixing up" to be able to use the mansion and the grounds to full effect. We have wonderful memories, with thanks to Edith Wharton.
Nancy Vale, Stockbridge, MA and New York City.

Our book group

(posted by a supporter on March 25th)
Our book group (an eclectic, smart, fun-loving bunch of middle-aged women from Stanfordville, Wassaic, Pine Plains, Clinton Corners and Red Hook, New York) decided in February to read Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence and to visit The Mount as part of our May book club meeting. While listening to NPR one morning, I heard the story about the financial problems there and emailed our group to ask if anyone would be interested in pledging to help save The Mount. We were all excited about the prospect of reading this classic literature and being able to take a field trip to visit and enjoy the beautiful house and gardens as part of our Edith Wharton experience. How sad to finally "discover" Edith Wharton, practically in our backyards, and then suddenly lose out and not be able to visit this literary treasure.
Today I made a pledge on behalf of our book group. We hopeful that the necessary support will come through and pleased we can help in our small way. We look forward to visiting in May!

Debra Skiver Cardillo
Where Great Children's Books Play Nicely

Friday, April 11, 2008

Greetings from The Mount!

Apologies for the temporary silence from the Mount. We are indeed alive and well and have been working hard to keep up with the steady stream of contributions and suggestions that have come to us from near and far. We are fast approaching the $650,000 mark in contributions from over 1,000 friends and supporters and hope everyone will keep spreading the word.
The great news is that the staff and volunteers are actively planning for a May 9th opening. Mark it on your calendars!

We will post details on hours, volunteer opportunities and events planned as soon as we able. We have a tentative line up for the popular lecture series waiting in the wings as well.

For those of you in the New York or Boston area, Hermione Lee is appearing in conjunction with the paperback release of her biography of Edith Wharton at the 92nd Street Y this Sunday, April 13( ) and at Brookline Booksmiths ( on April 16. Professor Lee has been very supportive of the Mount and we appreciate her continued help in spreading the word.

While we are thrilled to get moving with real plans for a 2008 season, we fully realize that we still face an April 24th deadline. We hope the more momentum the campaign gains, the greater the chances are we can open for the season. We continue to count on your support and generosity.

Thank you,
The Staff and Volunteers at the Mount