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Heritage Museums and Gardens
Heritage Museums and Gardens Review
These 100 beautifully landscaped acres overlooking the upper end of Shawme Pond are one of the region's top draws. Paths crisscross the grounds, which include gardens planted with hostas, heather, herbs, and fruit trees. Rhododendrons are in full glory from mid-May through mid-June, and daylilies reach their peak from mid-July through early August. In 1967, pharmaceuticals magnate Josiah K. Lilly III purchased the estate and turned it into a nonprofit museum. A highlight is the Shaker Round Barn, which showcases classic and historic cars—including a 1919 Pierce-Arrow, a 1915 Milburn Light Electric, and a 1911 Stanley Steamer, and a 1930 yellow-and-green Duesenberg built for movie star Gary Cooper. The history museum houses a semipermanent exhibit called "A Bird in the Hand," as well as seasonal exhibitions. The art museum has an extraordinary collection of New England folk art, including paintings, weather vanes, Nantucket baskets, and scrimshaw. Both adults and children can enjoy riding on a Coney Island-style carousel dating from the early 20th century. Other features include Hidden Hollow, an outdoor activity center for families with children.
A shuttle bus—equipped with a wheelchair lift and space to stow baby strollers—transports visitors on certain days. In summer, concerts are held in the gardens, often on Wednesday or Saturday evening or Sunday afternoon. The center of the complex is about ¾ mi on foot from the in-town end of Shawme Pond.
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