Lorenzo is the name of a big old Dutch patroon mansion in Cazenovia, NY. Legend has it that the house was named for an Italian artist. I think the builder, John Lincklaen of Holland, was enamored with Italians. The house and its contents have a definite Italian flavor.
The house was built in 1807. It remains in incredible shape. All the furnishings were donated to the State by the family. Even the daily weather journal was given. The book rested on an antique desk, open to today in 1888 (it was recorded as 78 degrees F on this day in 1888– presently, we were sweltering at 87 degrees).
Admission for touring the mansion was $5 for an adult, $4 for a student, and children under 12 were free. Roaming the grounds and the carriage house (which holds a mini museum and a cool collection of original carriages and sleighs) was free.
We took advantage of the tour and got first-class treatment from the tour guide. Unfortunately, photographing the interior of Lorenzo was verboten, so I am pictureless. Sorry. We had a lively chat with the tour guide about the history of the site and about some of the artifacts on display. It was an excellent experience.
After our tour, we wandered the grounds. There is a great view of Cazenovia Lake from the front of the mansion. Originally, the property extended all the way to the lake shore, but today, Route 13 cuts across the front yard.
I really liked the gardens. I think the kids could have spent all day running around the paths and hiding under the looming pine trees. There was so much to explore! Little nooks and “secret” gardens were peppered across the grounds.
A sundial, a fountain, and stone horse trough added that “English cottage” atmosphere.
The Lincklaens never had any children. Such a large house with fanciful gardens, and no children to fill it! They adopted a nephew who inherited the house, and he later had one child, a daughter. She grew up, but remained childless, too. The house was granted to the State in 1967. All the family’s furnishings, art, personal possessions (even clothing!), and everything else you can imagine, was granted with the house. To tour the house is like stepping back in time. I love living museums like that.
For more information, visit www.lorenzony.org.