Grey Towers National Historic Site
Managed by U.S. Forest Service
The sole National Historic Site managed by the U.S. Forest Service, Grey Towers was the ancestral home of Gifford Pinchot, the agency’s first director and the twice-elected governor of Pennsylvania. Completed in 1886, the 43-room, L-shaped mansion was built to look like a French château. After Gifford’s father endowed the nation’s first graduate forestry program at Yale, their summer school was held on the property from 1901 to 1926.
Mansion tour, Letter Box, Bait Box, Finger Bowl, Pinchot Timeline Trail
We had just visited the three National Park Service sites in Hyde Park, New York before we stumbled upon this spot while driving to Steamtown National Historic Site, so we opted not to take another guided tour (fee) inside a mansion. It was a beautiful September day, so instead we enjoyed an hour walking around and photographing the property while stopping to read the numerous interpretive signs. Our favorite cottage was the Bait Box, a playhouse for Gifford’s son.
There are self-guided interpretive trails around the 102-acre property, including the Pinchot Timeline Trail and Forestry Trail.
The Finger Bowl was a unique outdoor dining area where chairs were pulled up to the edge of a pool that had bowls of food floating on its surface. It sits beneath a beautiful, wisteria-covered arbor.
The grounds are open daily 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. from Memorial Day weekend through October and the gates are locked at 4:30 p.m. the rest of the year. Guided tours (fee) of the home and gardens start every hour on the hour starting at 11 a.m. Thursday through Monday in the summer.
There is no fee to walk the grounds, but it costs $8 per person to take the tour (50% off with America the Beautiful pass).
The road to Grey Towers is paved and there is limited handicap parking located much closer to the house than the main parking lot.
See our blog post on Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area for a list of State Parks and State Forests with campgrounds in the area.
Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River (New York-Pennsylvania)
Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site (Pennsylvania)
Steamtown National Historic Site (Pennsylvania)
Nearest National Park
Explore More – Gifford’s father regretted the environmental damage done by which industry where he made his fortune?