On Sunday afternoon, The Duke Mansion opened its doors to the public for the Beyond the Fountain: Duke Mansion Home & Garden Tour. With the mansion being one of the most well-known homes in Charlotte, we looked forward to touring the home which was built in 1915 and purchased by James B. Duke in 1919. Since that time the home has hosted many of the leaders of the 20th century. Other legacies left behind by Duke are the Duke University, Duke Energy and the Duke Endowment. The Duke Mansion is listed on the National Register of Historical places and is operated as a nonprofit.
Today you can hold conferences in one of the meeting rooms in the mansion, and you can also stay in one of their 20 rooms, most of which we were able to see on our tour. I loved seeing the massive crystal chandeliers and imagining what The Duke Mansion might have been like when James B. Duke and his family called it home.
The self-guided tour begins in the library where we learned a brief history of the mansion before continuing the tour.
There were vases filled with gorgeous flowers in all of the rooms, but these peonies were definitely one of my favorites, simple and elegant.
On the second floor of the mansion you can see many of the 20 rooms that the mansion has available for guests to stay in, as well as this conference room that has access to one of the screened in porches off the front of the house.
We popped out onto one of the back porches, because I simply cannot resist a swing.
As part of the 100th Anniversary celebration for The Duke Mansion, we embarked on an expansive plan to make our 4.5 acres of grounds and gardens a place of wonder and delight, befitting the history of The Mansion itself. With the support of generous donors, the artistry of Laurie Durden, the garden designer and the continued partnership of Providence Landscape Group, today The Duke Mansion gardens are open to explore and enjoy.
Although the temperatures were in the 90’s throughout our tour of the house and gardens, the shady trees through the expansive gardens, offered a little relief from the heat.
I loved seeing all the beautiful hydrangea which ranged from bright whites (that all the bubble bees in the garden kept buzzy around) to pinks and lavender.
One of the trees that seemed to excite all of the visitors to the garden was a massive magnolia tree, with its branches reaching down towards the ground thereby giving you an excellent view of some of the gorgeous blooms. (Although I do admit this bloom required me to stand on my tippy-toes!)
You can visit The Mary DBT Semans Gardens at The Duke Mansion nearly everyday during ‘daylight hours’ but it’s a good idea to call ahead in case there are any private events being held before you plan your visit.