Weir Farm National Historical Park: Everything You Need To Know | Stanton House Inn
The grounds are lovely year-round

If you’re looking for a mix of art, history, and nature, Weir Farm National Historical Park is your go-to spot. Nestled between Ridgefield, CT, and Wilton, Connecticut, this park is a tribute to J. Alden Weir, a famous American Impressionist painter.

Julian Alden Weir bought this place in 1882, and for three generations, it became a hub of creativity for artists. Today, it’s a slice of American Impressionism heaven and a peaceful retreat for creative souls.

Ready to plan your visit to the Weir Farm National Historic Site? Let’s get into it:

Quick hits

  • Impressionism, American Style: Weir Farm proves that Impressionism isn’t just a French thing. Artists here swapped wine for brushes and captured New England’s charm.

  • Bigger Than Your Average Studio: This isn’t some tiny NYC loft. Weir Farm spans 60 acres with painting spots, trails, and an artist-in-residence program.

  • Free Fun: Enjoy art and nature without spending a dime. The park’s activities come with the price of fresh air – absolutely free.

A Brief History of Weir Farm National Historic Park

Weir Farm National Historical Park landscape at sunset

Julian Alden Weir discovered his creative sanctuary here in 1882 and lovingly called it “The Land of Nod.” It soon became a buzzing center for artistic activity in a distinctly American painting movement. Some famous artists who found inspiration here include:

  • Childe Hassam

  • Albert Pinkham Ryder

  • John Singer Sargent

But the story doesn’t end with Weir. His daughter, Cora Weir Burlingham, and her friends Sperry and Doris Andrews saw the site’s importance. They led a campaign to protect it from development, which led to the creation of Weir Farm National Historic Site in 1990. Now, 60 acres of the original estate, including Weir House and studios, are preserved for future generations. The Weir Farm Trust keeps this artistic legacy alive.

Things to do at Weir Farm National Historic Park

Weir Pond at Weir Farm National Historical Park

Whether you’re into history, art, or nature, Weir Farm National Historic Park has something for you. Here’s the lowdown on what to see and do.

Weir House and Studios

Interior of Weir House at Weir Farm National Historical Park

Start your visit at the heart of the park: Weir House and Studios. This former artist’s home is like stepping into a time machine set to 1915. You’ll find Julian Alden Weir’s original tools and artworks, giving you a peek into the life of this American artist. The exhibits also highlight Sperry and Doris Andrews, who kept the creative spirit alive at Weir Farm.

On the 45-minute guided tour, volunteers will take you through:

  • Historic painting spots

  • Flourishing gardens

  • Stone walls and open meadows

  • A tranquil pond

It’s a walk through history with a splash of inspiration.

Weir Pond and Landscape

Young Studios in the picturesque landscape of Weir Farm National Historical Park

Julian Alden Weir created this picturesque pond in 1896 with prize money from a Boston Art Club exhibition. The pond, surrounded by hardwood forests, became a muse for many of his artworks. Today, it’s a haven for both artists and nature lovers.

The park’s landscape is dotted with over 250 historic painting sites. Take a stroll on the 1.2-mile trail around the pond or explore the hiking trails beyond. The scenery and wildlife are sure to captivate you.

Burlingham House Visitor Center

Kick off your visit at the Burlingham House Visitor Center, housed in a former barn. Here, you’ll dive into exhibits that reveal the park’s historical and artistic secrets. Learn about American Impressionism and the Weir family’s contributions. You can also check out paintings by past Artists-in-Residence and join in various art programs and workshops. And the best part? It’s all free!

Activities and Programs

At Weir Farm, you’re not just a visitor; you’re part of the story. The park offers a bunch of activities and programs to get you involved.

Guided Tours and Walks

The woods in Weir Farm National Historic Site

Join a guided tour or walk to get an immersive experience of the park’s history and beauty. You’ll explore:

  • Historical painting sites

  • Stone walls

  • The picturesque pond

Walk the trails or explore the Weir House, Weir Studio, and Young Studio. Each tour, led by knowledgeable park rangers, offers a unique glimpse into the park’s rich heritage.

Workshops and Events

If you’re looking to flex those creative muscles, the Weir Farm Art Center has a bunch of workshops and programs for all skill levels. Whether you’re a pro sharpening your skills or a newbie eager to explore your artistic side, there’s something for you.

Throughout the year, Weir Farm hosts various events that are perfect for community engagement and cultural enrichment. From free professional development workshops for educators to Impressionist Painting Workshops, there’s always something happening that connects you to the park’s rich artistic and cultural heritage.

Artist-in-Residence Program

Artist-in-Residence at Weir Farm National Historic Site

Picture this: living and creating art in a place that has inspired artists for over a century. That’s exactly what the Artist-in-Residence program at Weir Farm offers. It’s a dream come true for any artist, open to graduate and doctoral students, emerging artists, and professionals aged 25 and up.

As an Artist-in-Residence, you’ll get all the supplies and gear you need to fuel your creativity. It’s a unique chance to immerse yourself in the legacy of Weir Farm and add your own chapter to its artistic story.

Plan Your Visit

The home of Julian Alden Weir

Planning a trip to Weir Farm National Historic Site is a piece of cake. Whether you’re coming for a day trip or staying longer, this national park, managed by the National Park Service, promises a memorable experience.

Operating Hours and Seasons

Weir Farm is open every day from sunrise to sunset. Perfect for early birds and late risers alike! Just a heads-up: from November through April, all park buildings, including restrooms, are closed, and public buildings are closed on federal holidays like Memorial Day and Labor Day, though they often open on the Fourth of July in CT.

If you’re not sure, check the National Park Service website, just in case.

The Weir House and Studios are open for guided tours from 10 AM to 4 PM. If you’re keen on diving into the park’s history, catch a guided tour at:

  • 11 AM

  • 1 PM

  • 2 PM

  • 3 PM

Admission and Fees

Here’s the best part: Weir Farm National Historic Site is free to enter! Yup, you can soak in the beautiful landscapes, historic buildings, and artistic vibes without spending a dime.

Even the guided tours, which offer deep insights into the park’s history and its artists, won’t cost you a penny. If you’re feeling generous, though, donations are always welcome. They go to the Friends of Weir Farm NHP, a group dedicated to preserving and promoting the park.

Restaurants near Weir Farm National Historical Park

Dining area at Grace Farms in nearby New Canaan, CT

After a day of exploring and getting artsy at Weir Farm National Historical Park, you’re probably ready to eat. Luckily, there are some great restaurants nearby. Here are a few top picks:

In Wilton, CT:

  • Cactus Rose Cantina: Perfect for a Mexican food fix.

  • Craft 14 Kitchen + Bar: A casual spot with a fun vibe.

  • Baldanza at the Schoolhouse: Ideal for a romantic dinner.

In Ridgefield, CT:

  • TerraSole Ristorante: An Italian gem.

  • The Hideaway Kitchen and Bar: Great for a cozy meal.

  • Lantern: Another solid choice.

  • Tablao: For a unique dining experience.

  • Organika Kitchen: Healthy and delicious.

These spots will ensure you have a delightful meal in these charming towns.

Directions to Weir Farm National Historic Site from Greenwich, CT

Landscape preservation has kept much of the area as bucolic as the days of the American artists

Getting to Weir Farm from our Greenwich, CT, bed and breakfast is a breeze. Here’s how:

  1. Start at Stanton House Inn and head towards the Merritt Parkway.

  2. Drive along the parkway to Route 7 in Norwalk, CT.

  3. Follow the signs to Weir Farm at 735 Nod Hill Road, Wilton, CT 06897.

It’s about a 35-minute drive from Greenwich, CT, give or take.

Hotels, Inns, and Places to Stay near Weir Farm National Historical Park

Flowers on a bedside table in a guest room

If you want to stay nearby, Ridgefield, Connecticut, has some charming options:

  • West Lane Inn: Historic and cozy.

  • Fountain Inn: Country charm meets boutique hotel.

Both inns are within walking distance of Keeler Tavern and Main Street, blending old-world charm with modern comforts.

Discover More Things to do near Weir Farm National Historical Park

Hiking trail in Wilton, Connecticut

The adventure doesn’t stop at Weir Farm. The surrounding area is packed with cool spots that mix history, art, and nature. Read on:

Bush-Holley House

First up, check out the Bush-Holley House in Cos Cob, CT. This place was the heart of the Cos Cob art colony in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Julian Alden Weir even visited here before setting up his retreat at Weir Farm.

Now a Greenwich, CT, museum, the Bush-Holley House offers a peek into the past with:

  • Preserved rooms where artists lived and worked

  • Original art displays

  • Stories about the daily lives of the colony’s members

It’s a must-see for any art lover.

Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

Sign at the entrance to the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

Next, swing by the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, CT. Established in 1964, it was one of the first museums in the US dedicated to contemporary art. Here, you’ll find:

  • Paintings

  • Sculptures

  • Installations

  • New media works

Open Wednesday to Saturday, the museum also offers tours and talks with curators, artists, and scholars. Whether you’re a seasoned art enthusiast or just curious, you’ll enjoy the experience.

Devil’s Den Preserve

Pond at Devil's Den Preserve

For a dose of nature, head to Devil’s Den Preserve. This massive 1,756-acre reserve is perfect for hiking and unwinding. With over 20 miles of Connecticut hiking trails, it’s an adventurer’s dream. Plus, the preserve’s history dates back over 5,000 years, with remnants of an old sawmill near Godfrey Pond.

Philip Johnson Glass House

Philip Johnson Glass House in New Canaan, CT

Last but not least, visit the Philip Johnson Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut. Built in 1949, this modernist masterpiece has transparent walls that blend the indoors with the outdoors. The 49-acre estate includes:

  • A Painting Gallery

  • A Sculpture Gallery

  • A Pavilion in the Pond

It’s a great spot for fans of art, history, and architecture.

Tl;dr

If you’re into art, history, or nature, Weir Farm National Historical Park is a must-visit. It’s a living museum of American Impressionism, a creative sanctuary, and a natural paradise all rolled into one. You can explore the Weir House and Studios, take a leisurely stroll around Weir Pond, and join various workshops and events. This place is a perfect blend of history, art, and nature, making it a great spot for everyone.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Weir Farm important?

Weir Farm is the only National Park in Connecticut. It preserves the landscapes, home, and studios of the iconic American painter Julian Alden Weir. It’s a special place where art, history, and nature come together.

How big is Weir Farm?

Weir Farm is a cozy 60-acre park. Not too big, not too small—just the right size for creativity to flourish!

Are dogs allowed at Weir Farm?

Absolutely! Dogs are welcome at Weir Farm and the Weir Preserve as long as they’re on a leash. So, bring your furry friend along for a fun stroll!

Who was Julian Alden Weir and what’s his connection to Weir Farm National Historical Park?

Julian Alden Weir was a big shot in the American art world. He turned Weir Farm into his summer home, and now it’s a part of the National Park Service, showcasing his studio and the beautiful surroundings. He was one of the few artists who made it big in his lifetime, and his legacy lives on here.

What are the main attractions at Weir Farm National Historical Park?

When you visit Weir Farm, don’t miss these highlights:

  • Weir House and Studios: Step into the past and see where Weir worked his magic.

  • Weir Pond: Perfect for a relaxing walk and some great photo ops.

  • Burlingham House Visitor Center: Learn more about the park’s history and its artistic heritage.