This weekend we drove out to Richmond to see Maymont Park! I had some other things planned but it started raining so… for another time, I guess! This park was so awesome though – we could’ve easily made an entire day of it. On the grounds there is a Japanese Garden, Italian Garden, butterfly garden, a barn with farm animals, a nature center, wetlands, a mansion, a mausoleum, different animals you would normally see at a zoo (see them ➳ here!), a fragrance garden, a waterfall (it was dry today) and even a private residence! It would be pretty cool to live here…
They offer tours of the mansion, but we didn’t get to do it! The inside of this place looks incredible according to the photos I’ve seen online, so we’ll definitely have to visit again! The tours are held Tuesday through Sunday on the hour and half hour with the last tours being held at 4:30pm, and the fee is a suggested $5 donation! So if you visit, definitely fit this into your plans!
Admission to the estate is a “suggested” $5 (as a donation) so essentially, it’s free. But they need over 3 million dollars each year to keep the property maintained, so always leave a donation! This estate is open year round, but check the website for their hours, as they change seasonally!
Maymont is a 100-acre American estate and was actually a gift from the owners (James and Sally Dooley) who lived on it from 1893-1925! It’s currently operated by a non-profit organization (The Maymont Foundation) so they take donations, like I mentioned before, and they also offer memberships!
The history of this estate is actually pretty interesting, I pulled this directly from their website because after reading it, I couldn’t just sum it up !
“During the Gilded Age of the late 1880s through the 1910s—the era of Carnegie, Rockefeller and Vanderbilt —millionaires demonstrated their prosperity through their elaborate homes. Richmond-born financier James Dooley was among this new class in American society. His home, Maymont, stands today as a remarkably complete expression of Gilded Age luxury and opulence.
Maymont was the 100-acre Victorian country estate of James Henry and Sallie May Dooley. In 1886, the Dooleys first viewed and purchased the rough pasture and field that would become Maymont. At the age of forty, with no children and the resources of her husband’s prosperity at her disposal, Sallie Dooley led the effort to transform the landscape into a showplace that would rival the lavish estates that were springing up throughout the country.
The Romanesque-style mansion was completed in 1893. The Dooleys spent the next three decades filling its sumptuous interiors with treasures from around the world and establishing Maymont’s magnificent gardens, landscapes and architectural complex.
Major Dooley died in 1922, and upon Mrs. Dooley’s death in 1925, Maymont was bequeathed to the City of Richmond. There were no heirs to remodel the residence and its interiors. There were no subsequent generations to parcel the land or to sell off the Dooleys’ distinctly personal collection of decorative arts. In fact, only six months after Mrs. Dooley’s death, Maymont opened as a public park and museum, and has survived intact. Today it is an unusually complete example of a Gilded Age estate. The estate, including the residence, gardens, grounds and original architectural complex, remains very much as it was during the Dooleys’ time.
In 1975, the private nonprofit Maymont Foundation was formed to undertake overall responsibility for the City of Richmond property…”
The park map we got when we walked in gives you different routes for getting around so you can see everything you want. But.. per usual, we left the map in Kyle’s back pocket and we just ran around like children. NO ORDER AT ALL.
FUN FACT: There are over 25 historic buildings on this property & 33 rooms in the mansion!
We walked them down, and then walked them all the way back up. LOL. How pretty, though? I mean… seriously. The view was so beautiful and it was so much fun to explore!
Right now, the barn is closed for construction, so if you walk that way, you’ll only see the bison and then the horses (from afar). But the rest of the park totally makes up for it!
FUN FACT: Before this was the grand estate that it is, it was dairy farm!
FUN FACT: The Italian Gardens were modeled after the classical style that was actually popular in Italy during the 15th and 16th centuries!
Read more about it ➳ here!
“Come this way, it’s awesome!”
“I wore the wrong attire for this, apparently.”
This is where the waterfall was supposed to be. As disappointed as I was to see it was dry – it was still so gorgeous! I love the exposed rock and color and all the greeeen! Swoon.
There were so many different bridges around the Japanese gardens. Like this one, ones made from stone, some from wood, some were just planks of rock, and there were stepping stones in the pond, too!
“I’m almost positive this is against the rules.” “This has be a liability issue or something.”
Climbs anyways. 😂
The Italian Gardens! There was a wedding held there today, which was cool to see being set up! It’s such a gorgeous spot for one. Or anything, really. It was beautiful!
The Maymont also rents out the facilities for birthdays, corporate events, private events, and photography sessions!
“Hold this. Hold that. I’m gunna climb a little.”
“…ok, don’t step on the wet rock. DON’T GO ANY FURTHER.”
“Look, a rock couch!”
The view! 😍
“LET ME TAKE YOUR PICTURE.”
The Japanese Gardens were the best! The whole area was incredible. A photographer’s dream!
You can read about the Japanese Gardens ➳ here!
There is a lot of great information on how it was designed, what the colors mean, what certain plants mean, what additions were added, and more!
This whole tree was carved as far up as a human being could reach, with initials, names, and drawings! It was so cool to see.
My kimono was appropriate for the Japanese Gardens. hehe! 😝
FUN FACT: Landscaped gardens actually originated in China! And then in the 7th century they were brought to Japan by Korean gardeners.
(Going toward the nature center & barn!)
Overall, I was completely impressed! It was not what I thought it would be. It’s a great spot for walking, running, exploring – a great attraction for those that are from out of town, perfect for photography sessions of any kind, and just fun to experience! The weather was perfect – it was about 70-75 degrees and cloudy with a sweet breeze. It was such a good day! I can’t even explain how happy I was there! Definitely visit if you ever get the chance, at the very least, walk through the Italian and Japanese gardens. It’s so worth the stop!
You can check out their website ➳ Here for more information!