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Russell Wright's Manitoga

In the 1930's, 40's and 50's, the signature on a set of dinnerware or piece of furniture elicited instant response. At that time, Wright was one of the best known designers in the U.S. At the apex of his career, Wright left New York City and moved his base of operations to Garrison. It was here that he created a unique home and designed landscape. He named it Manitoga, meaning Place of the Great Spirit in Algonquin. Wright shared the Native Americans' respect for the earth.

When Wright first found this property in 1942, it had been damaged by a century of quarrying and lumbering. Over the next three decades, until his death in 1976, he carefully redesigned and re-sculpted Manitoga's 75 acres using native plants, his training as a theater designer and sculptor, and his innovative design ideas. Though the landscape appears natural, it is actually a careful design of native trees, rocks, ferns, mosses, and wild flowers.

Wright created over four miles of paths that wind over creeks, into woods, among boulders, and through ferns and mountain laurel.

Manitoga is the only 20th century modern homesite open to the public in New York, and one of few on the east coast. Wright considered it his most important creative effort. In 1996 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Manitoga's mission is to preserve the legacy of pioneer designer Russel Wright-his home, landscape, products, archives and philosophy, and share them with professionals and the public.

Manitoga is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Hiking Manitoga

Hike over 4 miles of paths through a 75-acre designed landscape with links to the Appalachian Trail. Self Guided Hikes. Daily, during daylight hours. Admission; members free. Admission: Suggested paths maintenance contribution of $5.00 per adult/$3.00 per child. Honor system: please place money in slot located at the maps/brochure kiosk by the small gift shop building. Enjoy a picnic while hiking; carry in-carry out, please keep the paths clean. Pets welcome if kept on a leash; please pick up and keep the paths clean.

All paths begin at a subtle opening at the edge of Mary's Meadow, named after Wright's wife, who was also a designer. Wright designed his paths as a journey into the secrets of the forest. The trees provide an enclosed blanket of green and we are led by his unseen hand through its mysteries to make our own discoveries. The initial ascent and carefully laid stone steps are the first illustration of the work involved in creating this designed landscape. In building a path, Wright would study the landscape and find the land's natural contour to determine the direction of the paths.

In keeping with Wright's original plan, all of the paths were designed to go in one direction as indicated by the map and the path markers. In addition to the description below, your journey wiII be facilitated by following the color-coded markers for each path.

Visitors can view Dragon Rock from the View spot at the base of the Quarry Pond. The path leading around the pond is open only by appointment.

Visiting Manitoga

April - October, Daily tours, Monday - Friday at 11 am, Saturday and Sunday, tours at 11 am and 1:30 pm

Tours are limited to 14 people. Reservations are accepted for all tours during weekend office hours, 9-5 Monday - Friday. Visitors meet at the small gift shop next to the parking lot located off Route 9D in Garrison, NY. The guide will arrive just before the tour begins.

Tour experience: Tours begin with a 15 minute documentary about Russel Wright¹s life. Afterward, visitors follow the inner quarry pond trail around to his home and studio. The landscape features views of Dragon Rock, a field of mountain laurel, a moss room, a stone staircase up the hill, and a wood plank bridge over the waterfall. Tours last approximately 90 minutes and are conducted rain or shine. Please wear comfortable walking shoes and dress appropriately. Visitors need to be able to negotiate uneven ground.

Adults $15, Seniors $13 (62 or older), Children $5 (13 & under), Members Benefits include free house tour, Group Tours $150 minimum fee

Specifics on visiting Russell Wright's Manitoga were correct at time of publication. We would suggest that you confirm dates and times prior to your visit.
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