Over Thanksgiving, the hubs and I went back to Pennsylvania to visit his side of the family. I literally cried when I saw fall color (I’ve been a bit deprived)!!
It was a nice week spending time with family, trying out a few local spots, seeing more horse-drawn buggies than I’ve seen in my whole life, and finally checking out the 1860’s mansion Andrew’s family has been restoring for… a few years. 😉 As his dad says, “It seems to take forever when you’re doing things right.”
This incredibly antique mansion has been given new life since they bought it. They’re not quite done renovating it yet, but I’ll take you through my favorite parts and give a little history along the way.
The Isaac S. Long Mansion
As I mentioned, this mansion was built in 1860 by Isaac Long. Isaac lived in New York but built this “summer home” (ha!) in Pennsylvania where he could hunt and spend his spare time. I wish I could have a summer home with 18 rooms!
Much of the woodwork around the windows used to be painted brown, so you couldn’t see any of the intricate details. For the longest time, this mansion was known as the “haunted house” because of how creepy it looked but Andrew’s family since hand-painted all the woodwork to bring out the detail. With the fresh paint and vivid colors, I don’t think it looks quite so haunted now. 🙂
That Old Time Feel
One thing I love about really old houses is how it’s so obvious they were built for a different era. For example, along the outside of the property is a beautiful 7-foot stone wall. As we were driving up to the house I noticed small rings on the wall every 10 feet or so. Turns out, they were actually for visitors to tie up their horses before coming inside!
Another way this house feels “old” is its heating system – 7 fireplaces and 6 chimneys! The heat started in the basement with a GIANT fireplace. It doubled as the oven where they’d prep meals. Can you imagine the smell of dinner being wafted into every room in the house?!
The heat from the fireplace would flow through the ducts and out through beautifully-designed vents. I’m not kidding. Even the vents were intricate.
Since one giant basement fireplace isn’t enough for 18 rooms, there are also several other fireplaces throughout the house. Here were a couple of my favorites…
3 stories high + a widows walk
One thing that makes this house so grand is its sheer height. It’s 3 stories high and has a spiral staircase going up the middle of the house. Standing on the 1st floor, you can see the ceiling of the 3rd floor! Here’s the view from the 3rd floor down…
The 3rd floor leads up to the “Widow’s Walk.” Isaac Long used this lookout to keep an eye on his hired men working in the corn fields.
One of my favorite rooms in the house has antique wallpaper. Okay, it’s a little overwhelming, but it just seems to work.
I think the wallpaper seems so exquisite because it’s textured. If you run your fingers over the surface, you’ll feel the twist and turn of every design.
This flower theme runs throughout the entire house with similar paintings in several of its rooms.
Flowers are also intricately carved into the woodwork. These corner pieces were painted entirely one color, but Andrew’s sister has been re-painting them to bring out the detail.
I’d be amiss if I didn’t show you the belfry, or belltower on the roof of the mansion. Like the rest of the house, the detail is simply magnificent. I hear it still rings pretty loud, too!
There you have it, folks! I hope you enjoyed the mini tour through “the mansion.” I feel like all the pictures in the world wouldn’t do it justice, but I hope you got a peek into its grandeur. 🙂
If you have any questions about the mansion, let me know in the comments! Thanks for touring with me!
If you enjoyed these photos, make sure to check out our trip to the Oatlands Historic House and Garden in Leesburg, VA. The house was home to over 100 slaves before the Civil War and has the second oldest greenhouse in the United States. It’s a real treasure!