Tonight we were on a spectacular hike on the Lunt Fontanne Nature Trails on the famed Ten Chimneys estate.  Ten Chimneys is the historic estate of Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne.  You are probably familiar with them but if you aren’t I think this direct quote from the monument at their graveside serves as a proper introduction:

“Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne were universally regarded as the greatest acting team in the history of the English speaking theatre. They were married for 55 years and were inseparable both on and off the stage.”

Oddly, thanks to Madonna and the lyrics to Vogue I finally had my daughter’s attention and interest in this nature trail. The theme for her spring dance recital is “Hits from History” and Vogue made the song list!  Specifically, tonight we talked about these lyrics:

All you need is your own imagination
So use it that’s what it’s for
Go inside, for your finest inspiration
Your dreams will open the door

Grace Kelly, Harlow, Jean
Picture of a beauty queen
Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire
Ginger Rogers, dance on air

They had style, they had grace
Rita Hayworth gave good face
Lauren, Katherine, Lana too
Bette Davis, we love you


Source: Madonna – Vogue Lyrics

And we talked about Madonna’s reference to Katherine as in…. Katherine Hepburn!  I read this New York Times quote to my daughter about the famed guests that visited the estate as a vacation from Broadway.

“From the mid-1920s to the late-1950s, when Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, the ‘Fabulous Lunts,’ reigned as the leading stage acting team of the day, Ten Chimneys was a near mythic retreat. Coward, Helen Hayes, Laurence Olivier, Alexander Woollcott, Katherine Hepburn and many more flocked there. As Carol Channing, another guest once said, ‘What the Vatican is to Catholics, Ten Chimneys is to actors.’”– THE NEW YORK TIMES

We discussed the possibility of walking on the exact trails Katherine Hepburn had been on during her visits to Genesee Depot!

“Every time I was visiting with the Lunts in Genesee Depot I was in a sort of daze of wonder; the dining room, the table, the china, the silver, the food, the extraordinary care and beauty and taste…a sort of dream, a vision.”– KATHARINE HEPBURN

Our hike in photos…

Elleri always cooperates when I ask her to leap!

Then, like serendipity we hiked to the top of a hill only to find this trail marker and this discovery!

Someone found a heart-shaped rock and left it on the trail sign for others to discover! This added more magic and wonder as we are officially always searching for hearts in nature!

Tonight we were creative in exploring treasures in our own “backyard” so to speak.  Tonight we simply relished history in the magic of twilight. For more information on Ten Chimneys click here…

Ten Chimneys Foundation Home of Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne