By Alison Rooney
Emily Lombardo Nastasi has been a docent at Boscobel since 2013. The historic mansion’s annual candlelit tours began Nov. 24.
How do you keep your presentation fresh?
I tailor every tour to the interests expressed by the group. Sometimes people are interested in the family, other times it’s the furniture. I had one where someone kept asking questions about the drapes, so I told them all I knew about drapes.
Which former resident fascinates you the most?
Elizabeth [Corne Dyckman], the matriarch. Between 1804 and 1808 she had her son, Peter, her husband died and she was left with the foundation of a house and 250 acres of farmland to work [in Montrose]. She was such a model for modern women, during a time when it was uncommon and unique. She finished the construction of the house, raised her son, dealt with the farmhands and managed the family bank account. There are 45 acres here [in Garrison, where the home was moved in 1956]; it’s incredible to realize she handled property five times this size.
What’s the weirdest object in the home?
A gauffering iron. It looks like a brass socket with three legs and a wand inside to warm in the fire. You take a shirt collar, rub the wand on it, and you get ruffles.
Do you ever take the view for granted?
Never. Each season is different, too. I love the fall: the apples, the maples changing color. When the leaves fall and cover the paths, it looks like the Yellow Brick Road. One of my favorite things about giving the tours is hearing the “wows” every time my group turns out of the rose garden.
What’s your favorite room?
I don’t want to insult the other rooms, but I’d choose the front drawing room. It’s where you would sit and have a chat. We’re at a time where we’re trying to go back to living the way they did. Everyone appreciates the family life they had. People “paid visits.” They had holiday parties to socialize with their neighbors. They ate farm-to-table. The technology has changed, but not the desire to keep in touch.