A day trip just waiting to be planned…

The Plan, Made Just for You

Where Are We Headed?

MANITOGA | The Russel Wright Design Center

Just over an hour north of New York City rests the former home of industrial designer Russel Wright — named Manitoga, meaning “place of great spirit.”

How Are We Getting There?

By train or car! If train, take the Hudson Line Metro North from Grand Central to Cold Spring, and then take the Cold Spring Trolley to Manitoga
Note! The trolley is available only on weekends from now through November 6. (Missed the trolley? Train times don’t match up? Take a 12 minute Uber or Lyft from the train station.) 

Why ZZ Loves It!

The home and surrounding estate synthesize Wright’s philosophy of design and living, one that emphasized harmony with — and proximity to — nature.
The home, studio, and grounds, now collectively referred to as “Dragon’s Rock,” are open to the public from May to mid-November with $30 ticketed tours Friday through Monday!
Read more about the home's history & Wright's life and legacy below...

Russel Wright, Photo Credit: visitmanitoga.org

Russel Wright & The Modern American Home

Before the construction of the Dragon Rock House, Russel Wright’s career was defined by his designs for the American home. Beginning in the late 1920s, he began wielding the ideas of modernist design in ways that resonated with the average consumer. 

His best-selling book, “A Guide to Easier Living,” which he co-authored with his wife, Mary Small Einstein Wright — a salient designer herself — cast a vision of an idyllic life, describing how efficient design can reduce housework and increase leisure. For him, design was pragmatic.

Ahhh, just think of that life — days filled with rest and the most beautiful designs!

“I believe with religious intensity that good design is for everyone.” – Russel Wright

Wright’s best-known design, a colorful ceramic dinnerware set, is the most widely sold dinnerware in American history. Manufactured between 1939 and 1959, his smooth, simple designs reached a record of more than 250 million pieces sold.

Russel Wright's Ceramic Dinnerware Set

He is credited as the first to use lifestyle marketing to sell his designs, and the lifestyle he sold was a vibrant, modern one that left the sentiments of the Depression and War behind.

Today, a collection of Russel and Mary Wright’s groundbreaking designs is on display at Manitoga, filling the interior of the home and studio. It’s a dramatic contrast of industrial design amidst a natural expanse. Yet, in a sense, this was always Wright’s concept.

Situated on 75 acres of the Hudson Highlands, the property was first acquired in 1942. However, construction of the home and nearby studio did not begin until the 1960s, after the death of Wright’s wife.

After studying the acreage for years, Wright partnered with David Leavitt to build a home directly into the rock ledge of the ground’s quarry. He desired the work to be hyper-local, built of — and within — the terrain itself. (Shall we say… locally sourced?!)

"I wish this shelter to blend with the landscape… I will make it of the rock to be found there, of the lumber to be found there, and I will cover it with the vines that are native.” – Russel Wright

The house features sweeping windows and a cedar tree trunk that functions as the main structural support of the house. Boulder walls, a green roof, and stone flooring blend the interior with the exterior, man-made with artificial.

Beyond being the home Wright lived in till he died in 1976, Manitoga was meant to be an example, albeit an exaggeration, of what a home could be. Wright desired for it to be seen and inspiring. 

It seems only right then that on any average weekend — needing only a train ticket in hand — one can leave the city for the natural sentiments of upstate and end up at his home, fulfilling his wish and honoring his legacy with a single day trip.

Photo Credits: https://coolhunting.com/ | https://www.visitmanitoga.org/