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Vermont’s Historic Ondawa Estate

This is an aerial view of the estate showing the three structures. The main house has a large pool at the back and on the far side you can see the guest house and cabin. Image courtesy of

Vermont’s Ondawa Estate is on the National Register of Historic Places with its colorful history from the beginning of the Victorian period. This is now going to auction on October 7th.

The historic estate is measured at 37 acres overlooking the Green Mountains. It consists of three buildings. The main house has four bedrooms and five bathrooms main house. The guest house has four bedrooms and four bathrooms guest house. Lastly, there is a cabin with a sleeping loft and half bath. These are all complemented with a pristine and tamed landscape.

The auction of the registered historic place, Ondawa Estate is handled by Grand Estates Auctions in Vermont.

All photos are used with permission from

Anyone who loves historical homes wishes they could go back in time, even for an instant, and see what life was like when it was first built and who the people were who put their love into making it what it is today. This Vermont estate is one of the very special ones with a background that reads like a good novel. At the very beginning of the Victorian period in 1840, Jessie Hard was to be married and he wanted to build a beautiful home, a temple as it were, for his intended.

This he did with the help of his father. The home was large and gracious and was built with innovations such as stacking boards horizontally inside the walls for strength, stability, and as a bonus, excellent soundproofing from the outside and from room to room. The day of the wedding came and was presided over by local Judge Munson.

When it came time for the cutting of the wedding cake, the bride’s grandfather, still deeply entrenched in Puritan values, was appalled to see that it had decorative icing, which flew in the face of Puritan beliefs, so he grabbed it off the table and to the horror of all concerned, hurriedly ran it to the pigpen and threw it into the trough! Even with that rocky beginning, the house stayed in the Hard family until sometime in the mid-1970s when it was purchased by the Orvis family, owners of the sports outfitting company and clothiers, Orvis.

The Orvises jumped in and started restoring the home to its original beauty. Sometime in the past, the Hard family had built a small addition with a flat roof. That was the first thing to go and what had originally been a detached summer kitchen building was relocated, attached to the house, and restored into an elegant indoor kitchen. Over the years of Orvis ownership, the estate known as Ondawa, has evolved into its former pristine state including tamed and reworked landscaping.

Sited on 37 acres overlooking the Green Mountains for as far as the eye can see and with the trout-filled Battenkill River with a stream flowing through the yard and an additional stocked trout pond, superb fishing can be had without ever leaving the property.

There are three separate buildings including the four-bedroom, five-bath main house, the four-bedroom, four-bath guest house, and the cabin with sleeping loft and half bath. It’s an estate ideal for the outdoorsman and stay-over guests.

Vermont’s Ondawa estate on the National Register of Historic Places is going to absolute auction on October 7th.