This estate occupies an approximately two-acre peninsula along the Hudson River’s eastern bank, framing the southern edge of a sheltered cove. Developed in 1824 by John Livingston for his daughter and son-in-law, the residence was one of several riverside properties owned by the Livingston family. Robert Donaldson, who had previously collaborated with Andrew Jackson Downing and Andrew Jackson Davis to transform the nearby Blithewood property, acquired Edgewater in 1853 and engaged Davis to make improvements. Davis added an octagonal library and established a terraced lawn, dotted with specimen trees including black locust and weeping beech, that gently slopes westward from a colonnaded portico toward the river. Near the water’s edge, oaks, birches, and willows frame expansive borrowed river views. In 1950 the estate was acquired by the writer Gore Vidal. It was sold to Richard Jenrette in 1969.
Edgewater is accessed through a gate flanked by stone pillars and dogwoods on the north side of the cove. As the curvilinear, crushed stone drive skirts a late twentiethcentury guesthouse, southern views of the peninsula and river are revealed. Proceeding south, the drive hugs the shore and is edged by curvilinear beds planted with perennials and flowering shrubs and embellished with figurative statuary. Upon arrival, visitors enter a garden forecourt framed to the east by a sixteen-foot-tall wall adorned with climbing hydrangea. The garden, bordered by boxwood hedges, features a crushed stone ground plane, a central fountain, and four symmetrical octagonal beds that each include a quince. To the south, Jenrette introduced a pool and colonnaded pool house, approached by a curvilinear stone path.
The estate and approximately 28 surrounding acres are owned and managed by the non-profit Classical American Homes Preservation Trust, founded by Jenrette in 1993. The property is a contributing feature of the Hudson River Historic District and was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.