I recently had the opportunity to visit Manitoga, which was the estate and modernist home of industrial designer Russel Wright. Currently, Manitoga / The Russel Wright Design Center "preserves, protects and shares Russel Wright's modernist house, studio and woodland garden as a masterful integration of design and nature, a powerful example of land reclamation, and a resource for inspired design in daily living through public tours, programs and events." Considered a National Historic Landmark, an Affiliate Site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and a World Monuments Watch Site, Manitoga is one of the few 20th century modern homes open to the public in New York State.Manitoga / The Russel Wright Design Center

I couldn't have chosen a more beautiful day for my drive to this majestic setting, and I couldn't believe that this hidden gem is less than an hour from where I live. It is tucked away in a wooded area in Garrison, NY -- not far from West Point, the U.S. Military Academy.

The site is truly unique. Prior to Wright purchasing the property in 1942, it had been an active granite quarry -- supplying stone for buildings in New York City. As a lover of nature, Wright wanted to build a home that would blend with the landscape. I learned that he spent 12 years researching and studying the land before beginning to build his house and studio.

Walking through the buildings and grounds, it becomes apparent that Wright was an extremely innovative and detail-oriented person. The indoor and outdoor spaces transition seamlessly, with interior rock walls and stone patios. A main focal point of the entire property is the old quarry hole, which Wright and his family used as a swimming pool.

My purpose for visiting Manitoga was to write an article about it for the fall issue of Building Stone Magazine, which is published by Contemporary Stone & Tile Design's parent company, BNP Media. I always love when my job takes me to new places. If you are ever in the area, I suggest visiting this historic site to explore the beauty of the land and the masterpiece that Wright had created. It is a prime example of utilizing local resources.