Luxury Home of the Week: The Lancaster estate where ‘Little Women’ was filmed is for sale

Buying Luxury
The foyer of the Thayer Estate in Lancaster.

Many prominent names have walked the halls of this Worcester County mansion.

When it was an alternative health center, property manager Alan Colby said, it drew intrigue for sheltering the likes of Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor, and Barbra Streisand. Just last year, scenes for the upcoming movie “Little Women” were filmed on its grounds.

First a summer home to horticulturalist Bayard Thayer, the Lancaster mansion then passed through the hands of the Greek Orthodox and Catholic churches, was briefly a school for the blind, and ultimately became [Dr. Deepak Chopra’s] storied Maharishi Ayurveda Health Center, Colby said.

Now the estate is back on the market for $3,250,000. It had gone under agreement in March, according to the Multiple Listing Service.

The three-story red brick mansion sits behind a wrought-iron gate at 679 George Hill Road. It was designed by architect Guy Lowell, known for his work on Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.

Listing agent Dan Loring of Keller Williams Realty’s Apple Country Team said it’s important to walk through the estate with someone who’s familiar with it so you don’t get lost. The mansion, after all, has 47 bedrooms, 24 full baths, four half baths, and 21,802 square feet of living space.

Colby said Thayer commissioned Boston’s finest craftsmen to work on the home, which was built around the turn of the century. He said its heavy crown molding, grand marble staircase, and intricate woodwork are reminiscent of the Glided Age.

It’s a behemoth full of surprising details. The corners bear the initials of the Thayer brothers, Colby said. The library’s marble fireplace features carvings from one of Aesop’s fables, “The Fox and the Stork.” Other fireplaces — the mansion has 13 — are a nod to Greek and Roman mythology.

Colby said he expects a future buyer to be some kind of nonprofit or business with the hope of turning it into a school or wedding venue.

He said the estate attracts a lot of curious visitors who drive its grounds, especially on the weekends.

The mansion has been well taken care of by the Brahmananda Saraswati Foundation, Loring said, which has been holding its retreats on the grounds.

The estate includes 60 acres. The Thayer carriage house, which sits on another five acres, can be purchased separately for just under $500,000.

See more photos of the home below:

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