The Graycliff Conservancy offers a variety of different tours, from "just the Basics" to a variety of very special tours. All tours are by reservation; and each are led by a trained docent. Please see below for details.
Select Tours Below
The most basic tour of the Graycliff Estate, this tour lasts one hour, and is led by a trained docent. It includes building exteriors, first floor of Isabelle R. Martin House, and Graycliff history.
Basic Tours are handicapped accessible. (Due to restored floors, we require rubber wheels on wheelchairs, and rubber tips on canes and walkers.) There is extensive walking on Graycliff tours. For those with any difficulty walking, please reserve our covered golf cart at the time of your reservation... you'll want to enjoy the day after visiting Graycliff!
Two Hour Tour Led by Master Docent
Explore additional areas of the estate not seen on Basic tours, including both floors of the Isabelle R. Martin House and first floor of the Foster House. Learn about the evolution of Wright’s plans for Graycliff during its design in the mid 1920s; Wright’s architecture, during the development of his mid-career natural or organic style. For those who seek a more thorough understanding of Graycliff and Wright’s architecture.
There is limited handicapped accessibility for In-Depth Tours. The second floor of the Isabelle R. Martin House has stairs. There is extensive walking on Graycliff tours. For those with any difficulty walking, please reserve our covered golf cart at the time of your reservation... you'll want to enjoy the day after visiting Graycliff!
Two and one half hour --for the Architecture Buff!
This behind the scenes tour is led by Patrick J. Mahoney, an architect with vast knowledge of Wright's work, and great personal charm. Mahoney will discuss Wright’s design of Graycliff, Wright's relationship to the Martin family, and the ultimate rescue of Graycliff.
Discover how Graycliff’s design compares and contrasts with those of other-- earlier and later-- Wright designs. It includes several areas of Graycliff not covered on other tours. This is a tour for the serious architecture, design and/or Wright buff!
The Master Architectural Tour is fast-paced, and not handicapped accessible. It requires extensive walking and the ability to climb several flights of stairs.
This very special tour is offered only once a month on select Saturdays at 1:15 pm.
Historic Landscape Tours:
Calling all gardeners, and those interested in historic landscapes. With the completion of the first major phase of Graycliff's historic landscape restoration, we are pleased to offer a series of tours that focus on the historic landscape, while also including Wright's architecture as well.
Graycliff's landscape was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright himself. Wright drew a landscape design for Graycliff--in his own hand--to supplement those for Graycliff buildings, to complete his conception of Graycliff as entire masterwork that encompassed both buildings and landscape.
Wright's work was augmented with additional designs contributed by Ellen Biddle Shipman, known as the "Dean of American Women Landscape Architects" and one of the originators of the Arts & Crafts-style garden.
These two-hour tours will be led by a Master Docent, who is particularly knowledgeable about Graycliff's historic landscape.
The cares of the work-a-day world will drift away as you experience the tranquility of a Summer Twilight at Graycliff.
Frank Lloyd Wright imbued his design of Graycliff with what he called "repose": the simplicity and calm of splendid architecture set amidst verdant acres of grounds on the brim of the lake.
Graycliff’s rich history and architectural splendor, set against the serenity of Lake Erie, can be yours for a summer twilight. Listen to the sounds of the water lapping against the shore, the cool breeze rustling the tall old trees, the birds calling each to each.
Enjoy a leisurely guided tour, and relax with a glass of wine, coupled with a selection of cheeses and summer fruits as the rest of the world fades away into the twilight.
Summer Twilight Tours are offered on Friday evenings from 6 pm to 8:30 pm.
Twilight Tours are available for groups and businesses on other evenings; please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Darwin and Isabelle Martin had two homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright: the magnificent city home, the Darwin D. Martin House in Buffalo (1903-05) and the gracious Graycliff Estate, their summer home on Lake Erie in nearby Derby (1926-31). Both are open for tours, although they operate independently. You can save on your admission at both sites when you purchase a combination ticket to the Darwin D. Martin House complex and to the Graycliff Estate. The tours may be taken on different days. To reserve your tours and to purchase admission, please select either:
From Buffalo (and the Darwin Martin House), we recommend taking the Skyway to Route 5, then Old Lakeshore Rd to Graycliff. (This is both shorter and more scenic than the NYS Thruway.) There are plenty of places for lunch along the way, with views of Lake Erie.
Please use Google maps rather than a GPS system, which often give wrong directions to Graycliff.
Western New York affords visitors the rare opportunity to experience a variety of Wright's residential, functional, recreational, and monumental designs – both historic and newly constructed.
Join us for this all-inclusive package which begins at Forest Lawn's Margaret L. Wendt Archive and Resource Center* and proceeds on the fully-enclosed, climate-controlled Forest Lawn trolley to the Martin House Complex (1903-05) for an extended tour. The next stop is the Filling Station designed by Wright for Buffalo in 1927 and built in 2013 inside the Pierce Arrow Museum. Then it's on to the Fontana Boathouse (2007) on the Black Rock Canal for an in-depth tour. After a short drive to Hamburg enjoy a delicious lunch on the waterfront at the Public House on the Lake. Continue on to the Graycliff Estate (1926-31) for an extended tour and then a short drive to visit historic Forest Lawn's Blue Sky Mausoleum (2004). The trolley will return you to Margaret L. Wendt Archive and Resource Center.
A knowledgeable guide will be on hand to point out architectural treasures along the way including the site of the Larkin Administration Building (1904) and manufacturing buildings in an area now known as Larkinville.
The 2016 All Wright All Day Tour is offered October 7, October 22, November 4 and 19 and runs all day from 8:30 AM - 5:15 PM. Reservations close at 8:00 AM three days in advance of the tour.
$125 / $115 Members of the Martin House, Graycliff and Forest Lawn
Space is limited; reservations are required.
Or contact us to arrange a Private All Wright All Day Tour for your group by calling 716-856-3858.
*Tours begin at Forest Lawn's Margaret L. Wendt Archive and Resource Center located at 2062 Main Street at Jefferson. There will be plenty of free parking at the Center. Please arrive by 8:15 AM as the trolley will leave promptly at 8:30 AM.
Want Graycliff all to yourself? You and your guests (up to 6 people) will experience Wright’s lake-side masterpiece in an intimate and leisurely tour led by a Master Docent. Tour the three buildings and expansive grounds of this historic complex in a small group that will allow ample time for a personalized, one-of-a-kind experience. This is the perfect gift for the Frank Lloyd Wright aficionado who has everything, for that once-in-a-lifetime visit, or to thank someone for something special. Admission: $250 We will be delighted to make arrangements for your private tour. Please email or call 716-947-9217
We welcome your social group, church group or even a large family outing for a tour of Graycliff.
We also welcome tours organized by professional private tour operators.
School groups are welcome at Graycliff, too, for ages 10 and up.
Please contact Evan at 716-947-9217 or email Evan about group tours for more information.
Tours for Boy Scout and Girl Scout Troops
Graycliff now offers special tours for Boy Scout Troops, which enable participants to earn an Architecture Merit badge, and special tours for Girl Scout Troops, which enable participants to earn a Photography badge. Please email for more information to: Boy Scout/Girl Scout Special Tour and we'll be happy to help.