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
Frank Lloyd Wright
... Genuis and Scalawag
Loving Frank was both a book...and a challenge for the several women in his life. Find out all the scandalous details on this fun tour...and yes, architecture will be covered as well.
To begin with, there was his first wife, the lively Catherine. Next, there was his client’s wife, Mamah Cheney. Then, there was second wife Miriam Noel, whose vice of choice was smoking opium. Finally, Frank's third wife, the Montenegrin dancer Olgivanna Lazovich, who was 31 years his junior.... There’s even author Brendan Gills’ theory concerning a possible infatuation between Wright and his Lieber Meister (beloved master,) Louis Sullivan.
Hear all the Details...and bring Someone Special
Exactly who you bring to Graycliff for a special Valentine’s Tour is entirely up to you: husband, wife, sweetheart, fiancée, partner or paramour. In the tradition of Frank Lloyd Wright, all are welcome (we won't pry.) What happens at Graycliff stays at Graycliff. This tour will include information about Wright’s design of Graycliff (a romantic story itself,) as well as anecdotes about the love life of that scalawag genius, Frank Lloyd Wright.
Valentine's Tour: Saturday, February 14that 10:30 am or Sunday, February 15th at 1:30 pm. Two hour, In-Depth Tour with a special focus on that cad, Frank Lloyd Wright. Free hot chocolate to warm you after the tour. Admission: $30 per person.
A Master Architectural Tour will also be on offer at 1:15 pm on Saturday, February 14th, 2013. Although the tour will focus on architecture, feel free to ask Patrick Mahoney, A.I.A., Graycliff Board Vice President and master of all things Wright (who will lead the tour) anything you like about Wright's very colorful personal life. This two and a half hour tour will include a peek at Graycliff’s state-of-the-art fire protection system, discussion of roofing techniques, and the engineering underlying Wright’s ground-breaking architectural style. This is just the tour for that guy or gal with an interest in all things technical, or desiring a deep understanding of Wright's architecture. Admission: $40 per person.
Or Take a Short Tour:
A Cabin Fever Tour (for a breath of fresh air) begins at 1 pm, and lasts for just one hour.
Need the perfect token of your affection
for your own true love? We’re sure to have your heart’s delight in the Graycliff Pavilion Gift Shop, which is open Mon-Tues-Thurs-Fri-Sat from 9 am to 4 pm.
Reservations are required for each tour; please e-mail email@example.com or call 716-947-9217. Please wear clothing suitable for the weather, and your heart on your sleeve.
What a winter it has been! Can’t stand the thought of one more day indoors? Need some fresh air, great architecture, and a stroll out of doors? Graycliff is offering Cabin Fever Tours in February and March for a breath of fresh air!
Cabin Fever Tour: Saturday, February 14 at 1:00 pm (Basic one hour tour) ($16)
Cabin Fever Tour: Saturday, March 14th at 11:00 am (Basic) ($16)
Cabin Fever Tour: Saturday, March 14th at 1:00 pm (In-Depth) ($32)
Cabin Fever Tour: Saturday, March 21st at11:00 am (Basic) ($16)
Cabin Fever Tour: Saturday, March 21st at 1:30 pm (In-Depth) ($32)
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!
Students (10 – 22 with I.D.): $25
Students (aged 10-22 with I.D.): $30
Pre-paid reservations required.
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; pre-paid reservations are required. $40; $30 students (age 10-21 with i.d.)
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, 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 Marion Schmidt, a Graycliff Board member
Please reserve early to join us on one of the following dates in 2015:
- Saturdays at 9:30 am: May 30, June 27, July 25, Aug 22, Sept 19
- Wednesdays at 10:00 am: June 3, July 8, July 15, Aug 12, Sept 9
Please call for information reservations 716-947-9217
Free for Graycliff Leadership Circle members
Pre-paid advance reservations are mandatory.
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.
Twikight Tours will be offered in 2015 on the following Friday evenings from 6 pm to 8:30 pm:
June 26th, July 10th , July 17th , July 24th , and July 31st
Pre-paid advance reservations are mandatory.
Free for Graycliff Leadership Circle members
Twilight Tours are available for groups and businesses on other evenings; please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Admission: Basic: $36
Includes lunch at the Buffalo Yacht Club; a tour on a Thursday or the last Saturday of the month at the Fontana Boathouse, and a tour of Graycliff
Wright at the Water
Experience excellence in architecture with a tour of Frank Lloyd Wright's Fontana Boathouse, the only boat house ever designed by Wright, plus a basic or in-depth tour of Wright's Graycliff Estate. Your package also includes lunch at the (private) Buffalo Yacht Club, with a view of Buffalo's scenic Black Rock Channel on Lake Erie's shoreline. All three components of this package can be used all on the same day, or if you prefer, on different days as your schedule allows. A great gift for the Wright lover in your life, it will show clearly how Wright loved to use elements of nature in his designs.
Two combination ticket packages are available:
Basic tour of the Graycliff Estate, tour of the Fontana Boathouse (on Thursdays or the last Saturday of each month,) and lunch at the Buffalo Yacht Club - $36
In-Depth tour of the Graycliff Estate, tour of the Fontana Boathouse (on Thursdays or the last Saturday of each month,) and lunch at the Buffalo Yacht Club - $51
Reservations are required at all three venues; please make them separately at each location. For more information and to purchase tickets, call Graycliff at 716-947-9217. or e-mail Graycliff@verizon.net
Pre-paid advance reservations are mandatory. Call 716-947-9217 or email email@example.com
Mark the change of the season by taking life a little easier. Celebrate the autumn with good food, the great outdoors and a leisurely drive in the country.
Sunday in the Country features a deluxe brunch at the renowned Roycroft Inn in East Aurora. Enjoy a complimentary cocktail, omelets made to order, fresh waffles & toppings, unique cold salad selections, carving stations, wonderful desserts and ever-changing entrees to delight the palate.
Then, board an old-fashioned trolley for a picturesque drive through the countryside to Graycliff, the country estate in Derby designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
There, guests will be given a tour of the estate and its grounds before returning by trolley to the Roycroft Inn. Since the outing will involve walking out of doors, comfortable shoes are recommended.
A Sunday in the Country begins at 11:00 am and ends at approximately 3:30 pm at the Roycroft Inn on the following Sundays in 2014: Sept 27; October 4, 11, 18, & 25
Admission: This special value package is $69 per person
Pre-paid advance reservations are mandatory. Please call 716-947-9217.
* One-hour tour of the Darwin Martin House and one-hour tour of Graycliff - $29 (value $33)
* In-depth tour (2 hours) of both the Darwin Martin House and Graycliff - $63 (value $67)
* Two hour tour of Darwin Martin House and one hour tour of Graycliff - $47 (value $51)
* One hour tour of Darwin Martin House and In-depth tour of Graycliff - $45 (value $49)
Darwin and Isabelle Martin had two homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright: their city home, the Darwin D. Martin House in Buffalo (1903-05) and the 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. Your purchase can be made at either historic site and has no expiration date - so you can tour both in one day - or save one for a future visit.
Four combination ticket packages available (prices not valid on group tours)
- Basic one-hour tour of the Darwin Martin House and one-hour tour of Graycliff - $29 (value $33)
- In-depth tour (2 hours) of both the Darwin Martin House and Graycliff - $63 (value $67)
- In-depth tour of Darwin Martin House and basic tour of Graycliff - $47 (value $51)
- Basic tour of Darwin Martin House and In-depth tour of Graycliff - $45 (value $49)
Reservations are required at each site separately. The Darwin Martin House is located at 125 Jewett Parkway, Buffalo, a scenic 30-minute drive from Graycliff. Contact Graycliff to make your reservation at 716-947-9217 Graycliff Tour Reservation and the Martin House at 716-856-3858 or Darwin Martin House.
From Buffalo, 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 view of Lake Erie.
Please use Mapquest rather than a GPS system, which often give wrong directions to Graycliff.
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.
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 Shannon at 716-947-9217 or email her about group tours for more information.