Good morning! Welcome to "Morning Musings".

Musings: to meditate, think, contemplate, deliberate, ponder, reflect, ruminate, reverie, daydream, introspection, dream, preoccupation, brood, cogitate.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Plumb Nilly


We recently celebrated our 44th wedding anniversary by treating our sons and daughters-in-law to a long weekend in a rental outside of Philadelphia called Plumb Nilly....

Built in 1736 by a Welsh farmer, it was added onto at some later date and totally renovated in the 1920's by architect, R. Brognard Okie, who had also overhauled William Penn's estate, Pennsbury Manor.

My purpose in choosing such a place was because my 5th great-grandfather lived in and around the Philadelphia area from 1740 to 1780.  I have located the three properties where he lived, but only one house remains standing and that one is in Chester County not too far from Plumb Nilly....


It has been expanded onto, like Plumb Nilly, and the oldest part, where he lived, now houses a country post office.  Several years ago I was able to stand inside and experience, for a moment, where my predecessors had lived from 1751 to 1780.  This was especially important to me because for the past 20 years I've been researching and writing the stories of my father's ancestors.  When you think about it, each generation is affected in some way by the previous generation.  There is a common thread that may run through families beyond DNA.  So I was thrilled to celebrate the continuity of our family in such a setting.  

I began the weekend by giving each of our offspring a mug with our picture on it--a photo taken in the 1970's before we started our family....
Since our anniversary is the day after Valentine's Day I chose this for the other side of the cup because it looked like a Family Tree.  I loved that the hearts represented the love we have for one another....





I spent a lot of time just sitting in the various rooms in the 4-story house....absorbing its history--all the families that have come and gone.  Sometimes all we may leave behind for future generations are the houses we lived our lives in, but that is enough if love was shared in those houses with those who lived and visited there.  

Here are some more photos of Plumb Nilly....
This entrance leads into a cozy den with fireplace
This is the entrance to the second floor that we used
That's the door we entered...behind the stairs are the stairs to the first floor kitchen/dining room
That's the door at the bottom of the stairs into the dining room
I absolutely LOVED this room and wished I could transport it to my house

Back up to the 2nd floor.  That's the view into the formal living room
This formal room was bright and cheery

Up the stairs to the 3rd floor bedrooms
This bedroom had its own bath

Back out in the hall to reach the Master bedroom around the corner

I came home and hung curtains on my 4-poster bed

This is the sitting room in the Master bedroom--there is a working fireplace just to the right
To reach the 4th floor bedrooms you had to open an attic door and climb some very steep stairs
Here is the other 4th-floor bedroom--there is a bathroom on this floor as well

Back down the stairs....

To that cozy den with the fireplace where we kept a fire burning each night

Adjacent to the den was another sitting room
It also contained a working fireplace

Plumb Nilly has been the summer home for a lovely lady from NYC for the past 28 years, but now it is up for sale because her family has grown up and find little time to come "home".  Another family will take their place, add their stories, share their love.  I felt privileged to spend a few days and nights there.  Thank you, Etan.  It was such a pleasure to meet you and to spend some time in your lovely home-away-from home.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

New England Adventure-Days 9 & 10



I’ve decided I could become an Emily Dickinson and live out my life writing from this spot....

We requested breakfast at 8:00 along with another guest who had to be at his Spanish Immersion class by 9:00.  We enjoyed our conversation with him.  He was taking his family to Mexico to visit his ancestral homeland for three weeks at Christmas time and wanted to improve his rusty Spanish.  The day was going to be beautiful--so clear....




We had to cross the river to get to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt family home and Presidential Library/Museum in Hyde Park, NY.  We arrived about 9:40....

At 10:00 we saw an introductory film.  Then at 10:30 the National Park Service guide gave a witty and educational tour of Roosevelt’s family home followed by a self-guided tour of the museum.  Here is one of the rooms in the home....
....and Roosevelt's desk....

It was one of the most interesting historical tours I’ve ever been on.  Franklin’s and Eleanor’s lives crossed so many people’s lives—both famous and ordinary—and covered so many years of history I found myself reading just about every exhibit and watching every video there was.  Finally, we took a very late break for lunch at the café on the grounds and then posed for this picture with the President and Mrs. Roosevelt, which a kind, elderly gentleman offered to take for us:
You can read more about the FDR home HERE and about the Presidential Library and Museum HERE.

It was close to 3:00 by the time we got over to Val-Kill about a mile away, the house that Eleanor lived in after Franklin died.  Eleanor originally had it built in 1926 as a factory on the grounds of the Roosevelt estate to house furniture making and other crafts for the area farmers to work in during the off-season.  When it failed to be a profit-making venture by 1936, Eleanor converted it into a residence for herself to use when she needed to get away on her own from either the White House or her mother-in-law who still ran the estate house.  You can find out more about the Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill HERE.  

The next tour at Val-Kill was not to start until 4:00.  In the meantime, they suggested we walk over to Stone Cottage, the house where their son, John Franklin, lived with his family for a time....

Edna Gurewitsch, the author of "Kindred Souls: The Devoted Friendship of Eleanor Roosevelt and Dr. David Gurewitsch”, was to talk about the photography exhibit on display there by her late husband and about her friendship with Mrs. Roosevelt.  Mrs. Gurewitsch would also sign copies of her book later after the house tour.   However, the talk ran late and she was to be somewhere else so she and her party did not come back to the gift shop to sign the books. When the staff realized they would not be able to get her attention, I ran after her and had her sign my book in the parking lot--which is not like me at all, which shows how much I'd been taken by her presentation.  

The cottage was extremely cozy.  I can see why Eleanor chose to live there rather than in the big house....



Because Hyde Park is on the opposite side of the Hudson River from our B&B we decided to drive to the point across from the B&B and see if we could take pictures.  We managed to find a road that took us near the river where we got out of the car next to a Poughkeepsie recycling facility and because we didn’t see a no-trespassing sign we followed a path that led to a bridge across the train tracks (the passenger line ran along the east side of the river) and then down to the river.  The sun was very low in the sky causing a glare across the water so it was hard to see, even if we were in the right spot.   

Before we headed back across the bridge to the west side we went in search of a place to eat and settled on an Applebees.  We both had the new Bruschetta Burger which was quite tasty. 

I spent the rest of the evening reading the book I bought on Eleanor Roosevelt and David Gurewitsch’s friendship.

Day 10 – Monday, October 16, 2006

It was the day to head home.  We woke up to fog and no view of the river.  Our room was in the front over the porch in the center of this photo...

We had breakfast alone at 8:00—the other couple in the B&B were not to have their breakfast until 9:00.  Our hostess talked about her trips down Route 15 to visit her family in the Charlottesville, VA, area where they’d moved to some years ago after her father retired.  She’d lived in this house since 1964 when she was 22 and expecting her first child with her first husband.  She and her second husband started the B&B 10 years ago in order to afford to stay in the house.  She said they pay $10,000 a year in real estate and school taxes!  She told us about the family farm near Catskill, NY, that she rents out called Cauterskill Creek Farm.  I’d love to rent it for a week during the summer!

We were on the road by 9:00 and home by 2:30, having stopped in Harrisburg for lunch.  I read the "Kindred Souls" book on the entire trip.  Eleanor Roosevelt was a remarkable woman.

We arrived home to leaves covering the driveway....

....and Poetry, our Calico Cat, eager to see us.  We had a wonderful time, but it was good to be home.





Tuesday, February 12, 2013

New England Adventure-Day 8



Day 8 – Saturday, October 14, 2006

We got to Shelburne Museum by 11:00.  The ticket was good for two days because it would take that long to see everything.  This Horsehoe Barn was a held carriages, coaches, and sleighs....
They even had the restored steamboat, Ticonderoga, on the premises....
This Round Barn housed special exhibits....

We only had a few hours to visit because we wanted to get to Milton, NY before dark so we could see the Hudson River which that evening’s B&B overlooked.  The main thing I was interested in at the museum was the Tasha Tudor exhibit.  That is where I spent most of my time.  I saw some unpublished work and enjoyed seeing her original artwork.  Ken and I split up so we could each see the things we really wanted to see most.  It was terribly cold and windy that day.  I was glad to be back in the car.   We ate our packed lunch in the car and were on our way by 2:30.  

We crossed over into New York about 30 miles south of Burlington catching glimpses of Lake Champlain as we followed a scenic route...

Soon we reached the New York Thruway which we took because of the lateness of the hour.  

We got to the River Hill B&B just before 6:00....

The view from our corner room, Eastlake, which I'll show you tomorrow, was everything promised.    

We spent some time in the parlor looking through restaurant menus....

....then decided since it was Saturday night we’d just go a mile down the road to a pizza shop.  When we returned we spent some time reading in the parlor, then headed up the stairs to our room....

The freight trains that traveled along the river’s edge lulled us to sleep.  Tomorrow we would tour Franklin Roosevelt's Home and Presidential Library in Hyde Park.

Monday, February 11, 2013

New England Adventure-Day 7



Day 7 – Friday, October 13, 2006

I could have spent the day in Goldilock’s bed....
....but the shops in Stowe Village enticed me to get up and head to town after Ken made us a big breakfast.  There we saw the most amazing art-crafted furniture in one shop, and I realized what I’d do with my money if I ever became wealthy.  I especially liked the coffee table game tables--but I just went to the website for the furniture and found they no longer carry the game table but they do have the mirrors I liked.  It was a beautiful morning to be walking around the small village.  We even came upon a consignment shop where we found some more books and a cast iron muffin skillet for just $1.

After lunch back at the cottage we donned warmer coats and headed for the mountain--Mt. Mansfield--Vermont's highest peak at 4,395 feet.  However, we elected not to take the Toll Road to the top but instead opted for the Gondola ride to the 3,600-foot level....

The road was billed as treacherous for man and car, but that is the way to go if you want to walk along the Ridge.  The winds and the temperature convinced us the Gondola was the better way today.  Stowe had mostly lost its leaves by the time we arrived so the view from the ride was more grand than beautiful.  As we neared the top one of the cables broke--no, just teasing.  There was no calamity--just some snow on the ground....

We walked around a bit, climbed up a few rocks to a path that led into the woods, but when Ken pointed to a cave and said, "That's one of those caves the brochure warned us not to go into if we should get lost on the trail," I decided to turn back.  I did take a photo, though, of one of the little "fairy caves" I saw at the bottom of a tree along the path....

As we drove back to Stowe we decided to take the road to the Trapp Family Lodge of the von Trapp "Sound of Music" family.  It's elegance must have been of the "understated kind" when you consider the cost of their least expensive room.  We could only think they must offer amenities we could not see from the lobby.  
Back at the cottage Ken made a simple, but elegant salmon dinner for us with my help (90-second rice in the microwave and boiled corn-on-the-cob), stoked the wood stove, and we settled in for a quiet evening again of music and books....

The next morning I again did not want to leave my cozy nest.  The bed faced the sliding glass doors and when I opened the wall of curtains I could sit in bed with my coffee and my journal and take in the glorious colors of the leaves that remained on the trees in "our" woods....

We were taken with the birch trees we saw in Massachusetts and Vermont and wanted to add them to our woods at home if we could.  Ken's scrambled eggs and sausage enticed me out of bed soon enough.  We had miles to go before we slept, and besides, we had to be out by 10:00 a.m.  So we tidied up the place, packed the car, and headed for the Shelburne Museum on the other side of Burlington.  HERE is the website for Goldilocks Cottage.  Be sure to look at all the photos!    





Sunday, February 10, 2013

New England Adventure - Day 6



Day 6 – Thursday, October 12, 2006

We were up early because we wanted to catch the sun rising over the mountains from our back porch on the second floor.  The rain had stopped and there was fog rising between a hill and the mountains to the West.  I dressed and went down to the dining room to get cups of coffee and was soon sitting in the lounge chair on the porch with my journal and coffee awaiting the sun to appear over the ridge....  

We met two other couples at breakfast besides the couple we visited with the evening before.  One was visiting from England.  They were over here to see their son who attended a university in Boston, and then they were touring the area.  

Regrettably,  we were on our way all too soon.  We had much ground to cover as we were headed up to Stowe.  But first we wanted to tour Hildene, the summer home, and later, full-time home of President Lincoln's only surviving child, Robert Todd Lincoln.  We arrived just as it opened....

Inside we were greeted by a very knowledgeable tour guide who gave us some of the history and "played" (he pushed a button) the huge Aeolian organ that Robert Lincoln had installed for his wife.  Lincoln also bought all 250 "automated" rolls of music that were made for it.  The 1,000 pipes lined the walls of the landing of the staircase as you enter into the grand foyer.  His granddaughter lived in the house until 1975.  It was an amazing house situated on the edge of a cliff overlooking a beautiful valley with the mountains as a backdrop.  HERE is their website.  This is a view from the back of the house....
Here is another view of the front of the house....

It began to cloud over again so we went on our way, stopping at the Orvis Store and Outlet first. We considered the main store a “museum” as we could not fathom anyone paying $1,200 for a coat!  By now the skies had opened up and the rain came pouring down.  We wanted to make the Vermont Country Store by lunch time and then head north to Stowe.  Once again we relied on the compass and instinct to get us to the unmarked Route that would take us into the heart of Vermont.  As we climbed further up into the Green Mountains in the rain we enjoyed the solitude the rain brought.  The Vermont Country Store in Weston was a destination in itself.  There I bought a pottery soup pot and an enamelware colander to match my cobalt blue kitchen colors in addition to some other items.  After lunch the sun broke through the clouds and we had a pleasant drive through the valley northward.  When Ken stopped for gas I spied a used book store/bakery/café next door so we spent some time in there.  Ken found two 19th century editions of Longfellow’s books of poems and I found a Barbara Cooney book I hadn’t seen before.

We did not arrive at the Goldilocks Cottage in Stowe, VT until just after 5:00.  We planned to stay two evenings.  I looked forward to just relaxing with no particular sightseeing destination.  We would buy a few groceries so we could eat in and even do a load of laundry.  So you can imagine my consternation when we did not find the key under the door mat as promised.  Ken began looking under everything there was to look under.  He circled the cottage, trying windows and the sliding glass door....

Meanwhile I began calling the numbers the owner had e-mailed me for the caretaker.  At the first number the woman did not know what I was talking about.  The second number the message center was full and I could not leave a message.  I was beginning to have deja vu of our first day's problems at the Vienna Inn.  By now I was having to plug the cell phone into the car to use the car’s battery.  I was just glad I was getting reception at least because we had none at the Battenkill Inn.  I called another number and the fellow who answered was the owner’s husband, but he was on a tug boat in the New York harbor he said.  He was no help, despite his concern, other than to tell us to call Jill, the owner I’d spoken with when I made the reservation.  I called both her house number and cell number and left messages.  By now it was after 5:30 and I was beginning to imagine having to drive back into Stowe (only a mile) and seeing if there was a room in the Inn there for the evening.  Just then I heard Ken yell the good news that he’d found a key hidden behind the electrical box!  Upon opening the door he found the key for us on the dresser just inside the door.  I placed calls to Jill and her husband to let them know we were in, then started unloading the car.  Then my phone rang.  It was Jill.  She was very apologetic.  The next morning while we were out her caretaker left us a bottle of wine and an apology.  I wrote later in the guest book that now we know how the Three Bears could have kept Goldilocks out of their house—don’t hide the key under the mat!  She was still quite concerned about our having a good stay and sent another apology in the mail offering us a 20% discount the next time we want to stay there.  This is taken from the entrance of the enclosed inner porch of the cabin....
I will have more photos of the cabin in tomorrow's post.  The photos, however, do not begin to convey the coziness.  The area off to the right behind the wood stove is the dining room and kitchen.  Behind me is the hallway to the bathroom and bedroom.  The loft also contained a bed.

After getting everything put away, for supper we decided to split my leftover sandwich from lunch and a can of soup I'd brought along.  Our tummies sufficiently full we drove back into town to look for a grocery store so we'd have food for our breakfast, lunch, and the next night's supper.  When we returned we slipped a CD into the BOSE and settled in for an evening of doing laundry and reading all the books we'd bought at the various authors' museums.