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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Our Artist Vacation - Day 1


In 2006 we spent 10 days touring various homesites/ museums of famous writers in New England.  You can find the first of nine posts about that trip here.  Last week, on June 10th, we headed north again.  The theme this time was artists.  We did not especially plan it that way, but we kept finding a connection to painters and sculptors at each of our stops.  Our first stop on Tuesday, after dropping Gabriel off at our son and daughter-in-law's house in Baltimore was Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ.  Here is a photo my daughter-in-law sent me that evening of Gabriel enjoying the city night lights along the Inner Harbor....

Started by Seward Johnson, Jr., the mission of the 42-acre Grounds for Sculpture park is not only to exhibit but to educate.  Besides Mr. Johnson's life-like sculptures, there are many other contemporary artists' sculptures exhibited.  He sums up his vision in this way:  To create a place to make contemporary sculpture more accessible to greater numbers of people from all backgrounds; to offer them the opportunity to develop privately, step-by step, a more intimate relationship with contemporary art; to share that experience with others in a familiar, accessible, informal setting in nature—giving them the chance, as Picasso said, to wash away “from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

As you look at the photos do not be fooled by what is sculpture and what is a real person.  You can be walking along enjoying the loveliness of the grounds itself....
and come upon an everyday scene....














Many of the sculptures are reproductions of famous paintings such as these by Monet and Renoir, all set in nature....





In one of the exhibition buildings there were paintings by Mary Cassatt and Renoir in 3-D....








This one caused a double-take as the parents of this baby had placed her there then stepped back to take a photo....

This is an actual 3-D reproduction of Van Gogh's "The Bedroom"....

Back outside we enjoyed the live peacocks on the grounds....

The only thing alive in this scene is my husband peeking into the Mona Lisa scene....

Outside you can see Johnson's 40-foot statues....



On the grounds is the Rats Restaurant, named after Johnson's favorite childhood storybook, "The Wind in the Willows."  The setting is patterned after Monet's town of Giverny.... 


As we drove toward the Interstate to our next destination the Sculpture Garden was announcing its presence in a very big way....




It was late in the afternoon so we headed over to New Hope, PA for our overnight accommodations at The Inn at Phillips Mill....
The Phillips Mill can be seen across the road
I have wanted to stay here since I first saw it in a Country Inns of America book in the 1970's.  This is a photo of our room from their website.  I chose Room #4 because of this alcove bed....
Here is the rest of this cozy room....

As it turns out Room #4 was a good choice for another reason.  After we checked in I discovered that the room over the kitchen is purportedly haunted....not that I either believe or disbelieve in ghosts, but I would not have gotten as good a sleep as I did since I probably would have been listening for any strange sounds as this fellow reported on his Blog.  

The Inn started life around 1750 as a stone barn to house the miller's pigs.  In 1903 the mill across the road with four acres was sold to artist William Lathrop and used as his studio.  He helped establish the New Hope Art Colony enticing other artists to settle there.  He sold the piggery to Morgan Colt who remodeled it into a home and built a studio nearby.  Colt converted the rest of his property into a Gothic/Tudor-style English village with an elaborate walled garden.  

Later, the Colt house was used by the Holmquist School for Girls for a while.  Margaret Mead was one of the school's notable students.  

In 1972 Architect Brooks Kaufman and his wife, Joyce, turned the former piggery/Colt home/girls' school into the fine Inn and restaurant that it still is today.  We met Mrs. Kaufman when we strolled through the English village adjoining the Inn at Phillips Mill.  Let me take you for a little stroll though this delightful village....

After walking through the open gate into this courtyard another gate awaited us....

Passing through we followed another path....

Past lovely gardens....

Down to the end where one of the guest houses stood.  This cottage can be rented for two nights....

This one is next door and is listed on VRBO.  Here Ken is speaking to Mrs. Kaufman who lives in the house she's standing in front of.  She invited us in when we told her we were interested in renting one of the cottages at a future date.  Her house had once been Mr. Colt's studio....

Back out through the gate....

I saw a cat pass through a side gate.... 

Then back to the main gate....

Through the main gate where another charming house stood....


Across the way was the side entrance to the Inn through the restaurant....

We followed the path around to the back of the Inn....

More cats....

Around to the back of the Inn....

Into the garden dining area....

Just inside is the garden dining room....

This is the main dining room.  I love the red-checked curtains and chicken in the window....


Then into another dining area as we made our way to the stairs that would take us up to our room....

But first I had to stop at this window....

To check out the view....

Another dining alcove....

And more dining on the side porch....

Finally, done exploring we went up to our room where I propped myself amongst the pillows on the bed and brought out my journal to write about the day.  Here is my view.  There are already diners in the garden....


When we came down to dinner the candles were lit.  Yes, the red-checked curtained/chicken-in-the-window room....

I looked through the menu....

And took pictures while I waited....



My salad arrived along with the bread....

But when my meal of Filet de Porc Braisé aux Figues et à la Créme (Braised Pork Tenderloin, Mission Figs Cream) arrived, picture-taking was the last thing on my mind!  The pork was deliciously tender and the vegetables were amazing....

The creamed carrots were so great that I decided I would order the carrot cake for dessert.  I was not disappointed....

We took one last stroll through the garden before retiring....


The next morning we were up bright and early.  Since the Inn's continental breakfast would not be brought up to our room until 8:00 we decided to head back to New Hope, cross the river and have a bagel and coffee in Lambertville, NJ before heading up to Thomas Cole's house in Catskill, NY.  But first, we had to shoo away the cats from under and on top of our car....

In Scottish folklore the black cat is the harbinger of prosperity, but in our Western culture it is quite the opposite.  We hoped this was a cat of the Scottish persuasion!

Here are some of the paintings that came out of the New Hope Art Colony.

18 comments:

  1. Cathy, how marvelous! I've only skimmed through, but fully intend to return to savor every photo and link you've so graciously shared. I'm still perplexed which were statues and which were real people in some of the photos! Looking forward to the next installment ...

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    1. Yes, this post will keep you busy for quite a while if you look at all the links! It will give me time to prepare the next post. Perhaps I should have a quiz to see who can spot the real people in the photos!

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  2. The Grounds for Sculpture is just amazing, Cathy. We must plan a trip there. I love staying at Inns when we travel and the Inn at Phillips Mill looks lovely. My husband had an encounter with a "ghost" in a bed and breakfast in Fleeton, VA. Disclaimer--he is an educated engineer. I must go check out your links to learn more about the New Hope Art Colony. What a lovely trip you and your husband went on. I bet Gabriel was happy to have his Mommy back home. What a cute photo of him! ♥

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    1. Try to go on a weekday like we did because I read that sometimes on the weekends they have to close the gate when they can't hold any more. I'd love to hear your husband's ghost story! This series of posts will be talking about ghosts again, so stay tuned.

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  3. What a wonderful tour!! Thank you for sharing it with us! ~ Donna =)

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    1. Thank you for "coming along" with me!

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  4. What a wonderful adventure through art! I have thoroughly enjoyed visiting with you on your travels; thank you for sharing this! I am coming back later to have a real 'gander' as we say in the UK {means a proper, good look} as it definitely warrants more than one visit! I can tell you had a blast! Waving from Across The Pond Deb in Wales :)

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    1. I'm glad we have something here in the States to impress you British! Great Britain has charming gardens and cottages, all condensed in a manageable space, that you can hardly turn around there without being wowed!

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    2. Ah, I lived in America for some years and you have so very much to impress! Where do I begin? The Redwood Forests, Grand Canyon, Painted Desert, the Rocky Mountains, Blue Ridge Mountains, Skyline Drive, Colonial Williamsburg, The Smithsonian, The Outer Banks, I'll even include Disneyland! {and these are just a few of the places I visited and LOVED} Each state has it's own different character and unique charms. You could spend a lifetime just exploring one of our two great nations and never see it all.

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    3. Deborah, I agree! But it's so spread out that it takes a lifetime to see it all (and the travel expense). I've actually seen all the things you list except for the Redwood forest. It's still on my Bucket List, though, but it's almost 3,000 miles from me!

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  5. Cathy, you & Ken should do this for a living - seriously. Go around visiting attractions and staying in wonderful little [non-franchised] hotels and inns etc - writing and reviewing about them. You always find the neatest places! And you can actually take GOOD photos. And you can write [unlike quite a few bloggers these days]. You two could be like that "Roadfood" couple [Jane & Michael Stern] who loved diner and mom-and-pop restaurant food so much they turned their hobby into their profession. They have written books [probably have a website too] about off-the-beaten path places to eat all over the country. Their books is literally mouth-watering - I think they even lead "eating" tours now too - example -the North Carolina barbecue tour etc. Great story about the inn. I even bopped over to read about the ghosts too. Have a lot of fun on the rest of your vacation. PS - does Poetry stay at home?

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    1. Thank you, Janet, for your enthusiastic response! I WAS contacted by a website called Dwellable to let them link to my posts about Martha's Vineyard. They list rental properties, then provide links to Blogs like mine on things to do at that location. My husband would love to be a part of leading eating tours! Especially if he was paid to do it. Poetry does stay at home, but a neighbor came over once a day to feed her, etc., and check on her. Sometimes I've paid someone to stay here to care for both Poetry & Gabriel, but this time we took Gabriel to one of our son's house because it was on our route as we headed north.

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  6. That was a magnificent tour! I loved every bit of it. The lifelike statues are phenomenal, but the English Village.. superb! It just goes to show that we needn't travel to distant lands when we have so many wonderful places to visit right here in our own country. I love the quaintness and serenity of your Bed and Breakfast with the antique decor, the florals and checks and candles and yummy feasting. Indeed, it was a pleasure. I envy your visit to these places, lucky girl!

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    1. It took me 40 years to visit that Inn, but it goes to show where there's a will there's a way!

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  7. Like Sharon, I'll be back for a more leisurely visit! As always, your photographs are wonderful.
    I've wanted to do the New Hope & Ivyland railroad for years. This may just be the prompt we need to go!
    Looking forward to the next installments, Cathy.

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    1. Thank you, Elaine. I wasn't aware of the Ivyland railroad. When we go back, we'll have to look into it.

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  8. Cathy, just checking back in to let you know I've completed a more thorough and proper tour and am moving on to Day 2 again! LOVED the English Village; who would suspect such a 'community' exists in the good ol' USA? (I could just imagine some fairies and gnomes in and around that lovely landscape). See you at my next stop :-)

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