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Monday, June 23, 2014

Our Artist Vacation - Day 3


We arrived at the Readmore Inn in Bellow Falls, VT, at the end of a very rainy Day 2.  I never did get an outside photo of the Inn because of the rain and because it was shrouded in bushes and trees.  This photo is from Google street view and was taken when the leaves were off the trees.  I wanted you to see the size of this Victorian house.  It's twice as deep as it is wide....

The house was built in 1892 and has a very interesting history which includes a photo of what it looked like in 1900.  The house was featured in the March 1899 issue of Ladies' Home Journal as one of the prettiest country homes in America.  Stewart and Dorothy Read bought it in 1997 and spent the next five years bringing it back to its former glory.  Dorothy is a professional horticul- turist and garden writer.  She's done extensive work on the gardens, but the cool weather delayed the blossoming of all her roses and many of the other perennials, so the garden was not at its glory, sadly to say.  Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy the tour of this grand old Victorian.  

You enter now from the side entrance to a foyer with this grand ceiling....

In this photo I've taken you to the far end of the room to show you the doors we came through....
This is the ceiling above me....

The hole in the ceiling of the Great Hall looks up through the second floor to the skylight that is in the floor of the third floor where the Read's private quarters are....

If you go back to where we came through those double doors and turn right you will be in the Ladies' Parlor....


Here is a closer look at the ceiling....

From the Ladies' Parlor you can enter the Gentlemen's Library....



Standing in the Library you can see the Game Room on the other side of the Great Hall.  Those stairs will take you up to our room....

But I have more to show you first, like a better look of those windows....

The Game Room....

Back up to the entrance.....if you make a left turn after you enter the Great Room you'll enter the dining room.  The mural is Bellow Falls of 100 years ago....

From there you enter the Butler's Pantry.  This is where our morning coffee was waiting for us....

Ken asked to see her kitchen.  She has an AGA!

Finally, up those stairs to the second floor.....but first, look down into the Great Hall....

I chose their least expensive room, the Cooks Room, knowing it was purportedly haunted.  To get to it you enter the door that is open in the middle of the photo to a short hallway.  This was, indeed, a servants' room.  The back stairway to the kitchen was outside our door, next to the laundry, and while we had a private bath, you had to leave the room to get to it....

The other reason I chose it is because it is the room with cookbooks and Ken is really into cookbooks since he retired.  The Readmore Inn is not only named after the proprietors, but also because they are book sellers and want you to read more ☺.  Each room is a theme and contains books in that genre.  We were to spend two nights here, but would spend little time in the room during the day because of all the places we wanted to visit....


We found out too late that if you want to eat in one of the few nice restaurants in town you need to make reservations in advance, so we found a hamburger cafe for a quick bite, then spent the evening in the Library.  I read all the newspaper articles about the Inn's history and the purported ghost in the Cook's Room.  It seems the ghost likes to knock on the door in the middle of the night.  I think I must have thwarted it.  Since we'd have to exit the room in our pajamas to get to the bathroom Dorothy told me I could close the outer hallway door for more privacy, so I did.  If the ghost had knocked on that outer hallway door, I wouldn't have heard it.  ☺ But it might have found another way to annoy me.  Before retiring that first night I decided to try out the jetted tub.  I filled it up past the side jets, climbed in, turned on the jets, and promptly had water shooting out of the tub onto the floor before I even knew what was happening!  It turns out there were two jets at the back of the tub that I hadn't noticed and which were higher than the others and not covered by the water......but it was the fact that the little nozzles were pointed up instead of down that makes me think that this little ghost just might be mischievous.  

In the morning we were fed a hearty breakfast of strawberry soup, an omelet with Vermont cheese, fried potatoes, and maple-cured bacon.  Then we were off into the rain for a second day to visit another artist's residence.  

To get there we first had to cross the Connecticut River from Windsor, VT into New Hampshire via the longest covered bridge still standing in the U.S.  As we approached it we thought, "What's the big deal."....

But once we got inside we were impressed....



It was less than three miles up the road to Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish, NH.  Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907) was a sculptor best known for his Standing Lincoln in Chicago, the General Sherman Monument in New York's Central Park, and the Shaw Memorial in Boston.  We started our tour in the visitors' center then made our way to the exhibition center....

....where we saw a casting of the Farragut Monument....


From there we went up the steps to the picture gallery....
Inside was an exhibit by Elaine Bradford called "Ceremonial Concealment" in which she uses crochet to make her statement....

Kristie, I thought of you and your various projects....

Especially this one.....maybe you could do one of a bear....

 When we returned to the courtyard I saw this chipmunk and warned him that perhaps he'd best not hang around here or he might get covered in yarn....

He took my advice....

Along the Atrium's colonnade and in the building behind were several portrait reliefs by Saint-Gaudens....

"The Children of Jacob H. Schiff" with Saint-Gaudens' dog, Dunrobin
Robert Louis Stevenson

Next we walked across the Bowling Green to the Ravine Studio....

A sculptor-in-residence was explaining his process to this group of children on a school tour (I took the photo through the window, hence the reflection of the trees)....

The rain had pretty much stopped, and I felt adventurous so we took the Ravine Trail down a steep path to Blow-Me-Up Brook....
                                         

At the bottom of the trail was the swimming hole Saint-Gaudens made by damming up the brook.  I can imagine him and his fellow artists traipsing through these cool woods after a long, hot day in their studios....

Augustus Saint-Gaudens was the central figure of the Cornish Art Colony.  In 1905, in honor of the 20th anniversary of the Saint-Gaudens' arrival in Cornish, members of the Colony and townspeople performed a play entitled "A Masque of Ours-Gods and the Golden Bowl":  "The masque concerns Jupiter's desire to resign as leader of the gods.  All gather for a meeting to decide Jupiter's successor.  Neptune and Pluto both want the position, so Minerva must choose who will rule next.  She seeks the answer in a golden bowl, declaring Augustus Saint-Gaudens to be the worthy one."  A set was built at the far end of the Bowling Green.  You can read more about it starting here....  

After his death a temple, modeled after the one used in the play, was built to hold the Saint-Gaudens family ashes....

Thankfully, the rain was still holding off as we made our way back toward the house Saint-Gaudens named Aspect, in honor of the town in France where his father had been born.  But first we wanted to see his studio.  It is the building on the left....


Inside were more of his works....
"Diana"




The tour of the house was about to start so we walked on up to the house.  This photo is of the Studio taken from the back of the house....

I walked down the embankment to look at the back of the house from the garden....

If you turn around, you see the rest of the garden....

I could have spent all day in the garden, but the tour guide was ready for us.  As she shared information about the house that we'd already heard in the film at the visitor's center I gazed out over the lawn from the side porch where the family and their friends would play lawn games.  Later the school children were out there playing....

We entered through the porch door.  There were parlors on either side of the entry way....

I could imagine members of the Art Colony gathering here in the evenings....

Saint-Gaudens' wife, Augusta, had been a reproduction painter.  He encouraged her to try her hand at painting something original.  This is her painting of their Paris apartment....

The second parlor was their music room....


The dining room was further down the hall just off the front entry to the house....


In the entryway was another of Augusta's original paintings of the Paris apartment....

When you come in the front door you see this beautiful staircase leading to the second floor, which was closed to us....

The door standing open to the right in the above photo takes you into the large kitchen....







We'll go back out into the garden now....

I want to see what's through that little doorway....

I turn left and find the Adams Memorial for Marian Adams, commissioned by her husband,  historian Henry Adams.  What the plaque doesn't say is that Mrs. Adams had taken her own life....


We exit this small enclosed garden through the hedge....

....and follow the path along the line of birch trees....

We make our way around to the front of Aspet....


This is the same view from the side porch which is off to the right.  You can see the rain starting to move in....

As we walk back to the car park I take one last look at Aspet and the lives that once lived and created amazing works of art here....

We have just a short drive to King Arthur Flour for my bread-baking husband.  This is an amazing place.  You can watch the bakers make breads and pastries, take classes, eat in the cafe, and shop in the store.  Ken buys his specialty flours from here on-line and has found a local wholesaler who can order the 25 lb. bags of all-purpose flour he  uses.   He stocked up on flour and other kitchen gadgets....


By the time we finished up at King Arthur it was raining again.  It was only 3:00 so I went through all the travel brochures I'd collected and suggested we go to Quechee Gorge Village, a collection of food and goods shops.  We had hoped to also visit the Quechee Gorge itself, but the chilly rain made that a bad idea.

I wasn't nearly done browsing the antique shops where I found a wonderful bargain I plan to give away on Day 5, but it was time to head back to the B&B.  We had dinner reservations at 6:00 at Burdicks Chocolate Shop & Cafe in Walpole, NH....

It was a lovely little restaurant in a small strip mall....

When I saw they had carrot soup, I figured I couldn't go wrong.  As you see, again, I was so eager to eat it I forgot about the photo until I'd finished....

I ordered Quiche Florentine and dutifully photographed it, but then discovered I did not particularly like it.  They used some exotic cheese I suspect.  I'm a plain swiss cheese kind of girl.  So, I'm showing you Ken's meal of duck, which he greatly enjoyed....

Ken had seen the chocolates offered in the shop and opted for those to be his dessert.  I had hoped we could have split one of their luscious chocolate desserts, but I was easily swayed when I thought about the calories I was avoiding.  I just bought the chocolate covered hazelnuts, but Ken bought several of the individual pieces.  I'd remarked on how cute the mice were and he saved that one for me.  Now that I've finally taken its photo, I can eat it....yummmm

You're probably as tired as I am from this day!  This was the last time I'd get to wash my hair for the next two days, so that's how I spent the rest of the evening--in curlers in our room.  I used the shower this time, by the way.  We'd requested our breakfast for 7:30 because we had to leave by 8:00 for our next destination which was 45 minutes away.  This time we had the dining room to ourselves so I brought my camera....



It was still raining and I'd not slept as well as I had the first night.  I'd dreamed that I could see mold actually growing and spreading in our house.  I gathered up Poetry and Gabriel and found Ken to tell him we had to vacate immediately because there was an entity living in the house.  I think I've read too many ghost stories!  We'd packed the car before we ate, but I went back upstairs for the last minute things and looked at this needlework hanging on the wall for the first time....

I stood there a moment and sighed....yes, there's no place like home.  I didn't realize at that moment how much that sentiment would play a part in the coming day.....

More Information on the works of Augustus Saint-Gaudens:

Diana the Huntress
            


The Shaw Memorial
              

14 comments:

  1. Can't get over these photos, and the greens in them! Years from now, when you're 99 or so and maybe can't remember when you visited these places, you'll still be able to tell it was Spring from those greens... How do you find all theseneat places you stay in and/or visit? I do with your posts what I always do with Susan Branch's - look up the places visited or go to all the included links and when I can, I download the menus [if they're pdfs]. I collect menus. I know, weird huh? The Readmore Inn was especially gorgeous. The architectural bones, millwork etc are just beautiful. The ceilings, the pillars, the staircases, the wainscotings, the window seats and that skylight! And wow, an Aga. Was it one of those traditional Agas that's actually always "on?" And to top it all off, a ghost. Funny that you were "punked" with those tub jets. Loved your little gurgling brook video too. What is it about the sound of moving water that appeals to most of us? Maybe it goes back to nomadic caveman times. Must have been a huge relief to hear that sound after hours of trudging around the countryside. Of all the neat places you've shown today, I actually think I'm most jealous of King Arthur flour. I love to bake too and love it when their catalog comes in the mail. I don't have space for everything I'd but it is really fun to look through it and get ideas/recipes. Does Ken have a favorite bread to bake? Has he created his own home-grown specialty? There's nothing like the scent of bread in the oven. I started getting into bread-baking in high school & can remember how pleased my dad would be to find me baking when he came home at 5 pm. He always said what a treat it was to have such fresh bread, slathered with butter and still warm from the oven. Good grief, I've written a book. OK, gotta let you go. Take care and talk to you soon. :>) PS - agree with you about Quiche Lorraine. It's gotta be plain old Swiss.

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    1. Janet, I think everything looked so green because of the rain. And the clouds make for perfect lighting for photography. When it's sunny you get shadows and it messes up the light meter because it also has to contend with the sunny areas. The only time rain isn't good is when it's actually coming down and you want to be outside--it's not good for the camera. Ken bakes lots of french bread, but then he has some specialty kinds he likes. He just added some special Italian bread seasonings he bought at K.A. to this last baguette and it was wonderful! With the jets in the tub, I always thought they just shot out air so I was doubly surprised to have water shooting all over the place. It wasn't something I would have suspected could happen--totally took me by surprise. It took me a moment to realize what was happening so I could think to reach around and turn the thing off! It must have looked pretty funny.

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  2. Cathy, I posted a comment yesterday but I see you must not have gotten it. Ghosts interference maybe. Our daughter lives really close to where you were in this post. She has lived in NH for 12 years now so we pretty much have been to all the local sites. I love going to King Arthur in Norwich just like your hubby. St Gaudens is wonderful and you captured it quite well considering all the rain that fell in New England. I'm interested in your next posts as we were attending our grandson's graduation during this same week. I can't wait to see what you think of Stillmeadow. I would have been there, with bells on, had it not been for the graduation. ♥

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    1. I hope not! That would mean the ghost followed me home! ☺ I did not receive your first post and I even checked the Admin folder to make sure. Yes, that sure was a lot of rain we had up in New England. And for my next post on Day 4 it will still be raining. I'll have to consult you about where to go the next time we go up there. I also wanted to do Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Site, but the rain prevented that, too.

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  3. This is my third comment. I hope not to lose this one! Operator error on my part I am quite certain, although I don't mind blaming the ghost. As a lover of old homes and gardens I am have a grand time on this armchair journey and looking forward to day 4. The Readmore Inn is just unbelievable.
    Thank you for doing this, I know it must be a lot of work.
    I have a cat helping me type this, so need to make it short.
    I keep returning to the pictures over and over. They are just great.
    Chris W

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    1. This is strange, indeed. Yesterday must have been a bad day for the blogosphere! I'm glad you got through today. What is interesting is that yesterday when I moderated Janet's comment and then noticed hers was the only one, I thought, "Oh, no! I've lost all my lovely comments!" But then I remembered that the comments I had received before hers were on my Facebook page. ☺ Then again, maybe I was "picking up" on the comments that had actually been lost! (insert Twilight Zone theme here--hee hee hee). Anyway....I'm so glad you're enjoying this post because I'm really enjoying doing them. I'm learning even more about the places in my research and reliving everything. It makes me think I should do this kind of research before I visit the site so I can appreciate being there even more so. In fact, this is the way it was when I visited Emily Dickinson's house. The first time it was closed and we just walked around the grounds. By the time we went back I'd read several biographies on her and her brother, who lived next door. Made it even more poignant because of the life that Emily led. I was even able to answer some of the questions asked by my fellow tourists that the tour guide couldn't. ☺

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  4. Oh, Cathy! What a wonderful trip and stay in Vermont! I enjoyed each and every photo and to be able to tour King Arthur Flour, how fun!! Thank you so much for sharing and taking us along. ~ Donna Elizabeth =)

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  5. You're welcomed! Thank you for telling me you enjoyed the tour. ☺

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  6. Okay, Cathy ... I'm caught up now and eager for the next installment! What you said in your comments above about reading up before visiting a site is so valid. I watched both the videos at the end of this post, and realized that had I actually had opportunity to see those works of art, I would have given them only cursory observation and moved on with no appreciation of their significance. The Elaine Bradford exhibit reminded me of the yarnbombing craze, and that humongous covered bridge far exceeds any I've been privileged to see. But I'm going to confess here and now that while I've so enjoyed all the tour to date and look forward to Day 4, my eyes bugged out at the mention of another special giveaway on Day 5! I'm eager to get on with our journey :-)

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    1. I've just added a second give-away for Day 4 (later today!), so be sure to check in for that, too. I figure I owe my loyal readers two chances to win something--you've all been so faithful to stick with these very, very long posts. For my own record I need to include every little detail of my vacation, probably more than my readers care to read, so you've earned it! ☺

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  7. Cathy, thank you for taking us along! Magnificent! Not to long ago my husband and I went to the Mary Todd Lincoln house in Lexington KY, it was not as grand but still beautiful. It's so wonderful that we can tour these places and step back in time. Also, I love the crochet pieces! What fun!

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    1. So glad you came along! We went to Robert Todd Lincoln's house on our 2006 New England tour. I find it exciting to visit the homes of people who have left their mark on their time and place.

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  8. Cathy ~~~ I am running behind and playing catchup. My Reading List has been awol for days! I really do need a new computer because I don't want to miss another delicious morsel of your blogs~~~especially since I've discovered how to zoom in on pictures and end up reading all the scumptiousness of Readmore's Savoury French Toast {hold the bacon, I'm a vegetarian}
    Much as I'm enjoying the discovery of new artists I'm afraid I stayed in Readmore Inn ~~~ I would have been in Seventh Heaven and I know you were too! What a place ~~~ swoons ~~~ oh, and that sweet covered bridge too. I am pea green with envy here :)
    I'll be catching up later with your other new entries and plan to come back and read these more thoroughly when the Garden isn't beckoning ~~~ all growing rapidly, including weeds, since the rains we had this week too ~~~ must have been both sides of The Pond
    Hugs and Waving from ATP Deb in Wales :)

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    1. I'm behind on my Blog reading, too, because of my Blog writing! Plus, it's so hot here I've had to water my potted plants in the garden every day, and so many other little details of life right now! But I'm glad you were able to stop in and put your feet up for a while.

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