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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Four Days Away


When we made our plans back in August for our New England Leaf-Peeping vacation we checked the Fall Foliage forecast.  It said "near peak" for the four days we chose--October 7 to 10.  As you can see that rainy Monday afternoon when we arrived at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Massachusetts the trees had not gotten the message. . . .


At least we had wonderful Autumn decorations. . . .

We could only find parking in the back so we had to wind our way through the Inn to find the front desk. . . .

Then we took the elevator to the 3rd floor and had a long walk down the corridor to the back of the Inn again, past art work and antiques. . . .

Till we came to Room 303.  Whew.  It was not 301, the most haunted room according to the article I'd clipped from the paper last May. . . .

Our room was adequate and befitting such a grand old Inn.  You can read about its history HERE. . .

After exploring all four floors of the Inn we made our way to the main dining room. . . .

We asked for a table by the window that overlooked the outdoor dining area. . . .

After dinner we enjoyed the ambiance of the lobby and the many folks coming and going.  This photo was taken at a different time when no one was around. . . .


The original elevator was still in operation, but you had to find an employee to operate it for you. . . .

The next morning we were up before the dining room was open.  Norman, the Inn's official cat, had claimed his spot for breakfast. . . .

We, on the other hand, decided to seek our breakfast elsewhere, hoping for better prices.  There was autumn color across the street at least. . . .

We did a little window shopping along the way. . . .

We followed this sign down the alleyway. . . .

We were met with a sign in the door that it was closed, but breakfast would be served in the General Store at the front. . . .

It was 7:00 a.m. and we were eager to get our day underway. . . .

By 8:00 we'd driven the mile behind the Inn to the Laurel Hill trails. . . .

There was a footbridge across the Housatonic River. . . .


We would take this trail along the river later.  There was a mountain to climb first while I still felt energetic.  I'd also wanted to take the trail to the Ice Glen but it sounded a little too challenging....something about climbing over boulders!. . . .

The path to the tower led us across a railroad track. . . .


Then a steady climb of 600 feet. . . .

To a lookout tower. . . .

At an elevation of 1,488 feet.  I'm sure I'd already burned off the banana cranberry/walnut muffin I'd had for breakfast.  Ken's FitBit would show we walked almost 9 miles this day, climbed 64 stories (some of that was in the Inn), and taken 19,000 steps. . . .

We only got half of the advertised view because the trees had grown up too high on the southerly view.  At least I think it was on the south side.  We made so many switchbacks to get to this point I'm not sure which direction I was pointed in. . . .


There was a little more color up here, so it was worth the climb. . . .

There was a church steeple just above the trees (at the bottom of the photo). . . .

On the way down I had visions of slipping and sliding the rest of the way down--but I made it without mishap.  We crossed back over the river and took the trail along it. . . .

Piece of cake!  Nice and level. . . .

We got back to town by 10:00 when the shops opened.  I love the front garden of this one. . . .

And their welcoming arrangement of all things Autumn. . . .

This sign greeted me at the entrance to the garden behind the library.  I so agree with it! . . .



This sign in a shop spoke to my husband's heart (he took this photo and several others I've included in this post) as the garden and book one spoke to mine. . . .

We found a cute courtyard down another little alley where we had lunch at the Once Upon a Table cafe.  It was such a lovely day.  The fog had floated away with the coming of the sun, and it was warm enough to eat outside. . . .

Then it was off to Chesterwood.  We put the top down on the Beetle and drove the short distance on back roads.  Chesterwood was the summer home (May to November) of artist/sculptor Daniel French who was most known (to us at least) for the Lincoln Memorial statue in Washington, D. C. . . . .

The above design was not his first choice.  This one was. . . .
                                  


But it was determined that a standing Lincoln would get lost amongst the columns of the memorial. . . .

He is also noted for sculpting the Minuteman in Concord's Minute Man Historical Park.  As a local boy with no public works to his name he was asked to sculpt the minuteman for the 100th anniversary of the battle.  The town would provide the tools and a place to work but no commission.  It took Ralph Waldo Emerson's pressure afterwards to get the town to pay young French for his efforts. . . .

We took the guided tour of his house and studio after walking around the Visitor Center exhibits.  The tour started at his studio.  Note the front porch. . . .

The statue of Andromeda was set on the platform that French used to wheel his huge statues out of doors so he could examine them in the kind of light they'd be placed in. . . .

These are the rails on the other side of that tall door.  You can watch a video of how it was done HERE. . . .

French would sculpt his statues in clay and then either finish them in plaster or in bronze.  The process of creating a sculpture was arduous as it took many clay models, each one larger, as he worked toward the final piece.  Here is the process used for his plaster sculptures once the final piece was sculpted in clay.  Click on the photos to enlarge them in order to read the descriptions. . . .


This is the view of the house from the front porch of the studio. . . .

And the view from the porch.  You could see why he fell in love with this property and chose to spend six months of the year here.  The other six were spent in New York City. . . .

He had a lovely garden in the back of the studio.  This walkway leads to a woodland path. . . .


Currently, there is a contemporary sculpture exhibit throughout the woodland walk. . . .

I liked this one the most because it overlooks this beautiful view. . . .

This is a better view of the sculpture attached to the trees. . . .

This is a better view of the view. . . .

I thought this was an interesting interpretation. . . .


If you would like to see more photos and learn more about these sculptures and their creators, go HEREHERE, AND HERE.

We also toured the house.  You can read more about the house and see photos HERE.

Back at the Inn we had time to stroll about.  Ken sat and listened to a guest play the Inn's piano. . . .
                       

Norman was no where to be found. . . .

That evening we ate in the Tavern next to the main dining room. . . .

Ken ordered fish and chips and I had chicken pot pie, only it was none like I'd ever had.  The filling was more like a stew with a large round croissant in the center (I'd already eaten a bit of it before I remembered to take a photo).  It was good, but ever since I had chicken pot pie in England last year my standards are much higher. . . .

Wednesday we were up early again.  Ken went down for our coffee at 6:00 where they provided complimentary coffee in the Tavern each morning from 6 to 8.  Norman was already by the kitchen doors waiting for his breakfast. . . .

We went for our breakfast again at the General Store.  This time I had a more filling pumpkin french toast and bacon.  It was very good especially with the whipped cream on top.  I did not need to add butter or syrup. This, by the way, I've been able to replicate using the pumpkin bread Aldi's is selling right now.  Easy peasy!  We were fueling up for our drive to New Hampshire where we had 12:45 lunch reservations at Pickety Place.  But first, we wanted to stop in Harrisville to capture the autumn foliage.


Ken did not go with me in September 2015 when I drove down from Vermont where he was attending a cooking class at King Arthur Flour.  You can see what Harrisville looks like in mid-September and read why I went there HERE. . . .








This time at Harrisville Designs I bought a bag of off-white roving for just $6 to make a needle-felted Westie.  There are more photos of this wonderful shop in the link above.  Here is a taste of the colorful displays of yarn they carry. . . .

THIS is a lovely story by someone who lives in Harrisville.  You will also see what it looks like when the Autumn leaves are in full color.  It was a blustery day which made the 50 degree temperature rather biting, so we did not walk around that much.

It was on to Pickety Place, a hidden gem in the New Hampshire countryside. . . .





There is a lovely gift shop behind the restaurant. . . .

And gardens to wander through. . . .



The herb drying shed. . . .





When the time drew close for lunch we went inside the house to wait.  This is the Little Red Riding Room.  Pickety Place was sold to their chef in 2000.  According to the original owners' daughter who grew up there,  her parents would take the wolf out of the bed and use it as their bedroom.  Their dining room was the tea room during the day. You can read about the history of Pickety Place HERE.  There are also cookbooks, and now their daughter, Wendy Walter, has written a memoir of growing up there, "Being Pickety" . . .

The meal was quite good and only $23.95 for the entire experience.  It was pre fix except you got a choice between two entrees.  The menu changes monthly.  They had four sittings this month:  11, 12:45, 2, and 3:30.  It was plenty of time to eat, but our sitting started late because the 11 sitting lingered past the allotted time.  I think it was because they were too full to move.  I certainly was, but my desire to not delay the 2:00 sitting had us being the first to leave, hoping to set an example (it did not). . . .


Ken had the Pork Tenderloin. . . .

And I had the Sweet Potato Souffle. . . .


You can read about my 2015 visit HERE in which I have a slideshow of the Little Red Riding Hood story set at the cottage.

We encountered rain and traffic going back to Stockbridge.  We did not bother to eat supper, just snacked.  The next morning we woke up at 4:30 and decided not to wait around for breakfast.  So we filled our travel cups with coffee at 6:00 and were on the road home.  Norman, however, was going to wait around for his breakfast. . . .

P.S.  I did not hear any strange sounds coming from next door.  

While looking for music to accompany this post I came across this lovely video on YouTube that I thought you might enjoy.  Click on the square in the lower right corner to make it full screen so you can feel like you're there. . . .

                       


10 comments:

  1. What a quaint and charming inn, almost straight out of an Hollywood musical production with Bing Crosby. You lost me in the shop with the Polish pottery in the window, so I had to scurry along, toot sweet, to catch up for the rest of a magical day of exploration. Great photo of the distant church steeple almost hidden in that magnificent landscape. I do love that photo a lot. Thank you!

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    1. I love that pottery, too! Went in later when they were open to feast my eyes upon it some more. I didn't dare buy anything, though. I already have several boxes of unused dishes in the attic because I have no more room to storm them in my cupboards and hutches.

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  2. What a delightful & informative tour this was for you. I felt like I too, was there with you. Loved all of your photo's, especially, since we live in Florida absent the Fall foliage. Looking forward to seeing the Westie that you make. Love you Sis. <3

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  3. Such a lovely proper Fall excursion, Cathy. Love the views from the tower. Interesting facts about the Lincoln sculpture. The standing one certainly reminds me of the prayerful Lincoln I've read about. My Mama always said a foggy morning will turn into a pretty day. Most of the time she was right. Glad it was for you.

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  4. Another wonderful Cathy & Ken trip! Sublime. Like a travelogue! History, landscapes, art, gardens, music, food, shopping. You know Cathy, you two should have been travel writers and you could have roamed the world, experiencing it & then reporting back via books & eventually the Internet! I have no doubt you would have been famous travel writers. Just imagine!! Of course, it would have made raising 3 boys quite a bit more challenging [as if it wasn't already - LOL]. I spent a LONG time on this post, bouncing off to all the links you included. I especially remembered that post which included the yarn shop - the colors there were gorgeous. Bummer about the colors in the area - had you heard that early October was a peak time in that area? Sounded early to me [but then I'm not familiar with that region color-wise at all]. Here in my neck of upstate New York our peak is anywhere from mid to late October, and we are pretty much on schedule here [maybe a little slower than normal]. Thanks for the wonderful virtual-visit to Stockbridge & environs. Just lovely, as always. Hope you continue to have a super Fall! PS - is Ken still baking [you reminded me when you mentioned his classes at King Arthur]. ❤️πŸŽƒπŸπŸ‚πŸπŸ°

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    1. You are very generous with your compliments, Janet! Thank you. Ken isn't baking as much because we found that we love fresh-baked bread TOO much. But he still makes bread for his sandwiches and for special occasions. When I was a teenager I wanted to be a flight attendant, but at the time I was too tall to be considered. By the way, I think you missed my last post--it was about our 3 Days Away on the eastern shore of Maryland in Oxford. I actually did it for YOU after your lovely comment about my travel posts before that. I hadn't planned to blog about it since there wasn't much to write about--just photos mostly. We are finally getting some Autumn color here in Maryland and are going away this weekend to western Maryland so will hopefully have something to write about it. The forecast is for rain.

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  5. I'm sorry the New England fall color was not much to speak of. How would they know that far ahead what it would be that weekend? Seems like it's late this year, the color, or do we say that every year! But your trip looked wonderful anyway, and the photos were lovely and interesting. What a fun old inn you stayed in!

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    1. Ken just read an article about "most haunted" inns and the Red Lion was listed as #2....!

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