Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Vacation Memories #2 The Shelburne Museum

We spent a day visiting the Shelburne Museum, in Shelburne, VT, just south of Burlington.  I say we spent a day, but it was a three hour drive to get there and a three hour drive to get back!  But we were able to see a great deal of the museum in the time we had there.  Several friends told us not to miss this museum - and they were right.  The only down side that day was the heat and humidity.  But we were there and so we had to make the best of it!

The museum's collection was begun by Electra Havemeyer Webb, 1888-1960.  She collected American folk art and founded the Museum in 1947.  Almost all of the buildings are transplanted historic buildings from New England and New York.  Her family also collected impressionist art and many of her family's paintings were given to the Museum of Modern Art.  Fortunately, some remain here at the museum.

This is the steamship Ticonderoga, which Electra Webb managed to purchase and have delivered, over land, to the museum.  The ship was used on Lake Champlain.  It is in wonderful condition.  Visitors are allowed to walk all over the ship.

A cute little lighthouse on the grounds, near the Ticonderoga.  There were lovely gardens everywhere - trying their best to survive in the heat.

I love old stone houses.  This one was just great.

This is another of the old buildings at the museum.  The collections are housed in a wide variety of buildings like this.  I enjoyed the buildings just as much as the contents!

A little cabin next to a beautiful fountain surrounded by gardens.

One of the most impressive collections we saw was the doll collection.  Of course they were all behind glass, and you were not really supposed to use a flash (although it looks like mine flashed here... oops), so it was  difficult to get pictures.  I managed a few.

What a face!

A dark-haired beauty.

Check out the cheeks on this one!

I'm not sure...but, there must be a reason for this doll's expression.  I thought she was just great!

These next few dolls are automatons.  They are "mechanical" and designed to move around.  The details were exquisite.  These examples are each about 3 feet tall.

The monkey drummer.  Great outfit!

This was my favorite.  I would love to know what his motion is - how he moves. 

Three more lovely dolls.  All original clothes.  I wish I had many more pictures of the dolls.  Each display case was a wonderland!

This is the only building on the grounds that was actually built on-site for the museum.  It houses the personal furnishings from the family's Park Avenue apartment in New York City.  The rooms have been carefully re-created here.  There is a grand and gorgeous staircase.  Mike has good pictures of it - I'll post those later with some of his other photos.  There is art, furniture, portraits, rugs, books, sculpture, lighting, textiles...  what a grand apartment that must have been!  Not many families have a Monet over the fireplace and two Rembrandts on the opposite wall!

The museum was well worth the visit - even on a hot and steamy day.  The collection of horse-drawn carriages and horse-drawn sleighs was absolutely incredible.  They are housed in a very old u-shaped barn, which was fabulous - but about 110 degrees inside!  The antique toys and quilts were also very, very special.  I had hoped to see some antique hooked rugs - but there were none on display!
Maybe on our next visit...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Vacation Memories #1 - New England - Gloucester, Marblehead, Concord

We have returned from our fabulous vacation in New England and Quebec.  The Green Mountains of Vermont turned into the Dirty Mountains of Laundry - but I've worked through all that and the suitcases are now stowed away in the basement until the next trip.

I took 392 photos while we were on vacation!  I thought that was quite a few, but apparently Mike took several thousand!  In this post, I'll show you a few of my photos from our first few days in New England.  For the first week of our trip, we stayed in the home of our friends Craig and Laurie in Andover, MA, while they vacationed in California.  This is Heidi, their little Shih Tzu.  She was our hostess for the week.  She had us trained to the ways of Heidi within the first few hours!  She is adorable! 

For our first day trip out of Andover, we headed east to the seacoast - to Cape Ann.  Along the way we spotted this very, very old cemetery.  It was a reminder that "American History" in this part of the country goes WAY back to the 1600's.

This is a seawall in Gloucester - about as American as apple pie!

The water in Gloucester harbor was beautiful and blue.  Spectacular!  Later in our trip we returned to Gloucester for our whale-watching trip - more on that later.

I think this house is in Gloucester - if not, it's in Marblehead - which was our next stop that first day.

This funky chicken is definitely in Marblehead! 

Most of the shops in Marblehead had wonderful flower boxes. That was true everywhere - I have lots of flower box pictures!

A view of the harbor at Marblehead.

This great building was on the other side of the harbor - I don't know what it is.  It looks close, but it is actually a long way across the harbor.  I am zoomed out to the max!

Marblehead is the most picturesque of all the harbors we saw.  It is a large harbor - many boats.

The next day we headed to Concord to see the Old North Bridge.  Remember that history lesson about "the shot heard 'round the world"?  This is the place!

Here is the bridge - well, not really.  There have been 6 or 7 bridges since the shot heard round the world.  But this is a reasonable facsimile while still allowing tourists to safely walk across!  This spans the Concord River.

This is the monument on the side of the Minutemen ("the embattled farmers").

And the inscription...

The reflections of clouds and trees created an amazing affect in the river. 

I'm happy to say it is now a peaceful and serene place.

Nathaniel Hawthorne's home (The Manse) is right next to the bridge.  There is an effort to recreate his gardens - including the tallest corn I have ever seen!

Right outside of Concord is Walden Pond.  I was so excited to see it but mildly disappointed when we arrived to find a swimming beach!  I could not bear to take a photo of the beach and all the swimmers.  Yes, they were having fun... but at Walden Pond???  Not sure what Thoreau thinks about all that.

There is something very unique about this pond.  We saw many ponds, but Walden seems to have its own vibe.  To me, it was the deep green vegetation around the pond and how it grows right down to the water's edge.  It was as if the the trees were holding the water.   Even though it was a bit overcast the day we visited, the water was beautiful.  It is easy to see why Thoreau was so inspired here.

This is a re-creation of Thoreau's cabin at Walden Pond, complete with interior furnishings.  Back in Thoreau's day, it cost $28.00 to build the cabin.

Concord is also the home of the cemetery where many famous American authors are buried in an area called Author's Ridge.  It is an absolutely beautiful place.  Here is Thoreau's family stone, and his individual stone.

The Alcott family stone, and Louisa May's.  Visitors place pine cones and pebbles around the markers.

This is Louisa May Alcott's childhood home, Orchard House, in Concord.  She wrote Little Women here.  Over on the left side is the garden she and her sisters tended.  Each had a quarter of the garden, and apparently their individual personalities were reflected in their gardening efforts.

We can't leave Concord without seeing another pretty flower box!

To be continued... check back soon.