Historic places and other stops
In past summers, as a school librarian, it was rare for the hub and I to take a vacation. He always had his cars and mopeds to work on, and I was desperate for time to decompress from the school year. From mid-June to mid-July I slept a great deal; mid-July I perked up for a few weeks spending time with friends and family I had passively ignored for nine months, and in early August I geared up for the upcoming school year that began later that month.
During my first summer of retirement, this schedule became obsolete. A road trip was planned – “The Rhode Island Loop Road Trip.” Along our travels to see family, friends, family of friends, we traveled to Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York– Long Island specifically–New Jersey , before heading back home. Rarely did a prospective lesson plan or book talk even begin to evolve. Reclaiming one’s life after teaching takes time, setting boundaries, and the ability to be in the moment. I am learning this as I go.
Along the ways and stays, there were many wonderful people we met, conversed with, and befriended. Moreover, there were many unassuming places we visited for the first time. Here, I share a few places:
Newport Art Museum (The John N. Griswold House) The house, designed by the Olmsted brothers, is worth the price of admission. The exhibits are a bonus for those who love a variety of artistic styles. It is not overwhelming, as many small museums are, but rather invites you to pace yourself at your leisure.
Audrain’s Newport Concours The hub spent an hour viewing cars and talking with the guides. Newport claims to be the “birthplace” of luxury sport motoring. Who am I to argue? All I know is this: the hub thoroughly enjoyed THIS type of art!
Thames Glass Gallery @688 Thames Street (Pronounced with the “th” not the hard “t” sound) Despite the small size, this studio is open wide & invites you to observe this art form. Located in a very unassuming area of Newport, it is easy to access. We watched students practicing their art and vowed to take a class the next time!
Rose Island Lighthouse In addition to visiting friends, our overnight stay was the highlight for me. On this little island (arriving by boat) the four couples, including us, we able to completely decompress. The guides gave a brief historic overview, introduced us to simply gaze at the horizon with the setting sun. Sublime.
Mark Twain House Hartford was our intended destination specifically to see this landmark. While the neighborhood area surrounding it is less than inviting, the interior of the house is a delight, and the museum attached well designed with light and space to complement this turn-of-the century style architecture. Unfortunately, one cannot take photos indoors as the items are on loan and copyright is paramount. Worth seeing is wall paper, of all things!
- hand-stenciled wall paper in East Indian patterns with slight opalescence
- Tiffany’s artist, Candice Wheeler’s Bee design which is absolutely stunning
- embossed wallpaper resembling leather in the dining room
- Walter Crane’s “Foggy went-a-courtin” children’s room wall paper
& of course,
- Clemens’ third floor study, the Billiard Room, where he wrote most, if not all, of his famous books
Taking the New London to Orient Point Ferry, we arrived early on Long Island, N.Y. and drove down to the south. Stopping at Shelter Island and East Hampton along the way offered some insights into different lifestyles. Truly. Different.
The Pollock Krasner House & Study Center visit was one aligned with serendipity! At this point, the hub who preferred to do all the driving, remained in the car reading the The East Hampton Press free newspaper.
Walking through Pollock’s studio, which after his death became Krasner’s, was wondrous. While the house is modest, it tells so much about these two artists in understated an intuitive ways. Our tour guide was outstanding in the depth and breadth of her knowledge about the art and their lives.
By now we were entering the East Coast corridor of heavy traffic with one last stop: Lambertville/New Hope border. Walking among the N.J./Pa. streets of quaint shops, we came across two places of note:
A Stage In Time: Contemporary Art & Vintage Furnishings run by Peter Prorok and Ramon Robledo, us both a gallery and an antique store. Peter gave us voluminous information on Mission furniture of which there were many fine pieces in his store.
AG Artists’ Gallery is a cooperative space for artists to show and sell their works. Art media varies, as do styles, and all are very reasonably priced. It was delightful to view “Breathing In”- artists’ pieces by Beatrice Bork and Laura Rutherford Renner.
By now, we were ready to head home. The hub drove. I slept. A good time was had by all.