Sunday, July 14, 2013

Travel journal: July 6, 2013: Connecticut: Woodstock

Saturday, July 6. was going to be another warm and humid one, but who cared?
There were places to go, things to see, people to meet!

Before my plans to come out for a visit had been settled, Sue had already made plans with two friends for an outing up to Woodstock, CT to see a Historic New England property, and to go wine tasting too.
There was also a surprise in store for one of the friends...
more about that later.
Sue's friend Mary Lou picked us up bright and early, and drove us over to Joan's (part of her house pictured above), where we piled into Joan's car and headed out for an adventure.

Sue, Mary Lou, Joan and yours truly enjoyed a most scenic back roads drive out to Woodstock.
Joan, our driver, doesn't "do" freeways; she feels safer on back roads and has discovered they are quite lovely.
Totally worth a slightly longer time on the road.
I couldn't agree more.
No need to rush!
The roads wound through small towns and forests, by ponds and flowers and rolling hills.
What a treat to see!

When a pit stop was needed, there was a perfect art and gift center nearby.

We took our time to stretch our legs and enjoy looking about the place.
I  thought of my friends who love their clotheslines when I saw this painting.

The white teapot was a lamp!
It would be possible to book a tea party in the shop, but tea partying was not on our schedule for that particular day.
Ah well...

I was constantly amazed at the hedges of orange yellow day lilies bloom along side the road and in every garden.

I suppose they have naturalized.
The bloomed in wooded areas where surely no one had planted them.

I was also quite amazed at how many American flags flew everywhere.
If there was a telephone pole in any place, there was also a flag flying from it.
I wondered when they go up and how long they fly.
Surely not during winter, right?

The Historic New England property that we were going to explore was up in a place called Woodstock.
The property was named "Roseland Cottage".
From the handout:
"When Henry and Lucy Bowen built a summer home for their growing family, (in 1847) the bold Gothic Revival style they chose contrasted sharply with the other houses on Woodstock's town green.  Bowne was a self-made man and an advocate of moral causes such as abolition and temperance, and while at Roseland Cottage, he entertained nationally recognized figures, including four United States presidents."
A boxwood knot garden is in front of the property.

The exact shade of pink chosen by Mr. Bowen has been determined via microscopic examination of paint layers.
The color would have be quite shocking for that era!
Mrs. Bowen had chosen the rose as "her" flower (brides often selected a flower for their bouquet, stationary, china, linen etc etc that was then associated with them for the rest of their lives.)

Gothic revival was not common for that era.
What makes the house "gothic" is the use of points and strong vertical elements.
I wish I had though to ask about that upside down two over the front door...

The garden was in full bloom inside the box wood knots.

I knew Bernie would be impressed by the size of the Japanese maple.
 Of course you have surely guessed that NO PHOTOGRAPHY was allowed inside.
Happily, HERE is a link where you can see each of the rooms online.
I will copy a few choice shots from the home's website...crossing fingers that they will stay up.
The professional photos are better than anything I could have taken anyway.
 A parlor...
Lucy bore 10 children before tragically dying in childbirth.
Her husband remarried and had another child.
The home is noted for its extensive use of the "new" wall covering of the day, (1877) a patterned heavy material called Lincrusta-Walton, with the same properties of linoleum. 
It was the first washable wallcovering ever made, and it was treasured for being hygienic.
Lincrusta-Walton wall covering may still be purchased, and the modern material is created using the historical patterns created via original rollers.
The tour guide was great and explained many elements of the home as well as sweet details about the family.
Out back from the house was a bowling alley, the oldest private bowling alley in the USA.
On the walls were photos of the family's boys in the early 1900 when they played for various Yale sporting team.
A funny story:
President U. S. Grant came to visit.
He was treated to an opportunity bowl.
When he bowled a strike he was so pleased that he immediately lit a cigar.
Mr. Bowen...was avidly anti tobacco.
I would say it is really worth it to click on the earlier link to see the seven or so other house hold photos and reading a bit of history that goes along with each photo.
I wish I could go on the Roseland Cottage upcoming "Hard Hat" tour where one would be taken into the attic and basement and other behind the scenes spaces.
I think Bernie would love that...
Out in front of the bowling alley was a tree I had never seen before.

It was a "Shag Bark Hickory".

It looked really old to me!

Clotheslines, again, for those who know who they are.

There was also an aviary; we did not get to see inside.

Mr. Bowen apparently really liked birds as bird motifs were found throughout his home.

How fun it must have been for the 11 Bowen children to be able to come live in this bucolic area each summer!

Mr. Bowen was one of, if not THE founders of the Republican party.
After the Civil War, he very actively celebrated Independence Day and his parties were reported in major newspapers.
While we were visiting, we got to see the home decorated for Independence Day, using his historical flags and state banners.
Quite fun!

The Bowen family, as noted before, was involved in the Temperance Movement.
Mrs. Bowen was famous for serving her guests pink lemonade!

Roseland Cottage is also on the Connecticut's Historic Garden list.
There are a total of 14 historic gardens in Connecticut.
Doesn't it sould like visiting all of them would be a fun "bucket list" activity?
More day lilies...
Our next stop was for lunch and I somehow didn't get a photo!
I will tell you that the place served an amazing summer berry cold soup that was most welcomed on such a hot day.
The four of us chatted away and got to know each other a bit...where we were born, what we do or did for a living, those sort of details.
It was so enjoyable!
From there we headed to our next destination:
Pomfet, CT.

The house and garden next to the winery.

So tidy!

More flags!

The woman in the painting looked a bit judgemental, don't you think?

Sue, Mary Lou and Joan.
(Loved Mary Lou's hat and white beads, and Sue's dress!)
The green bag held a surprise.

I think this is my only photo of Sue and me together....

OK...what Canadian came by and piled the rocks?
We soon were settled in for wine tasting.

I liked several of the wines, but couldn't purchase any as it is against the law to ship wine into Utah and I was doing carry on luggage; a bottle of wine is way over the 3 ounce liquid rule for carry on.
The first wine, Ballet of Angels, was especially nice.

Then came the surprise:
It was Joan's birthday celebration!
Mary Lou had smuggled in the cake (after getting permission from the winery) and boy was it a delicious coconut cake!
Joan blew out candles...

Opening gifts from her friends.
It was really a swell little party.
I asked how the three ladies had met.
Two met in line for an event, exchanged phone number and a friendship began and expanded with Sue later on.
Isn't that fun?
We had a little giggle about the monkeys in the room.
No, not too much wine...there really were monkey's holding umbrellas!

The Vineyard Reserve Chardonnay:
I am still not sure what "flinty" character tastes like.
Guess I need to find some flint somewhere and pop it in my mouth so I will know.

The winery served meals as well, and had wonderful outdoor spaces for parties.
I can imagine how marvelous the vineyards must look in autumn.

The outdoor "room" had beautiful blooming plants.

Wind chimes...

Eye catching art pieces....

It has been a while since I saw a white passion flower in bloom.

Or dinner plate sized dahlias.

Surrounded by tennis ball sized dahlias with frosty white petal tips.

I loved the way the spigots were mounted on the outside wall.

Thunderclouds were building.
A weather warning was out for surrounding areas.
We didn't even get a drop of rain.

An over achieving hydrangea variety.
Why settle for one color per bush when you can have a rainbow of colors instead?
(I should have snooped to see if there was a name tag on this plant somewhere.)

Darkening skies...a classic summer storm scene.

I didn't see the Winery's sign until we were on the way out!
The drive back home was taken via a different route, or so it seemed to me.
I appreciated seeing Connecticut from the front seat with a great driver managing the road for us.
The perfect day ended as the ones before, with Sue and I enjoying time in the breezeway, with random fireworks still popping and fireflies flitting about outside.
To be continued....


ellen b. said...

lovely, lovely! Back roads are the best!

Lovella ♥ said...

Another amazing tour day. I can't help but feel this is your perfect holiday. So much to see, new friends to meet, delicious food and wine to taste and so many new things to learn about.
I did enjoy the clotheslines...thanks for those pictures. The photo of the house beside the winery is beautiful.
I couldn't help but think how we got away with taking our children camping each year.

Vee said...

Sue gave you the hundred dollar tour! Loved reading how these ladies met. Sounds almost as unique as meeting online. Beautiful home and thank you for tucking in those historical bits. Looking forward to the next installment!

Pondside said...

What a wonderful day it must have been. I'd have wanted to look at every last thing in that house and garden - what a story!