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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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June 14, 2014

From Massachusetts

It's Saturday morning and I'll be leaving Tuesday morning after arriving a week ago Thursday, and I haven't posted a peep!  That's probably because I've been having such a nice visit with my sister and her husband.  I don't know how two people can talk so much (and probably Larry wonders about it too) but Virginia and I seem never to stop!

We've had one sightseeing outing and the rest of the time has been spent talking, eating, and poking around in various shops.  I always think "gee, I could easily live here" cause this time of year especially they have so much fresh produce everywhere.  I can't count how many "asparagus for sale" signs I've seen along the roads and strawberries are coming in, there are fresh eggs everywhere...it's really wonderful.  Virginia told me there are plans afoot apparently to upgrade Amtrak service between Washington, DC, New York and whatever station it is that serves this area and that made me think even a little more seriously about it since I'd have easier access to my kiddies.  But then this morning I suddenly thought "what about the winters???"  So, no moves yet. :)

Anyway, our sightseeing trip was to Ventfort Hall in Lenox, MA.  This was considered a "summer cottage" with 15 bedrooms, 17 fireplaces, numerous bathrooms, a bowling alley in the basement, and LOTS of square feet (152 ft x 65 ft).  The house has a long and interesting history but finally ended up as many others have in a state of bad disrepair.  A developer purchased it with the intention of tearing it down (of course) but local residents started an effort to save it and were successful.  Renovation work is still in progress but the portions of the house that are finished and learning the history of the house make for a very enjoyable tour.  If you would like to read more of the history of the house, visit http://gildedage.org/history/ where you can also learn more about current restoration efforts.

I didn't take very many pictures because there was a lot of house to see and the poor girl who was doing the tour had one hour only to show and tell us everything she wanted to tell us.  She did a great job too. The first two are the front view of the house from the drive and an incredible tree that is in front of the house.

And I know I  took several pictures of the interior but they're sure not in my phone which is what I had to take these pics with - I forgot my camera - and I have no idea how I managed to erase them without knowing it.  So the next one is the only interior shot I have.  It is the bedroom of Mrs. Morgan and is the one room in the house that they have been able to furnish as near as possible to photos of the original room.  It was a very light and feminine room after all the heavy dark wood ceilings, moldings, floors, etc.  I especially liked the fireplace in the niche with the mirror surround.

And the next two are taken from the bottom of the backyard waaayyyy down from the house (I cropped out a lot of the lawn).  The back verandah/porch is as long as the main house - the end portion on the right were the kitchens, butler room, etc.
These facades (or whatever would be the proper name for them) were really pretty I thought.  The brick also made the house lovely - a very rosy red against which the darker stone trim contrasted beautifully.

In one of the downstairs rooms there is a permanent exhibit of sixty 29-inch tall "Victorian Ladies" - not to be called dolls but I seemed to keep calling them that.  They were fantastic.  Each one was designed and dressed by John R. Burbridge who was the head designer for Priscilla of Boston which, when I was a teenager dreaming through bridal magazines with my best friend, was very much what we wanted for our weddings.  There were wedding dresses, mourning dresses, afternoon dresses, many ball gowns - just a beautiful assortment of styles and fabrics which really gave you a great impression of how ladies dressed then.  Unfortunately no photos were allowed and they only had two printed on postcards and the picture below was my favorite of the two:
Isn't she lovely?  The description says "leg-of-mutton sleeves and a full, thirteen-gored skirt in contrast to the wasp waist.  Crisp silk taffeta of aqua and cream stripes, touches of soft-rose faille, and the bolero jacket of Irish lace add to the summer effect."  Sure beats a Barbie doll!!

So that was our sightseeing excursion and a very pleasant one, as always.  I have another excursion to post about our garden tour on Saturday.  And looking at my watch, my daughter January should be landing soon in Washington, DC after her long flight home from Germany.  Hi, January!!


Christopher said...

Huh! What a house; and one gilded age one I'd not heard of before... Love all the protruding window bays.

Diane Adams said...

What a gorgeous house! Loved seeing your pics.

Elga said...

Oh, this is a wonderful house Mary Lynne, thanks for sharing!

Elga said...

Oh, thanks for sharing Mary Lynne, that is a beautiful house, mansion seems to be the right word for it though!

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