2012: New England

Leafing and Leaving

Oct. 15


Breakfast at Harbour House featured pumpkin pancakes. They were pretty good, I must admit. After breakfast, I foisted on Mike the duty of telling our hostess that we had decided to move on without staying a second night. Of course, we were obligated to pay for it anyway. $250 for toe-stubs and head-bumps and Trolls, oh my. A good ol' Yankee bargain.

We schlepped our shlopping - er, shopping bags past The Troll one last time and dumped everything unceremoniously in the back seat. One thing I really like about car-tripping is, you don't need to repack neatly for every move. A back seat can handle a lot of chaos. More than I can, certainly. I breathed a huge sigh of relief as Harbour House receded in the rear-view mirrors.

About twenty miles down the road was our first stop of the day: The Mount, the estate and former home of the author Edith Wharton. The mansion and gardens are now a museum open to the public, and the website convinced me it was worth a look. And it definitely was.

The grounds of the estate looked a little neglected, perhaps because of the season. But it was easy to imagine strolling these gardens in former glory days.

 Wharton's library.

Inside, the rooms were beautifully restored; we learned that much of the restoration had been completed quite recently.

The drawing room or parlor has an elaborate ceiling treatment, a 2002 recreation of the original. In Wharton's time the tapestries at either end of the room were from Brussels, circa 1710; these are reproductions, recreated from photographs of the originals.

My favorite room was the dining room, with its elaborate white trim. The garlands of fruits, birds, and fish adorning the walls look like woodcarvings, but they're actually made of plaster.

About an hour down the road, we ran across the Hotchkiss-Fyler House in Torrington, Connecticut. Unfortunately it was not open for tours that day, but the resident docent was on site doing research and allowed us a brief peek inside.

We dawdled down the country roads a bit more, snapping pics of churches and the few trees with colorful leaves.

Finally, though, we found ourselves on an interstate heading for the Big Apple. In about an hour, we were settling in to a motel in Tarrytown, NY. That night we ate at TGI Friday's. Rural New England was charming, but it felt comfortable to be back in suburbia.