Baseball Hall of Fame, Concord Mass, Cooperstown, James Fenimore Cooper, Lexington Mass, Norman Rockwell, Shelburne Falls Mass, Stockbridge Mass
After Maine we stopped for a wonderful visit with our dear friends DeWitt & Paula DeLawter in Hingham Mass. Each time we come to this lovely OLD town we’re more and more impressed. Paula has the most civilized commute we know, about a 40 minute ferry ride into the heart of Boston, she can even have a glass of wine on the trip home! Hingham Massachusetts, on the South Shore, was incorporated in 1635 and is chock-a-block full of wonderful old homes tucked in amongst trees so thick many houses are hidden from their immediate neighbors. There is still a true New England small town feel to this delightful place, lovely walks to be had and lots of good restaurants to enjoy. We recommend a visit, oh and when you fall in love, after retirement DeWitt took up selling real estate 🙂
Saying our good-byes we headed out for Lexington and Concord to see where “the whole kerfluffle” started. Standing on the Lexington Common now know as the Battle Green, we remembered our elementary school lessons and as Emerson’s poem says “the shot heard ‘round the world”.
Advancing in a much more relaxed fashion than those men long ago, we moved on to Concord and the Old North Bridge where the colonial militiamen and the British regulars actually sort of stumbled into the beginning of our war of independence. The rest as they say is history.
For years Ed has wanted to see the Berkshires in western Mass and so even though our weather was not cooperating for a drive in these beautiful mountains
and small towns, we headed out Rt. 2 for Shelburne Falls and Buckland. These charming towns where several movies have been shot, sit on the Deerfield River. A trolley bridge over the river connects the two communities. In 1927 the company who owned the bridge went bankrupt and it was soon a mess of weeds and neglect that couldn’t be torn down due to cost and the waterlines it carried. A Mrs. Antoinette Burnham had an idea, and with the sponsorship of the Shelburne Falls Women’s Club and all donated labor, the Bridge of Flowers was begun the spring of 1929.
Still maintained by the women’s club with donated labor and love this delightful garden is a wonderful example of imagination, cooperation and goodness.
On to Stockbridge and a nice B&B, The Inn at Stockbridge (RV parks were closed for the winter) we wanted to see the Norman Rockwell Museum. From an early age, just like Wyeth (see previous post) Rockwell’s paintings on each cover of the Saturday Evening Post enthralled me. Each told a clear story with perfection and humor. Lined up in rows three covers high and around three walls are 323 original tear sheet covers done from 1916 to 1963. Not only was it a delight to look at each painting but we both had a blast seeing who wrote which article about whom and the authors (C.S. Forester’s “Horatio Hornblower” stories for example) serializing their stories in the S.E.P. What a walk through history! The post covers are just the beginning of the Rockwell artwork here. Absolutely put this place on your MVL (Must Visit List).
We also visited Edith Wharton’s home The Mount and while impressed with the woman her home was a bit of a disappointment. It had next to nothing of hers in it and was only lightly decorated with some period pieces. It did however inspire me to read some of her books, well at least put them on my reading list. We do however recommend two restaurants in Stockbridge, Once Upon A Table and The Red Lion Inn.
With the weather still rainy and grey next stop was Cooperstown, New York for one of Ed’s MVL places, The Baseball Hall of Fame, and I have to admit, especially if you love the game, this should be on your MVL too!
I had seen on the internet that the Fenimore Museum was also in Cooperstown and suggested we go there too. It suddenly dawned on me as we parked in front of this large and lovely old home, now museum, that the name of it, in a place in New York called Cooperstown had to mean there was a “James” somewhere in there…..sure enough the home is built on the site of James Fenimore Copper’s farmhouse. This is an excellent museum and for me the best part is the Eugene and Clare Thaw Collection of American Indian Art. Consisting of almost 850 items this collection makes the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. pale in comparison. It is amazing! Put it on your MVL!
Last stop in New York was another place Ed’s wanted to go for years, the George Eastman House/Museum in Rochester. Located in a gorgeous part of town with huge wonderful houses on wide streets the collection of photographs and camera’s showing the history of photography is excellent. Oh, and when you go do it in the right order…counter-clockwise, oldest to newest… makes you appreciate the advancement much more 🙂 and so many seemed to go the other way around! There was also a 4 room exhibit of the work of Alvin Langdon Coburn from the late 1800”s to early 1900’s. We’d never heard of him which was almost our loss. Wonderful photographs! Put him and the Eastman House on your MVL!
Sorry for the long post, we did a lot in a short time frame and this doesn’t even cover the fun story of discovering Ed’s great, great, great, great grandparents Ziba & Lucy Newland’s graves, home and history in the small town of Hartwick just outside of Cooperstown! Life’s an adventure!!