Portrait of a Small Town: Harrisville

Perhaps the most special of all the New Hampshire small towns is Harrisville. Situated in the Monadnock Region of the state (which is special in general), it is a lovely old mill town right on a lake. It has a yarn shop which is quite fancy and esteemed, and a general store that makes some of the best food ever. Seriously. Most of the old mill buildings are converted to artist’s studios (sometimes they are open to the public). Harrisville doesn’t have to be a little place you stop to on the way to somewhere- you can make it a destination. Bring a kayak for the lake, take a poke around the yarn store (there’s a lot more in there besides yarn) and have an excellent meal at the store. Just a little stroll around town admiring the quaint houses is fun too.

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The Lake, Yarn from Harrisville Designs, and a fresh cider donut from the General Store: All in a day’s visit to Harrisville!

I like going to Harrisville in any season and (of course) my favorite thing is having lunch at the store. I mean, look at this food! They always have a  variety of fresh creative salads available, their decaf iced coffee is the tastiest ever, and the desserts just scrumptious (I will be forever craving that strawberry rhubarb pie!)

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The mill building in front of a sunrise; the village cozy under snow

Kayaking in Harrisville Pond is delightful. The Public Library is that little brick building right on the edge of the water! If you look closely, you might see a beaver swim on by 🙂

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I love going to Harrisville. Any season or time, it is always a joy to go there.

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Tuesday’s Inspiration: Wendell Berry

When I come across a poem I love, I will write it in my journal. “A Timbered Choir” by Wendell Berry is a poem I never want to forget. I think it is my all-time favorite poem if I had to chose one. Forgive my little scribbles and messy handwriting but I felt it more fun to share this way then to just type it out here. But if you really want to experience this poem, please scroll down to the link below to hear Berry read it for himself!

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Wendell Berry himself reads his beautiful poem in the video made by Laura Dunn posted in the link below. The video is the trailer for the film “Look & See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry”. The film itself is beautifully made and relaxing and an interesting portrait of the author and farmer’s life. Do have a listen to the trailer, you won’t regret it:

Look & See Trailer by Laura Dunn on Vimeo

After watching it, I am sure you understand why this poem has been echoing in my mind lately. The cadence of his voice and the powerful images in the video are captivating, important, real, and stopped me in my tracks. I’ve listened to his voice read “The Timbered Choir” over and over. I intend to read a lot more of Wendell Berry’s work.

Florence Griswold Museum

There is a little gem of a museum in historic Old Lyme, Connecticut. It’s called the Florence Griswold Museum and it’s home to artwork new and old, gorgeous gardens, and a lovely river view.img_9207

img_9203The Museum centers on the home of Miss Florence Griswold, who opened her big colonial home up as a boarding house to members of the Lyme Art Colony in the early 1900s. As you stroll through the lovely old house there is art work everywhere. Not only traditionally hung paintings, but also fun and unexpected little paintings on the walls and door panels. The artists would have competitions with each other to each paint in a certain style, say impressionism. They would have to paint the same subject on either side of the door panel. The result are whimsical paintings done in a free style on most of the houses’ doors.img_9139img_9149img_9176

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img_9147Across the flower gardens, the more modern Krieble gallery houses newer works of art. The day we went happened to be their Art in Bloom day- that was such an awesome surprise! The flower arrangements to match the works of art were some of the best I’ve seen. They really captured their assigned paintings.img_9121

After being thoroughly inspired from the various art and flora which fills the premises, definitely take a stroll down to the Lieutenant River. They have Adirondack chairs set up just waiting to be sat in.

img_9197img_9195There is also a beautiful little art studio in a cedar shake cottage right by the parking lot. Be sure to poke your head in there.

img_9219I felt thoroughly inspired and refreshed after my visit to the Florence Griswold Museum. How serendipitous to be there for art in bloom as well! You can find the museum off of Highway 95 in Old Lyme Connecticut. Enjoy your visit!

 

 

Tuesday’s Inspiration: Jan Mankes

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Jan Mankes

1917

 

This is how I felt on my walk today. It was a bit dreary. We are in the midst of the February doldrums. Despite the dreary vibe, this picture holds a certain beauty. I love the tones, and that background with the house sort of blurring into the trees. The bare branches of the tree and hedgerow. And the little flock of birds, reminding us to look around and notice things to be thankful for. I had to tell myself that today while I was out walking in fact. I was feeling a bit off and said in my head, “find something beautiful”. I looked up and noticed a stand of young birch trees. I focused on them and for a minute wasn’t focusing on my chilly ears, or tired body, or unsettled thoughts. It always helps to find and focus on the beauty. I found this painting on Pinterest a few weeks ago. It is a fitting image to share for Tuesday’s Inspiration.

Tuesday’s Inspiration: Lilla Cabot Perry

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Lilla Cabot Perry
The Silver Vase
1905

Isn’t she a beauty? I searched for paintings by this artist when I learned she had a summer home in Hancock, New Hampshire. There is also a small portrait of a child Perry painted on display at the Hancock Town Library which is captivating. I had to see more, so I searched for Perry’s works and found this one, The Silver Vase. Dressed in the colors of winter, I thought she was a fitting symbol of this January day.

Making this post led me to do a bit more research on Perry and what I found was delightful:

  • She had no formal art training until the age of 36
  • Though she was born in Boston, Massachusetts her family traveled widely and lived in various places around the globe, including Paris, Munich, and Japan which really influenced her painting styles and subjects through the years.
  • She saw a Claude Monet painting at age 41 (in 1889) and so admired it that her family rented a house in Giverny, France (where Monet resided) for 9 summers. Monet became her close friend and mentor – imagine!!
  • Monet encouraged Perry to “commit her first impression of a scene to canvas rather than to sketchbook” (Encyclopedia Britannica) – what a gorgeous thought.
  • Her later paintings are inspired by the landscapes around her summer home in Hancock, New Hampshire where she died and was laid to rest.

I found the bulleted information above on the National Museum of Women in the Arts website and the Encyclopedia Britannica website. What a fascinating woman! And how cool she had such a connection to Hancock, New Hampshire.

What is inspiring you this week? Do share

 

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Postcards from Paris

May 2008. A dream fulfilled: a trip to Paris with my best friend! Here are my favorite photos from our arrival day. I will periodically share subsequent days of the trip as I finish editing them. I took the photographs 10 years ago and am just now getting around to editing them! haha! I’m a major photo procrastinator. But I’m glad I waited in a way, as I can delete photos more easily and edit in a nostalgic style, which suits Paris. You must forgive the slightly grainy photo quality as these were taken with my first little 5 megapixel camera. Enjoy~fullsizeoutput_2ab4



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  • My first siting of the Arc D’triumph in our taxi from the airport.
  • The gorgeous architecture of the buildings (I was in awe) and the sights and smells of the open air food market near our hotel.
  • The Eiffel Tower! We went right up it- fantastic views!
  • Locals playing some bocce ball in the park near the tower.
  • The street view of Napoleon’s gold dome burial spot.
  • Wandering the streets in a light rain.
  • Enjoying a creme brĂ»lĂ©e for dessert.
  • The tower lit up at night from our hotel room’s balcony.

Looking back on these, I appreciate all the more what a beautiful city Paris is. I’m so thankful I was able to see it with my own eyes. I would love to visit again someday, along with the french countryside. More to come….

Tuesday’s Inspiration: Paul Gauguin

This is an old idea of mine, resurfaced: Tuesday’s Inspiration. On one of my long ago blog attempts, I used to post something simple every Tuesday- something meaningful, beautiful and inspiring. I want to get back to this practice in order to share with you some of the artworks and writings of others that I find most inspiring. I love the spread of inspiration! Have an excellent Tuesday my friends 🙂

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Kneeling Cow
Paul Gauguin
1888

I chose to share this favorite painting of mine, Kneeling Cow, as I think of it very often: every time I see a cow in fact. Cows generally aren’t called ‘beautiful’ however, this cow is, and has made me view all the cows I see as beautiful. Just look at the profile Gauguin captured! The shape of his sweet nose, his calm mouth, and knobby knees. I don’t know, this painting just gets me. Additionally, this week I’ve been reading an excellent homesteading book before bed: Ben Hewitt’s The Nourishing Homestead : One Back-to-the-Land Family’s Plan for Cultivating Soil, Skills, and Spirit. I just started the chapter on keeping animals, so again, Gauguin’s Kneeling Cow has been on my mind and heart.

What’s inspiring you today? Do share.

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