Monday, August 21, 2017

Sonnenberg Garden Cooperstown and another cider mill

The Sonnenberg Garden is beautiful. My photos do not in any way do it justice.

Sonnenberg is the former summer home of Frederick Ferris and Mary Clark Thompson. He was a NYC banker (think Citibank and JP Morgan Chase) and she the daughter of NY State Governor Myron H. Clark.

In 1863 the purchased a 300 acre farm named Sonnenberg (Sunny Hill) near Canandaigua Lake for their summer home. He died in 1899 and she turned the estate into the show place it is today

She traveled the world looking at gardens and she came home to create the gardens on the estate between 1902 and 1919.

In 1972, after years of neglect, the property was turned into a non profit and restoration began.  In 2006 it was purchased by the state.

My favorite story I heard was that Mrs Thompson requested that if someone wanted to bring a house gift when coming to visit she asked that they bring a tree. So the grounds are full of all different types of trees from all over the world.

I even love the fence!

When I walked up to the ticket booth and saw the green houses in the background and this garden, I thought it might be a waste of time - not - it was amazing. They are slowly restoring the estate.

This was an iron gazebo that has collapsed.

The Japanese Garden is said to be the first in the country. She imported a Japanese landscape architect  - my photos don't look like much but it was beautiful.

Very much worth a visit.

MacKenzie Childs studio. I stopped here on my way by, have been here before.

Of course I didn't try to take any photos in the shop but I used the bathroom and shot it! All the color you see is their tile.

I wish I had some peoples way with words. I can't always think of how to express how I feel. I so admire song writers and writers in general. That's why I quote people a lot!

The latest thing a friend just put into words for me is the fact I'm happiest when I have a vista to look at. The water, the mountains, a valley, a field, doesn't really matter what it is as long as I can see a long way. When she said "I need a vista", I thought to myself, wow, that's me, I never could put my finger on it before!

The vista from MacKenzie Childs.

I wasn't even going to mention that I visited MacKenzie Child studio because I have not been happy with some of their business practices in the past. I will say they are at lease making their original line in their studio in NY (not off shore). So the reason I decided to mention it is that in the next town I saw this beautiful house with garden and they had about 15 MacKenzie Child birdhouses hanging on their porch.

Next up - a Cider Mill - I can never pass one up.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Canada, Buffalo and Along the Erie Canal

I promise I'll be talking about art again soon!

But right now having fun exploring for another week.

I took the short cut through Canada on my way to NYC.

I crossed the Ambassador Bridge into Canada - be sure to take your passport! When growing up all you needed was a drivers license - but times have changed.

Sunflowers for as far as I could see. Lots of wineries, big tall green houses for growing every vegetable there is and strawberries and other fruit. They produce all through the winter.

I stopped at Niagara Falls, it's been about 30 years since I've been there. The Falls look the same of course but the flowers are more beautiful than ever - this trip seems to be a lot about the flowers! 

I still wonder how there is so much water going over year after year and it doesn't run out, where does it all come from? And just what is the Niagara escarpment?  It is a long ridge of rock cliff that runs from New York across the top of Michigan and into Wisconsin. And it seems that the US and Canada control how much water goes over the falls at any particular time - technology!

I stayed on Grand Island for the night then drove to Lockport.

Ancestors on both sides of my family worked on the Erie Canal and were early settlers of Ohio. It's fascinating to me that both sides were in the same small towns in Connecticut  in the early 1700's. Then to have my Mom and Dad marry some 250 years later.

I've always been interested in transportation - railroads, canals, air, and automobiles.

My interest in railroads started with railroad architecture, then while admiring the depots I saw the locomotives so started drawing them too. The canal boats, the locks, the buildings along the canals are also fascinating to me.

The original canal was four feet deep and 40 feet wide cut through fields, forests, rocks, swamps, crossed rivers on aqueducts and went up hills with 83 lift locks. Most of the people building the canal were US born and it took eight years to build. 

The Erie Canalway National Park was established in 2000 and stretches 524 miles across upstate New York.

The first or last locks, depending on which way you are going, are in Lockport. I took a boat ride and went through locks 34 and 35. When originally dug there were many more locks but through the years they have been replaced with larger ones.

I loved seeing the 5 locks to the right of of 34 and 35. "Lockport’s staircase of five locks, ascending a height of 60 feet within a distance of only 550 feet, is one of the best-preserved structures remaining from the Enlarged Erie era." When built there were 5 locks on the left and 5 on the right. As boats got bigger the ones on the left were replaced by 2 larger locks.

I made a quick stop in Rochester and liked these light poles with mosaics.

And I saw lots of neat houses with flowers. I love flowers but what I REALLY love is flowers combined with architecture or structures, like walls, sculpture, fences.

As I went further east I saw many other locks and also stopped at the Canal Museum in Syracuse. Interesting to note, one of the buildings is an the original Weighlock Building. This was used to weigh boats as they went by. It turns out that the canal brought a lot of growth to Syracuse and a second canal was dug to the north and the original part of the canal that went through downtown Syracuse was filled in. 

The next day I went to an amazing place - The Sonnenberg Garden. That will be in my next post!

The journey continues

I reluctantly left my great hosts at their beautiful lakeside cabin. I had the most amazing time! I could not have chosen a more peaceful place and great hosts to spend my first weeks of semi retirement!

I headed north to one of my favorite childhood towns Harbor Springs to spend the night with a friend at her cottage on Harbor Point.

 What a place! No cars, there is a buggy taxi cab to deliver you to your cottage. It comes by the cottage every half hour.

The cottages on this point are beautiful and of course I like the flowers the best.

The cottage I stayed in had an amazing view of the Harbor from the back porch and Lake Michigan from the front porch.

More neighborhood flowers.

The season in Michigan is very sort so the flowers pretty much bloom all at once and they have to do it fast!

Stopped in Petoskey another favorite.

Lake Michigan

Then off to St Helens.

There we rode on trails through the woods and spotted over 20 deer and two large owls!

I'll soon be posting the small paintings I've been working on for my 2018 calendar.