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Friday, August 13, 2010

Back home, next city, next museum

I made it home pretty much fine last week. Only incident was that there were thunderstorms over Boston, apparently the first rain there'd been in weeks, and so we circled and eventually were diverted to Hartford to refuel. Making for a delay of about three hours, during which time Loring and Carolina were waiting at the airport.

After only a day and a half back home, decided it was time for another excursion. Loring and I flew in little 828 up to Burlington Vermont for a 24 hour visit. We stayead at the Bellaire Motel, a funky little place with bathroom tiles that looked identical to the ones in the kids' bathroom. And a very friendly owner. They had originally told me they had no rooms, but called back to say there had been a cancellation. They only had 12 rooms total. The only other guests we saw were two Harley biker couples from Quebec.

There were lots of Canadian tourists in Burlington, not suprising since it isn't that far to the border. It did feel strange to hear so much French back in the states. The Quebec accent is distintly different from Parisian French. I couldn't tell a difference in France between Parisian accents and those in Gannat, but I imagine there is one.

The main motivation in picking Burlington as a destination was that I have wanted to visit the Shelburne Museum for quite some time. (not enough museums the previous week, I guess!) I rembember going there many years ago with my family. Actually, I think what I remember is actually looking at photos of visiting the place, and particularly of Ken, Wendy, and I posing on a large gate. I don't remember seeing the gate this time, but then wsn't looking for it at the time.

It is an interesting an unusual place. It wss founded by a woman named Electra Webb. She began collecting Amearicana in the late 1800's I believe, including buildings that she relocated to the property, which belonged to her husband's family. Each building houses one or several kinds of items, glassware, toys, etc, etc. And there is a building that her children had built in her memory which features the interiors of several rooms in her familiy's Park Avenue mansion in NYC. Those interiors had been removed themselves previously from various European locations.

Her mother was a collector of Impressionist paintings, and also a friend of Mary Cassat, who advised her on art purchases. So there is an impressive collection of impressionist paintings there as well.

In Burlington, it happened to be the weekend of a street performers festival as well as a dragon boat race event that was a cancer fundraiser. So we managed to pack quite a lot into our short visit. We had supper at an outdoor cafe on the pedestrian street, church street, where many of the perfrormers were as well. And then breakfast, Sunday, at a neat little waterfront shack from where we could watch the ferry depart, and from where we also noticed the dragon boats.

A couple of interesting coincidences : a few days earlier, at Paris Plages, the annual faux beach festival along the Seine, I came across some huge outdoor beanbags chained to trees. I bought a chocolate crepe and ate in and read my Eiffel Tower murder mystery esconsed there. The next day, in a design store in Paris, I spotted a pile of the same chairs, called FatBoys. The ones at the Plages had all been the same electric green color. In the store they were a variety of vibrant colors.

Several days later, in Vermont at the Shelburne, there was among all the Americana, a home constrcted of several shipping containers. And what do you think was there, in one of the bedrooms? Two FatBoys!

Other coincidence: I mentioned Mary Cassatt, although I forgot to mention that in the entryway to the Memorial Building that housed rooms of furniture from Elecra's NY home, and also a number of Impressionist paintings, there was a lovely Cassatt of a mother and child, in her distinctive style. Well, turns out that was a portrait of Electra as a child with her mother. But here's the coincidence - next day, I was reading my very interesting account of the building of the Eiffel tower, and what does it mention but Mary Cassatt and her friend, Electra's mother. I think something's afoot here, although I don't know what. French trends, from beanbags to Impressionism. The beanbags, actually are made in Scandinavia. And, the book, which is called Eiffel's Tower, I highly recommend.

Ok, that's it for now, and perhaps for a while, until the next adventure beckons.

I am, thought, going to try to post some photos of Paris and of Gannat here. But for a more extensive view, check my fb page.

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