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Posts Tagged ‘Writer’s homes’

It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.   Herman Melville

Arrowhead

Melville’s second floor study is directly over the piazza (porch – but I had to say “piazza” because that’s what he called it, and it’s the title of his short story collection, The Piazza Tales, written here).  It’s truly awe-inspiring to stand in the room  where he wrote Moby Dick, dedicated to Mount Greylock, which can be seen in the distance from the study window. Melville had his most productive literary years here, although, sadly,  he never got the recognition he deserved.  Ultimately, debt forced him to sell this beloved farmhouse and move back to New York City, where he worked as a customs inspector for 20 years. So, it’s rather poignant walking through his home, thinking about how he never knew the impact his writing would have on the world.  But, I’m going to prefer to think of him, out in the barn in back of the house, talking about writing and books with his friend and neighbor here,  Nathaniel Hawthorne.  Oh, to be a fly on the wall.

 

We also visited the grandly named, Berkshire Athenaeum, which is now just an ordinary public library in downtown Pittsfield, but which houses an extraordinary collection of Melville artifacts.

And we ended the day at the Old Forge , a rustic and always BUSY restaurant in Lanesboro, near where we’re staying at the Hidden Valley Campground.  We discovered that when you’re eating a dozen chicken wings, and bread and salad bar, and drinking beer, you don’t need an entire steak dinner to boot!  But, all delicious – and now we have leftovers.

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Stone House Museum – Home of Robert Frost, Bennington, VT

Extensive exhibit on Frost family history, and wonderful room dedicated to the poem, “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening”.  Robert Frost wrote it on the dining room table here, on a hot June morning in 1922!  Interesting analysis and fun parodies line the walls.

And we never did make any decisions about what road/path to take on the hiking trail, since we were warned by the woman who sold us our tickets that there were too many Lyme disease-spreading ticks out there.

So, on to the highly acclaimed art museum, The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute (The Clark) in Williamstown. Our favorite part was a result of their limited exhibition space due to current renovation – a room chock-full of amazing paintings, practically floor-to-ceiling, salon-style, so that when you first walk in, it’s hard to focus. And then to get your breath! There’s George Washington by Gilbert Stuart, and oh, my goodness,  a Remington, Renoir, Degas, Homer, the list goes on and on – all hanging in close proximity, so many different periods and styles – it’s a delicious painting smorgasbord!  To add to the fun, there are free iPads with earbuds available, so that you can choose any painting and get more description, in text, audio, or video.

For dessert we went to the Williams College Museum of Art  (free) – a fine collection, with an innovative and interesting presentation, on a beautiful campus.

Williams College Museum of Art

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