New York is a beautiful state. Since we live and work in New York City, it’s easy to forget that New York is a large and prosperous state with a lot of *trees* and acres that aren’t overpopulated, crowded, or full of cement and bodegas. This weekend I’m headed to Rhinebeck, which is about two hours north. The Metro North train, which leaves from Grand Central, goes to Poughkeepsie. This time of year, it looks like this:
The Rhinebeck area was one of the early parts of greater-metropolitan New York to be suburbanized. Nearby Newburgh, NY was the hometown of one of the famous nineteenth-century tastemakers, Andrew Jackson Downing.
This man was a writer, domestic theorist, horticulturist, and architect from the 1830s until his death in 1852. He was an early proponent of the park that became Central Park, he helped design the original landscaping for the White House, and he wrote extensively about what homes should be and do for their residents. At the same time, he maintained a thriving architectural practice in his hometown of Newburgh.
The charming town of Rhinebeck sports many examples of his favored “cottage” architecture. This one is on route 9, near the center of town:
The FIT library has a two of the famous books Downing published, which talk extensively about his ideals.
The architecture of country houses; including designs for cottages, and farmhouses, and villas, with remarks on interiors, furniture, and the best modes of warming and ventilating
5th Floor, Main Stacks: NA7561 .D75 1969
5th Floor, Main Stacks: NA7561 .D8 1981
There are a lot of excellent reasons to head up the Hudson River Valley on an October weekend, but the one I’m working with is this:
I admit: the idea of spending a day out of doors, when the weather will be a bit chilly on my face, but my sweater will be cosy and the leaves will be brightly colored makes me all excited. And the best part is that farm after farm after hand-dying mill after small family-owned business will be represented with beautiful fibers and in wonderful colors and textures. And alpacas and bunnies are CUUUTTTEE!!
Sheep aren’t bad, either. If it interests folks, I’ll post pictures of them, too, on Monday. (OK, I confess I couldn’t wait until Monday!) But I confess I’m going to feed my creative brain with colors and textures. And spend some time out of doors with my friends.
Just in case you decide to go (many yarn shops in the city are organizing bus trips straight to the fair from the Poughkeepsie train station), the library’s knitting books are all on 5 Main, in the TT 820 section.
That’s a productive way to put off your work, right? And you need color inspiration anyway…