Football is as much my passion as it is Bill's so this Sunday is games and laundry per usual.
Temps overnight never get below 55, leading to a surprisingly warm Monday. Tessa and I spend the day in nearby Manchester running errands.
I find a wonderful groomer at Shampoodles who is finally able to get rid of the itchy skin Tessa's had since we got to New England. If you're in the area and doggie needs a "do", I highly recommend them.
I also learn that full service car washes do not exist here. I can drive through to wash and wax the exterior, but drying, vacuuming and interior cleaning is all self-serve. Very archaic!
Piper gets washed nonetheless, and doesn't look too bad for an amateur finishing the work.
My Chautauqua buddy, Joann, has been sending me information on great places to visit along our route. Greatly appreciated as we know so little about the area.
On the list is the Mark Twain House in Hartford and Tuesday is the day to visit.
Hartford is a big city! After so much time in small towns and villages, I'm surprised by the big buildings and busy downtown.
|A real city atmosphere|
The Mark Twain House includes a multi-story museum on the same grounds. Before touring the house where no photographs are allowed, Tessa and I check out the exhibits and the excellent movie. Once the most recognized man on earth, Samuel Clemons suffered a great deal of personal and financial tragedy in his life. The loss of two daughters and his beloved wife Lily, took their toll. He considered his move to Europe to be a seven year exile, never feeling at home until he returned to America.
|While we know his fictional master pieces, Mark Twain was also known during his life time as a brutal satirist and opinionated lecturer.|
|These trunks traveled to Europe and back with the Clemons' family. One of the few things we kept in storage is a trunk of Bill's that looks very much like the large one on the right.|
|I enjoy listening to several of Twain's earlier pieces on the headphones provided in this sitting area.|
|In Their Father's Image is a lovely exhibit dedicated to the Clemons' three daughters.|
|Clara is the only child to outlive her father. With her mother also passing many years earlier, she was the sole family guardian of Clemons' possessions as well as his image. A task that often caused her great frustration.|
|While Twain was on tour his daughters prepared a play from one of his short stories and "put it on" for him when he returned. The large photo shows the girls and their mother performing what he would later call "one of my greatest memories."|
|I have to include the life-size Lego Mark Twain. Have to.|
The grounds are being upgraded so there is little landscaping, but the home's exterior is nearly as beautiful as the interior.
|"To us, our house had a heart and a soul, and eyes to see us with; and approvals and solicitudes, and deep sympathies; it was of us, and we were in its confidence, and lived in its grace and in the peace of its benediction." - Mark Twain|
|The multiple chimneys are unique and stunning.|
Next door to the Twain House is the Harriet Beech Stowe Center, with a visitors' center, the Katherine Seymour Day House, and the Harriet Beecher Stowe House.
I take the short tour with three others. The docent loves Tessa, taking her leash so she can "see better". I'm lucky she left with me :-)
This is one of the best tours I've done. More than just being lead around a place being told interesting information about what I'm seeing, this is an interactive discussion about the impact of Uncle Tom's Cabin, of women daring to "speak out", of powerful literature.
|Her famous novel was inspired by Harriet's observation of a slave auction in Kentucky, and by the death of her infant son, giving her personal understanding of how the mothers felt who were sold away from their own children.|
|One of nine ornate fireplaces.|
|This beautiful clock is from Harriet's home and the chime at 2 o'clock has the sweetest tone.|
|My favorite piece here is the desk given to Harriet as a wedding gift, and where she penned the story of Tom, Topsy and little Eva. She also published 29 other novels.|
There is also a display of the bastardization of the story both on stage and in films. Seeing how the characters are portrayed in these it's not difficult to understand how "uncle tom" became a derogatory term. It's very sad considering the compassionate tale told by Harriet.
We do get a quick look inside Harriet's home, and like the Elizabeth Cady Stanton house in Seneca Falls, I feel very fortunate to stand in the same parlor where this strong, smart and brave woman also stood. It's even more poignant that they knew each other :-)
Harriet lived in the home from 1873 until her death in 1896. It changed owners several times before Seymour-Day purchased her great aunt's home in 1924 and lived there for forty years. She donated the home and it's neighbor to be used to preserve Beecher-Stowe's history.
I enjoy seeing these two homes together, appreciating the important stories these two authors made part of our nation's culture.
After our busy day in the city, Wednesday Tessa and I take a short drive in the country and spend some time walking around our pretty little park. It is still in the 80's.
|As the leaves reach their peak, some trees are already bare.|
|Our home in the forest|
|Nice sites along the small lake|
|Some of the brightest colors are just out our window.|
Tessa and I hang out at home until it's time to pick him up at the airport. We are both very happy to have him home!!