Friday, September 7, 2012

Thursday is "Mansion Day"

It didn't seem like I was going at break-neck pace, so why am I looking for a laid-back sort of day today?

It's Thursday morning and even though I had good intentions of getting out for another run in the morning, my brain was telling me otherwise.  I thought of all sorts of excuses, and those excuses won out.

So I took my dear sweet time getting up and dressed, and then I walked down to the center of town to have breakfast at the intriguing little place called Up For Breakfast.  The name of this little cafe is a cute double-entendre, since its on the second floor over a shop, and you get there up an exterior flight of stairs.

I knew I was going to like this place the moment I walked in.  It's small and cozy, with a few tables and booths.  The interior is L-shaped as the seating area wraps around the little open kitchen.  There's a counter with stools around the corner and it's here that I sat, where I could watch the action in the kitchen and still see the dining room.  I ordered a cup of de-caf coffee while I checked out the menu, and it was only then that I saw the maple latte's and cappucinos on the menu.  Well darn!  I've gotta try one of those!

I ordered a"morning glory" muffin, which was heavy with carrots, raisins and possibly other fruit - sort of a "carrot cake on a binge" kind of muffin.  It was excellent!  Then I had some Greek yogurt with honey drizzled on top, and finished it off with a side order of maple-smoked sausage links.  Mmm-mmm!!

Back at the motel and into the car, I headed south of town a little ways to Hildene, the summer home of Robert Todd Lincoln and his family.  Lincoln built this home when he was president of the Pullman Palace Car Company, and used it as his family's summer retreat. 

As I drove up the long gravel approach road, the home came into view, so I stopped and took a photo of the home from that perspective.  This is no doubt what visitors saw as they approached the home by carriage or, later, by motorcar.  

I continued on to the parking lot and then, entry fee paid, watched the short film and then walked outside and up the hill toward the home.

It's really a beautiful house, and many of the furnishings are still original.  What was interesting was how Lincoln's granddaughter gave away much of the furnishings and accessories and how many of them have been slowly making their way back to the home through donations and gifts.

Inside the home, I was greeted by a docent who gave an excellent guided tour of the home.  I always prefer being given a guided tour, since they always know so much detail and trivia about the home that I would never learn if left on my own to wander about.  Others who initially turned down his offer of the tour soon joined us anyway.

Photos were not allowed inside the home, so I have nothing but my visual memories of the interior. 
The house is situated on the land to take full advantage of the views.  I thoroughly enjoyed this leisurely tour and afterward, I stepped out back to stroll through the formal garden and take a few photos. 

This is a working farm as well, and even today their products are sold to support the foundation, products such as honey and goats milk products.  The bees were giving the flowers in the formal gardens a good working over:

Big, beautiful butterflies were everywhere.  I caught a Monarch butterfly as it landed on a cone flower:

I walked up to the top of the ridge, where an observatory sits, and took a peek inside at the telescope with attached wooden semi-reclining chair, looking a little primitive by today's standards.

After buying a couple of books at the gift shop, I dropped them off at my car and then walked across the parking lot to the path that took me to a fully restored Pullman car, named "Sunbeam."   The trustees of Hildene had long wanted to acquire a Pullman car to put on the property and in 2007 they found a car and brought it up to Manchester.  The interior is fabulously returned to its opulent richness!  I could just imagine what it must have been like to travel this way in the comfort of one's own private car. 

Very nice way to spend the morning!

I stopped at the post office to buy stamps and then at Zoey's Deli to pick up a sandwich to go.  A nice lunch sitting outside next to my room at the motel and I was pretty much done for the day, as evidenced by the fact that I apparently fell asleep reading my Kindle and woke up an hour later!

Tomorrow is Friday and I'll take it easy, stay off my feet as much as possible, and then the pre-race dinner and get-together at The Perfect Wife restaurant on Friday evening.

1 comment:

  1. Great pictures. Hard to think of a masion that size being just a 'summer home.'

    The bees are enjoying a Sedum Autum Joy it looks like. Our seed heads are just now starting to turn red and the bees can't get enough of them.

    The butterflies are beautiful with the cone flowers too.

    Good luck on the run tomorrow.