After a delicious breakfast at Mike and Carol's in Cromwell, CT because of their encouragement we toured Mark Twain's home in Hartford, CT. Twain and his family lived in this impressive Victorian Gothic architecture from 1874 to 1891. It cost $45,000 to build. Mrs. Twain spent $60,000 to decorate it.
Entering the home I was blown away. The walls are stenciled to look like mother of pearl inlay. Just beautiful. The 3 floored open staircase in the entry room is awesome. Only room with wallpaper on the first floor is the dining room. It had five layers of paint to make it look like leather. The parlor, dining room and grand library are so impressive. Extra tall ceilings and heavy dark woodwork gave it very rich feeling.
The outside front deck resembles a boat deck. Twain loved being a riverboat pilot. The bricks on the exterior were turned on an angle to create an interesting design. We were not allowed to take photos inside. Mrs. Twain found a beautiful bedstead with wooden carved angels in Europe she thought was rare. When Twain discovered it was not rare, he reversed the sleeping pattern. He put their pillows at the foot of the bed so he could LOOK at the angels. It was an impressive bed. Twain insisted on having a billiard room. It is on the third floor and was also his office where he did his writing. The docent was knowledgeable. Not only did we have a tour of the house but great insights into the Twain family life.
A Ken Burn's video of the life of Mark Twain gave us more insights to "America's most loved author."
The Norman Rockwell studio in Stockbridge, MA.
Once again we learned so much from a very informative docent. This is Rockwell studio.
He used a milk glass palette. He was meticulous in cleaning his brushes at the end of the day. He was extremely neat.
His first cover for Saturday Evening Post. At that time only 3 colors were used. Red, black and white.
He loved to portray humorous situation especially of children's lives.
In 1926 4 colors were used for the Saturday Evening Post covers.
He was asked to do a poster for the Song Of Bernadette movie.
At the time of WW II he created "Four Freedoms" for support of the war effort. This is Freedom from Want.
Freedom from Fear
Freedom to Worship
Freedom of Speech
Room with the Saturday Evening Post covers on display.
There also was a video about Rockwell to watch.
He fashioned Rosie the Riveter after one of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel angels but he also gave her polished nails and a lacy hanky.
He had a sense of humor. The student has a directory of the paintings. Rockwell made the lady flirtatious instead of prim and proper.
A lot playful things in this self portrait.
He made a strong statement with this painting. It was not for Saturday Evening Post. All those covers were noncontroversial.
The home he lived in. The grounds were so welcoming, quiet, restful and another beautiful sunny day.
Ahhh, but time to hit the road. We drove to Syracuse and stayed overnight in a Pilot station overnight. We originally thought we would drive another 20 miles. But when we saw a young deer at the edge of the highway we realized it was better to stop early.
On the Road Again Saturday Sept. 1 at 6:35 am and driving and driving and driving. We drove 700 miles and reached home before 6 pm.
Whew!!!! What an incredible trip. So many impressive sites, learned so much and met many kind, wonderful and fun looking people. Hope you enjoyed our trip as much as we did.
Location:Hartford, CT, Stockbridge, MA, NY, PA, OH, IN & IL