Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Rocking Chair

It is rare to see a classic New England home that does not have at least one rocking chair. They are in so many ways perfect - easy to anthropomorphize as low-key, friendly, and selfless.

Rocking chairs are almost always the first choice for guests.  This includes the old and the young, each of whom seem to appreciate the ability to both move and feel some weightlessness for different reasons. Rocking chairs might be in the same strata as good kitchen smells and visible toys for children in making a house inviting.

For Colder Weather

Although their origins are somewhat in question, (the Benjamin Franklin myth has been pretty thoroughly debunked), some think the first rocker was made in the northeast while others say it was the Windsor Rocker, made in England in 1725.  Wicker showed up shortly after that (in the eighteenth century), the Adirondack Rocker in the early 1800s, and the Boston Rocker around 1840.  Rocking chairs have historically been reserved for the elders and heads of a family.

 The Presidential Rocker (often called the Kennedy Rocker) may be the most comfortable rocking chair made.

L.L. Bean still sells it in their Home Store in Freeport – still made in the US - at what is a reasonable $299.99. 

A true Carolina Rocker has this stamp underneath the arm.

Then there are the requisite, sometimes impractical, school chairs  (Still made in Gardner, Massachusetts  today at Standard Chair).
Like so many perfect things, rocking chairs can easily be forgotten. But their low-key contribution to the quality of one's life is always appreciated.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Preppy Trivia Question: What was the first store to carry Vera Bradley and Vineyard Vines?

I had asked this trivia question:
Q: What was the first store in the country to carry Vera Bradley?  It was also the first store to carry Vineyard Vines.

Thank you to everyone who responded.  Here is the answer:
A: The Fligors of Edgartown.

Responses of Murray's Toggery Shop in Edgartown are geospatially correct anyway.  Murray's occupied The Fligors' building from about 2001 to 2007 (Murray's originally had opened their Vineyard store 32 years ago in Vineyard Haven, before moving to Edgartown when their lease was up).

 Carol Fligor confirmed that their store had been the first to carry these two brands.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Circling overhead in search of a meal.
Even the most common birds are beautiful.

As with the ocean, a scene with birds is always changing.
1. Hawk dives into the pachysandra...

2. Hawk flies off...

3. ...with a snake for its young.

And sometimes they even look a bit ominous.

A hawk eyes the chicks.  
Birding takes one to some beautiful places.

Loons are in the salt water this time of year but when the warmer weather arrives they will be back and closely monitored by the volunteers at the Loon Center.

An  old Gokey briefcase now carries our birding supplies.

, Dave Parsons, the taxidermist at Yale's Peabody Museum in New Haven.

Although this one has seen better days, it now has its own charms.


Even Christmas stockings (for both humans and pets) reflect an avian love.

This time of the year, with the leaves gone, it is a great time to be on the look out for some larger birds.


And, even if all you see are "LBJs" (little brown jobs), you can't beat the views.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Walk Through New Haven, Connecticut

New Haven, Connecticut. is one of the most interesting New England cities with many places to visit and see.   It is dominated by Yale,  of course,  but is also one of the oldest cities. It was founded in 1638, led by puritans Davenport and Eaton.

The Yale Rep was started just a year before Long Wharf Theatre, and together they built New Haven's reputation for "serious" productions.

Louis Lunch advertises itself as home to the very first "hamburger sandwich" in 1900.
Chapel and College, the heart of New Haven.
The United Methodist Church (1849, by New Haven Native Henry Austin)
The New Haven Green is part of  a designated National Historic Landmark District,  still owned and maintained by the descendants of the original settlers.  
Center Church is one of the three on the New Haven Green. Center Church was built from 1812-1815, based on London church, St Martin-in-the-Fields, which was inspired by the works of Sir Christopher Wren.  
In true old Yankee fashion, the Congregationalists bickered and ended up splitting and building two different churches side by side, United and Center.

Yale Visitor Center (the Old Faculty Club)

 The Graduate Club.

 Yale's chapel, Battell Chapel (1874), is a Victorian Gothic brownstone which most agree is not terribly attractive, either inside or out. (What they needed was H.H. Richardson, who designed Trinity Church in Boston.)

One can not miss J. Press.
Wooster Street, arguably home to some of this country's best, authentic, Italian food also should not be missed.
The Very Famous Pepe's
They make outstanding pizza, as only those in New Haven can, and also have the longest peels.
While waiting for our pies, we went a few doors down.  If you want extraordinary Italian pastries, Libby's, since 1922, is the place to go. 

Just about anywhere else, these items would cost twice as much and be half as good.