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They predicted snow....
but not a 50 year record blizzard! I grew up in Pennsylvania but it has been 40 years since I got to play in snow like this and it was spectacular.
On my trip I have been using an app called Pinbox. During the months of research prior to embarking on this journey I started putting pins in each location that I might want to visit and the app allows you to associate information like website/contact info/notes etc. As I am about to go to an area of the country I start digging in deeper to the sites I have pinned and do additional research to see if there are additional sites I missed. I then typically call or write letters to those places and try to set up a visit. Sometimes its months in advance and sometimes just a few days. Scheduling a multi-month journey can be a bit of a house of cards as you want to be far enough out to be assured of a convenient visit time but not too far out that I schedule myself into a bind if my plans or timing change.
As I started week six I was leaving Buffalo and I decided to head to Central NY and specifically a place intriguingly named The Horned Dorset Colony located in the tiny village of Leonardsville. The 40 year dream of a writer, painter, and musician who have assembled an amazing cohort of lovingly restored structures anchored by the famed Horned Dorset Inn and Restaurant to create a singular environment to encourage artistic cross pollination. The inn and restaurant preceded the colony and indeed their world class French Cuisine by chef Aaron Wratten attracts clientele from 100 miles away. With little more than 24 hours notice and without knowing me from Adam, Roberta, Kingsley, and Harold welcomed me like family and installed me in "the library cabin" complete with a 10,000+ volume library and a beautifully restored and incredibly luxurious suite of my own.
My planned day long visit turned into four when we were completely snowed in with the storm of the century. I got to know my hosts and their dogs, the history of the colony, helped shovel their driveway, and did I mention that the aforementioned chef is their son and he and Harold took turns cooking the most amazing meals ever for us? I was praying for the snowplow not to come.
Kinglsey was really taken with this photo I made of one of their trays in the dining room with just the right light.
All of the "cabins" are meticulously restored with antique salvage from the area and the 3 directors do almost all of the work themselves. It is almost unbelievable. They tell me they have trouble prying writers out of the "Falls House" which they use for writers and poets.
After four days my hosts helped me dig my car out and I was very sad to say goodbye. I definitely will be back.
I headed next to a residency program near Ithaca call the Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts and it really struck a cord with me about legacy. Connie was a photographer who died of cancer way too young at 49 and decided just before her death that she wanted to endow a residency program for New York artists on her 200 acres of land in the Finger Lakes area of NY. Each session of the summer juried residency has one photographer, one writer, one poet, and two other visual artists. There are 5 discipline specific studios and lodgings on the campus. In an unusual model these facilities are available the rest of the year on a first come first served basis for only 25$ a day to allow any NY artist to have uninterrupted time to do their work.
I immediately connected with the wonderful Executive Director Lesley Williamson and we had a lengthy and very helpful conversation about their program.
She also generously allowed me to stay the night in Connie's room in the house she built on the site. I love this self portrait that hangs in the entry.
After six weeks solo on the road I was pining for some family time so we organized a little reunion with my two sisters Barb and Ann and their husbands and my wife Ellen in Carlisle, PA where Barb lives. Just before I left I got an email out of the blue from a high school friend I hadn't spoken to in 40 years telling me he had just bought our childhood home and so we organized a wonderful walk down memory lane and visited together as a family. We also went to the land in Perry County PA where my parents lived for decades and we shared so many memories.
I found this on the tack board in Connie Saltonstall's bedroom. Connie yours already has.