Green-Wood Gothic Revival Gate Entrance
Did you know that New York’s Central Park, an historic landmark, was designed based on the lay of the land of a cemetery? The Green-Wood Cemetery was founded in 1838 as a rural cemetery in Brooklyn, NY. It was granted National Historic Landmark status in 2006 by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Located in Greenwood Heights, it lies several blocks southwest of Prospect Park, between Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Borough Park, Kensington, and Sunset Park. Paul Goldberger in The New York Times, wrote that it was said “it is the ambition of the New Yorker to live upon the Fifth Avenue, to take his airings in the Park, and to sleep with his fathers in Green-Wood.
Inspired by Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where a cemetery in a naturalistic park-like landscape in the English manner was first established, Green-Wood was able to take advantage of the varied topography provided by glacial moraines. Battle Hill, the highest point in Brooklyn and built in 1838, is on cemetery grounds, rising approximately 200 feet above sea level. As such, there on that spot in 1920, was erected a Revolutionary War monument by Frederick Ruckstull, Altar to Liberty: Minerva. From this height, the bronze Minerva statue gazes towards The Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor.
The cemetery was the idea of Henry Evelyn Pierrepont, a Brooklyn social leader. It was a popular tourist attraction in the 1850s and was the place most famous New Yorkers who died during the second half of the nineteenth century were buried. It is still an operating cemetery with approximately 600,000 graves spread out over 478 acres (1.9 km²). The rolling hills and dales, several ponds and an on-site chapel provide an environment that still draws visitors.
Decorative Sylvan Water pond at the cemetery
There are several famous monuments located there, including a statue of DeWitt Clinton and a Civil War Memorial. During the Civil War, Green-Wood Cemetery created the “Soldiers’ Lot” for free veterans’
The gates were designed by Richard Upjohn in Gothic Revival style. The main entrance to the cemetery was built in 1861 of Belleville brownstone. The sculptured groups depicting biblical scenes from the New Testament are the work of John M. Moffitt. A Designated Landmarks of New York plaque was erected on it in 1958 by the New York Community Trust.
mausoleum Swiss chalet
Several wooden shelters were also built, including one in a Gothic Revival style,
Gothic Revival mausoleum
and another resembling a Swiss chalet. A descendent colony of monk parakeets that are believed to have escaped their containers while in transit now nests in the spires of the Gothic Revival gate, as well as other areas in Brooklyn.
Green-Wood has remained non-sectarian, but was generally considered a Christian burial place for white Anglo-Saxon Protestants of good repute. One early regulation was that no one executed for a crime, or even dying in jail, could be buried there. Although he died in the Ludlow Street Jail, the family of the infamous “Boss” Tweed managed to circumvent this rule.
The cemetery was declared a National Historic Landmark in 2006. In 1999, The Green-Wood Historic Fund, a not-for-profit institution, was created to continue preservation, beautification, educational programs and community outreach as the current “working cemetery” evolves into a Brooklyn cultural institution.
A piece of Egypt
Cemeteries are architectural landscape wonders. I took my interior design students to Green-Wood Cemetery to sketch the mausoleums. Some structures looked like cottages, some looked like palaces. I remember this one, fashioned after an Egyptian pyramid. I have sketched and painted cemetery landscapes. How about you, what do cemeteries mean to you? Do you like cemeteries?
Local red roof barn
Bennington, Brattleboro, Burlington, and then there’s Putney. You probably know what state these towns are in. The town we visited was Putney. Putney is anything but a sleepy town in Vermont. But, this town has no supermarket. I couldn’t believe it. What, where will we buy our food? How can I prepare our meals if there is no food, where’s the supermarket, or grocery store or something? No worries. Tucked away around a corner was their Co-op that calls itself a grocery store.
The popular Captain getting his garden ready to plant.
The Putney Co-op is a full service, community owned grocery store and deli. It’s been around for more than seventy years. You can buy all kinds of fresh food, grown locally, delicious baked good and hefty sandwiches. A little pricy, but everything is fresh. Then, of course, just in case you can’t get to the next town Brattleboro, with their supermarket, seven miles or so away, there are staples of all types. The General Store and Pharmacy has all kinds of necessaries and first aid items like peroxide and bandaids and tweezers to get out splinters. Here there’s a store called “Basketville,” and known, obviously, for it’s woven baskets. It also sells necessaries, and handmade rocking chairs. And candy. And rugs. And toothpaste. This is what the brochure says about Basketville. A landmark store . . . a browser’s paradise, vast and barnlike, full of handcrafted items for the home. You never know what you’ll find down the next aisle. Whatever you find, it’s probably a bargain. They pride themselves on outlet prices, workshop direct deals, and frequent specials. The international basket collection includes exotic new imports from Africa and Cambodia. The store is100% solar powered. We were amazed at the selections. Fun. The drugstore, within another store, the general store, and the co-op all think they are cafe’s. There are sit-down areas to eat, drink and socialize. It’s all very strange.
There’s even a waterfall in town. It’s mini, like everything else, but it is a waterfall. Makes noise like a waterfall, feels like a waterfall, smells like a waterfall. It’s even wonderful to stand nearby and feel the cool spray as it pours into the canal.
Private tennis court in the middle of nowhere.
For those of you who know, tennis has been part of my life, and Tom’s. Upon exploration, we found a private tennis court. There is enough land to grow several tennis courts, but this one was right near that red roof barn in the first image above, in the middle of nowhere. No, we didn’t invite ourselves. Perhaps, if we had our tennis racquets . . .
This trip to Putney, Vermont, was for a painting workshop for me. Since flowers are not always my first choice to paint, I opted for this workshop because the emphasis was flowers. You can figure that one out, can’t you?
Putney barn studio
Gail’s Pansy set-up
So here’s the interior of the Putney barn studio and flowers to select for our set-ups .
You are probably wondering where we hunkered down at the end of each intense workshop day. Our accommodations were right below this studio.
It was a busy week. There were seven of us, and our workshop leader standing in the middle of the studio, Stephanie Birdsall, an amazing artist and instructor. Google her if you want to know more about her work. We loved our workshop, and found new friends.
Gail’s Pansy oil painting 9×12 using set-up above
Putney barn exterior
In this barn, we had a lovely apartment on the first level just under the studio. It’s the first set of lower windows, We had a bedroom, full bathroom, sitting room, and full kitchen. Brand, spanking new, we were the first guests. It was comfortable, clean, lovely, and had full views of the vast landscape.
Here’s more images. Wonderful, not so sleepy town, Putney, Vermont. Do you have a favorite town in Vermont?
Gail’s Begonia set-up
Gail’s in-process Begonias using set-up above
Alligators, about four feet long, Hmm, maybe six feet for this one, with heads at least a third of their bodies, hang out on the edge of the waterways. They lay on the grassy lagoons basking in the sunlight. Tom and I were strolling by, shocked to see alligators in this place that is supposed to be a hotel/Inn on the bluffs of the Ashley River in South Carolina. I began to walk closer to get a good picture, but I felt a hand on my arm pull me back. “You don’t want to get too close, do you?” asked my hubby Tom. But as I persevered, the alligator picked up his head, and I jumped back. But like lightening, it was gone as it dropped into the water. They didn’t seem as though they were interested in eating us, or anyone else for that matter. At least no one has gone missing . . . yet.
On the bluffs of the Ashley River, The Inn at Middleton Place, is nestled amongst old pines and centuries old oak trees, trees that are at least eight-hundred years old, with a girth of thirty-three feet, and steps away from the country’s oldest landscaped gardens. It was like being in summer camp, in the South, where alligators prevail. A camp like no other I remember. There are no paved roads or walkways. What appears to be a dense forest at the edge of the river, climbs up to level walkway, I guess that would be called the bluffs.
The organization of the architecture is most unusual in its boxy appearance created by the tall walls of windows, divided by bold, dark grids in each bank of buildings. The buildings appear to be tall boxes juxtaposed to each other. I think the idea was to create an environment of informal elegance.
In the interior, the floor to ceiling windows bring into every room views of the pastoral woodland setting sweeping views over the meandering Ashley River, where the rice plantation culture, not the cotton culture that prevailed in the South, flourished more than 200 years ago.
The stable yard is fascinating. It’s filled with ducks, white geese, peacocks, chickens, roosters, milking cows and horses of all sorts. And soaking in a water pond, two water buffalo, one white, one black, hang out. They follow you with their eyes as you walk by and appear very serious about soaking in the pond. If you happen to be around the stables when they feed the chickens, all the birds come running. It’s hilarious to watch the feathered fellows gather and squawk within their clans, and push their way in to get their share.
The inn is on the property of the Middleton family’s 18th century plantation and is about thirteen miles northwest of Charleston. It feels very secluded, but just outside the property is busy US 61 with several condominium neighborhoods and the Magnolia Plantation just up the road. People from the wintery North are moving to the sunny South to escape the harsh winters. Hmm, tempting.
Middleton Place was established in 1741. Four generations of Middletons’ occupied the estate. Days after the fall of Charleston in 1865, the Main House and flanking buildings were ransacked and burned by a detachment of the 56th New York Regiment on February 22nd. The ground was strewn with books, paintings and other family treasures. William Middleton restored the South Flanker. What was left of the Main House and North Flanker toppled in the Earthquake of 1886.
The restored South Flanker survived and is a museum today. Middleton Place is a National Historic Landmark and home to America’s Oldest Landscaped Gardens visited by thousands.
According to the words of the ads, the inn offers guests a unique, hands on approach to experiencing the LowCountry of South Carolina. This secluded inn is the perfect place to reconnect with nature and history while being a short drive from the culture and beauty of historic Charleston. Ground tours include the Middleton Place Gardens, house Museum, and stable yards.
Rice Fields as they were in the 19th century
Within this luscious landscape, a five-star restaurant resides. We did indulge, why not? We were a captive audience, and who doesn’t enjoy good food? And drink of course. Plenty of wine choices and beverages of all kinds. Have you ever heard of a Bloody Mary and “sweep the kitchen”? It’s spiced tomato juice with veggies, and liquor of your choice or not.
Why not visit? Wouldn’t this place make a fascinating setting for your next book? Especially you history buffs?
Scroll down for a picture show.
Can you see the alligator near the water?
Biltmore keyhole roof
Christmas at The Biltmore House is unlike any other. When you are there it is 1895. Where can you go in this year of 2011 to experience life in 1895? The Biltmore House, of course, where candlelight Christmas is celebrated most every evening throughout the holiday season, starting just before Thanksgiving. Presented as though the Vanderbilt family were our hosts. We spent three nights at the Inn at Biltmore on the grounds of the estate and enjoyed tea in the afternoon, lunch at the Bistro, dinner in the dining room. Five star accommodations, five star food, five star grounds.
Gargoyle without water spout
"The Grounds" designed in 1895 by Frederick Law Olmsted, Landscape Designer of Central Park, NYC
The landscape was designed in 1895 by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed Central Park in New York City.
Olmsted described Biltmore Estate as “The most distinguished private place.”
Below is my photo of our breathtaking, spectacular view from our room. Olmsted’s design, with a mountainous backdrop. It was mesmerizing.
Tom Claus & Gail Ingis Claus in the library lounge
Tom and I were dwarfed by the mantle in the library lounge.
Dining room fireplace
Below are images of Biltmore Christmas.
- Christmas Biltmore shoppe decor
Poinsettia in the Conservatory
Christmas doggie doll
The Vanderbilt rail empire was created by Biltmore’s George Vanderbilt’s grandfather, Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, who died in 1877. It was Commodore that bought out LeGrand Lockwood after Black Friday in July 1869 when Lockwood lost his empire. The same Lockwood who built the Mansion in Norwalk, Connecticut. The same Lockwood who commissioned Albert Bierstadt to paint “Domes of the Yosemite.”
Most of my readers know about my journey writing about the life of painter Albert Bierstadt. My visit to Biltmore Estate was inspired by my research while creating a copy of Domes and henceforth, writing my romance novel.
Tree greens at the Inn at Biltmore entry
What would you do if your home was stolen away by a friend, especially if your friend said he would save you and save your home?
To be continued…