Sightseeing Sunday

by Susan Getgood on July 6, 2008

in Summer, Travel, Vermont

crossposted to New England Mamas

This week, SciFi Sunday is pre-empted. Instead we bring you Sightseeing Sunday 🙂

Yesterday was my birthday, and to celebrate we drove over to Burlington — about 80 minutes from the house in Barnard — to see the Mary Cassat: Friends and Family exhibit at Shelburne Museum. For dinner, we boarded the Spirit of Ethan Allen III for a dinner cruise on Lake Champlain.  Then today, we went on the “Hidden Spaces, Unique Places” tour at the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller mansion in Woodstock. Last summer, Douglas, my mom and I had toured the mansion, but it always bugged Doug that we couldn’t see the 3rd floor. This tour resolved that dilemma. Plus Dave didn’t come last year so he’d never seen the mansion.

In order of events

I always enjoy Shelburne Museum because it has such a great mix of things that appeal to adults and children. This visit was no exception. Douglas patiently (mostly) waited while we enjoyed the Cassat paintings and then he had the opportunity to act as tour guide for his Dad on the Ticonderoga paddlewheeler.

Cassat was an exceptional artist. Possibly the best known American Impressionist painter and best known woman Impressionist, Whistler and Berthe Morisot notwithstanding. But what made this exhibit so exceptional was the way it highlighted the personal friendship between Cassat and Louisine Havemeyer, the mother of Electra Havemayer Webb, founder of Shelburne Museum.

The exhibit will be at Shelburne through October 26th and then at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington DC from November 21 through January 25, 2009. If you are near either place and you like Impressionist art, I urge you to check it out.

The dinner cruise on the Spirit of Ethan Allen III was fun. The food was perhaps just a notch above typical buffet food, although I would suggest having at least one fish entree that isn’t sauced, but the service was excellent. And the atmosphere — Lake Champlain at sunset — cannot be beat.  I got a special treat as well. Douglas plotted with the DJ and sang Happy Birthday to me — microphone and all — during dessert. I imagine more than a few mums envied me for that brief moment —  that my kid would do that for me. I had a few tears in my eyes.

Then today, we went on the Hidden Place, Unique Spaces tour of the Marsh-Billings Rockefeller mansion. They offer this tour about once a week, give or take, during the summer, and it is well worth it, although the regular tour is excellent as well.

On the Hidden Places tour, you see the third floor of the mansion, the servants’ quarters, a room in the Belvedere (basically the pool house, but what a pool house!) and the Bungalow, a cottage on the property, none of which are included in the regular house tour. I’d recommend either tour.

I do have pictures from all of the above, but the connection here is slower than at home so I’ll try to get them up tomorrow on Flickr.

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