The Classical American Homes Preservation Trust owns four historically significant 19th century homes — two in South Carolina, one in North Carolina, and one in New York’s Dutchess County. The trust was founded by the late Wall Street investment banker Richard Hampton Jenrette, who had a passion for 18th and 19th century American architecture, and who had purchased all the properties as homes. They are notable not only for their architecture, but for their impressive collections of fine and decorative arts. Three of the homes are open on a limited basis for public tours. This past fall, I secured tickets to Edgewater, near Barrytown, in New York’s Dutchess County, and toured the property.
It’s that time of year when I feel compelled to repost my article about our family’s traditional Thanksgiving dinner menu. So with your forbearance, dear readers, I post it below, complete with my mother’s recipe for her beloved cranberry/pineapple/jello “salad.”
Thanksgiving dinner: the mother of all menus
I’d bet that nearly everyone reading this can recite, item by item, every single dish served at their family’s Thanksgiving table while growing up. The Thanksgiving menu is pretty much inviolate. Even the slightest change is noticed by all. I think I still remember the year my mother started adding apples to her stuffing.
After being closed for three years, not necessarily because of Covid, but for a planned renovation, Kelmscott Manor, in the Cotswold region of England, reopened in the spring of 2022. I was thrilled to be able to visit the property in May. It is operated by the Society of Antiquaries of London.
This May I knocked one big goal off my bucket list — to attend the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) Chelsea Flower Show, held annually in May, on the grounds of the Royal Hospital in the Chelsea neighborhood of London. The Chelsea Show was cancelled in 2020 for only the second time since it began in 1912 (the first was during the Second World War), although some form of an online virtual show took place. The 2021 show was postponed and moved to September.
One of the oldest and most famous of London’s food markets, Borough Market, is located on the south side of the Thames, the South Bank, adjacent to Southwark Cathedral. (Note: We were surprised to learn that Southwark is pronounced “suh-thrk”!) William Shakespeare lived and worked in the neighborhood, (the reconstructed Globe Theater is nearby) and it is believed he shopped for food here, since there has been a market on the site since at least the 12th century. It is a lot of fun to wander through the stalls and passageways, and some vendors offer tastings.
We had the distinct pleasure of enjoying a tasting menu lunch in May, at L’Enclume, Simon Rogan’s signature restaurant in Cartmel, in southwestern Cumbria, in what is called the South Lakeland region. L’Enclume was awarded its third Michelin star earlier this spring, making it the first UK restaurant outside London and southeast England to earn three stars.
We made a quick visit to our Manhattan-based son last week, and we enjoyed a day and half of walking around and exploring the city’s Chelsea neighborhood and Meatpacking District.
We took Amtrak to NYC from Albany/Rensselaer (a gorgeous ride along the Hudson — make sure to sit on the river side!), arriving in the recently opened Moynihan Train Hall, now the entry point into the city for Amtrak and Long Island Rail Road trains. What a breath of fresh air after the dank, labyrinthian and underground Penn Station terminal.
It wasn’t until I had read a few chapters of The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd, that it dawned on me that the characters in the book might have some basis in fact. I think I flipped to the book’s prologue, where I was astonished to learn that indeed, Sarah and Angelina Grimké, the protagonists, fierce abolitionists and women’s rights advocates, were real. Not only that, but they were astonishing in their beliefs and bravery, given the antebellum society, and plantation-owning South Carolinian family, that they were born into.
While visiting Charleston recently (March 2022), we took a walking tour focused on the Grimké sisters, led by Lee Ann Bain. The tour took us through various neighborhoods of historic Charleston, where we saw places the sisters would have known in the early 19th century, and learned of some new research that a Grimké biographer has shared with Ms. Bain. Our tour lasted about 2 1/2 hours. Here’s a link to Ms. Bain’s site where tours can be booked: http://grimkesisterstour.com.
Interestingly, when I booked our accommodations for our spring trip at an 18th century outbuilding on Church Street, within the South of Broad neighborhood, I did not realize at the time that it was the kitchen to a home that sat directly across the street from the Heyward-Washington House, which was owned in the late 18th and early 19th century by the Grimké family. It was in this house, at 87 Church Street, where a horrified, young Sarah looked out her bedroom window and witnessed physical abuse of an enslaved person. It is believed that this deeply affecting event helped form her views towards slavery. Sarah lived in this home from age 2 to 11; the family later moved to a larger home to the north, on East Bay, where her sister Angelina was born.
This home was build in 1772 for Thomas Heyward, Jr., one of the four signers of the Declaration of Independence from South Carolina. When the British occupied Charleston in 1780, Hayward was captured and imprisoned in St. Augustine, Florida. The house was rented to George Washington for eight days during the new president’s tour of Charleston in May, 1791. In 1794, Heyward sold the property to John F. Grimké, who had also served as an officer during the war.
A couple of my favorite destinations are located in the vicinity of central/east Vermont — Simon Pearce, with two locations, and King Arthur Flour headquarters. I recently was in the area for a few days and was happy to be able to stop in.