Members experience Connecticut's Quiet Corner
August 20, 2010
The 2010 Members’ Trip to Roseland Cottage and Connecticut’s “Quiet Corner” was a delightful weekend of companionship, education, great food, interesting history, and spectacular weather. Many of our travelers had been on previous Members’ Trips and enjoyed the chance to see old friends and meet new ones with a shared interest in history, architecture, and decorative arts. Our sixteen travelers, a mix of solo travelers and couples, came from Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts and included one Woodstock, Connecticut, native.
The weekend started off at the regional members’ reception at the Roseland Cottage carriage house to see the Farmers, Cows, and the Land exhibition, a 100 Years, 100 Communities project; taste lemonade and a Roseland-inspired ice cream flavor provided by The Farmer’s Cow dairy cooperative; and sample wines from Woodstock’s Taylor Brooke Winery, including “Roseland Red.” It was a beautiful evening to stroll the gardens and tour this impressive summer cottage, built for Woodstock native Henry C. Bowen. More than fifty members attended, some from as far as New York City.
The traveling group stayed at the Inn at Woodstock Hill, which was built by Henry Bowen’s grandfather and is known for fine accommodations and dining, both of which we enjoyed thoroughly. Our walking tour of the Woodstock Hill Historic District was led by Roseland Cottage’s Education Coordinator Gail White, who is also president of the Woodstock Historical Society. Gail explained how Woodstock was founded on the advice of Roxbury, Massachusetts, minister John Eliot, who had worked with the Native American community in the area before King Philip’s War and admired the rich farming soil there. The impressive residential and academic buildings along Connecticut’s scenic Route 169 are well worth viewing at a walking pace.
During the tour, we sat in the pews and learned about the history of the Bowens' church, First Congregational Church of Woodstock, from Roseland Cottage guide Bev Brazeal. Another stop was the Woodstock Historical Society’s Growing Up in Woodstock exhibition about the lives of children in Woodstock. The exhibition was supplemented by self-portraits drawn by children in the Roseland Cottage education program.
With a focus on locally grown food, the group ate well during this trip, including a relaxed multi-course luncheon at the Golden Lamb Buttery, where fresh, locally grown foods are served in a one-of-a-kind barn setting, with stunning views and charming antiques. Proprietor Katie Bogert, granddaughter of the original owners, gave the group some history of the restaurant. Lunch was followed by a hayride.
Sunday morning’s tour of Roseland Cottage was led by site manager Lisa Centola, who answered members’ questions on everything from our roofing restoration philosophy to how 40,000 people fit into tiny Woodstock for Mr. Bowen’s famous Fourth of July celebrations.
The trip concluded with a tour of Fort Hill Farms in Thompson led by owners Kristin and Peter Orr. The group learned about the economics of modern day farming and admired the lavender labyrinths and views on this farm, which has been in continuous agricultural production for more than three hundred years.
Over the last five years, our Members’ Trips have taken us to Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. For the trip next August, we think it might be time to explore Massachusetts. If you are interested in early notification for the 2011 tour, please drop us a line at Membership@HistoricNewEngland.org. Advance registration is open to members at the Supporting level and above.