Thursday, December 13, 2007

Don't let schooling interfere with your education.

Mark Twain wrote this. It is a quote I wholeheartedly agree with. Perfect attendance is not necessary but an interest in many things and a zest for life certainly is.


Julia and I are continuing our tour of famous writer's and artist's homes. Last week we went to Hartford, CT to visit the home of Mark Twain. I hadn't been there in a very long time and since then, they have built a lovely visitor center with special displays, a short movie by Ken Burns and a lovely gift shop.


The house was built in the 1870's and Mark Twain wrote many of his most famous works here. I wasn't allowed to take photos inside so this is what we saw on the outside. The light orange and black brickwork were actually painted and spoke to me "knitting chart" all the way. Turrets and balconies and gingerbread abound. What a fanciful place.


All through the home there are stencilled and painted wall and ceiling treatments which gave me many more ideas for "knitting patterns". These were done by Associated Artists, a firm that was a partnership of Louis Comfort Tiffany, Candace Wheeler (she did the amazing textiles and wallpaper design), and Lockwood de Forest.

The place is so totally over the top - as you would assume giving Twain's larger than life personality. The restoration was done beautifully considering the home had been used as apartments and offices during the 20th century. The world is lucky to be able to visit this amazing place and see how Mark Twain and his family lived. Take the virtual tour if you can't get to see it. You will be delighted as Julia and I were to visit such an amazing and creative home.

Next to Twain's home is the lovely, more liveable home of Harriet Beecher Stowe which we also took toured. The home is full of her artwork, her over 30 books including Uncle Tom's Cabin which was translated into many languages and lots of family furniture.

9 comments:

maymomvt (or Sarah) said...

I love both of these homes. I think it is fun idea to visit author's homes. Have you visited Sarah Orne Jewett's house in S. Berwick, Maine? Another one with spectacular wallpaper.

Peg-woolinmysoup said...

Thank you for the visits of the homes and the links. I can see knitting patterns too.
What were Julia's comments on the house? I always think it is amazing what children 'see' through such fresh eyes!

Felicia said...

Looks like a fabulous place :)

Joanne said...

You're such a good mom! My mom called those adventures "mental health days"--you know, where we all do something where we learn, improve our mental health, and take a break from school. It never failed to delight us as kids.

Zanne said...

I would love to be able to see his home. Since we're in northern Illinois we're not far from Hannibal, Missouri where Twain grew up and got all his material for the Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn books. Be sure to visit this lovely little town if you're ever driving through the midwest.

Kirsten said...

What a great idea for you and Julia to take a tour of writers homes in New England. I noticed from an earlier post that you both visited Orchard House over the summer...my husband and I visited last spring and loved it. I had been there when I was young, but didn't remember much of it. I am so glad I went again. I've read Little Women soooo many times now and the 1994 version of the movie is one of my all time favorites!

tut-tut said...

Rudyard Kipling's house is just over the border into Vermont from where you are; I think it's a Landmark Trust property, so you should be able to get in to see it (or stay there!).

Diane said...

Many years ago, my mom was invited to a seance at the Mark Twain House. The medium was hoping to contact the man himself. He never showed up. Somehow, I'm not surprised!

melissaknits said...

You are a home schooler in your heart if not in real life. I recognize the symptoms.