The crisp and colourful delights of October remind me of our driving tour of New England two autumns ago. We are house geeks and our holidays generally consist of viewing architecture, taking home tours, visiting art galleries and enjoying local foods. This visit to the eastern seaboard was no exception.
Providence, RI is the home of one of the country's best design schools, The Rhode Island School of Design, so it was a must to visit. The RISD Museum of art is high on my list of best design museums in the world. Their collection covers from decorative art to contemporary art to textiles. Serendipitously, we arrived during the annual RISD alumni fall art sale and purchased a lovely vase from this lovely guy (which included ten days of fretting about its safe return home).
In Newport, RI, we took a day to tour the infamous Newport Mansions. The most well-known, The Breakers, was a summer cottage of the Vanderbilts at the turn of the century. The 70 room, Italian Renaissance-style palazzo is a National Historic Landmark. The decoration of the rooms is grandiose and extravagant but the highlight is the children's playhouse on the grounds.
Our favourite of the mansions, is a humble, shingle-style residence, The Isaac Bell House. Designed by New York architectural firm, McKim, Mead and White, it was an early example of the influence of arts and crafts design in America and the mesh of European and Japanese influence. As a work in progress, it was fascinating to witness the detective work which went into the reconstruction of the interior.
And, we are also diner geeks. Our search for a decent breakfast at a reasonable price in downtown Newport brought us to Gary's Handy Lunch, where 70 years plus, Gary, still makes fresh oatmeal every day.
Stay tuned for part two: New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
Catherine Cassidy is a Designer with Build, a construction firm in Stratford, Ontario, specializing in new custom homes and renovations.
I am a licensed carpenter,