Saturday, September 12, 2015

so long Frank Lloyd Wright...

So our trip is drawing to a close at this point - we have our two last nights back in Manchester so we can do the final three things on our "must do" list.  1. eat at Cremeland, 2. visit the Currier Art Museum and its Frank Lloyd Wright home- the Zimmerman House and 3. visit the Canterbury Shaker Village.  We get off to a late start and do a breakfast in town at a place that is mostly a banquet hall but has a small restaurant area for breakfast and lunch.

It was no Four Aces but then again- not many are.... we head off on a quick out of town scenic road to pass the time before our 2PM appointment at the Currier to be transported to the Zimmerman House.  The smallish church/rental car van holds the 13 of us and the guide.

The Zimmerman House is a house located in a residential area of the north end of Manchester, New Hampshire. It is a usonian house designed in 1950 by Frank Lloyd Wright for Dr. Isadore and Lucille Zimmerman. It is a single-story structure, organized around a large L-shaped central chimney, and covered by a deeply overhanging roof. Most of its Wright-designed interior features are intact, including concrete floors, cypress woodwork finishes, and fabrics.

from the model in the museum lobby-

the floorplan- simple and elegant-

we arrive at the home and can photograph only the exterior of the house- no interior photos- it is a smallish house so fitting 13 people is difficult and we split into two groups-

the owners' ashes are interred on the grounds in the far corner of the lot looking back upon the home they adored

more on the home's concept - the usonian design of Wright and his studio - as usual from wikipedia-

Usonia was a word used by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright to refer to his vision for the landscape of the United States, including the planning of cities and the architecture of buildings. Wright proposed the use of the adjective Usonian in place of American to describe the particular New World character of the American landscape as distinct and free of previous architectural conventions.

'Usonian' is a term usually referring to a group of approximately sixty middle-income family homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright beginning in 1936 with the Jacobs House. The "Usonian Homes" were typically small, single-story dwellings without a garage or much storage. They were often L-shaped to fit around a garden terrace on unusual and inexpensive sites. Constructed with native materials, flat roofs and large cantilevered overhangs for passive solar heating and natural cooling, natural lighting with clerestory windows, and radiant-floor heating. A strong visual connection between the interior and exterior spaces is an important characteristic of all Usonian homes. The word carport was coined by Wright to describe an overhang for sheltering a parked vehicle. The Usonian design is considered among the aesthetic origins of the ranch-style house popular in the American west of the 1950s.

Here are some terrific photos of the interior from a website called New England Home - where the article is worth reading (and I have excerpted it here as well)

the article link-

Wright designed a Usonian-style house for the Zimmermans' three-quarter-acre corner lot in Manchester, New Hampshire. The one-story home is low and lean, 107 feet long, with only a string of small, cement windows to relieve the brick facade.  Neighbors thought it looked like a chicken coop.  

Known for his sweeping, Prairie-style designs, based on the wide-open spaces of the American grasslands, Wright came late in life to see a need for low-cost housing that could be mass-produced. The new design—called Usonian, for United States of North America—would incorporate the principles of Prairie style, but on a much smaller scale.

The houses would fit snugly into their surroundings. There would be no basements or attics, and no exterior adornment. All cabinets, storage spaces and bookshelves would be built-in. Furniture would be designed for each house. Vehicles would get a carport, not a garage.  The Zimmermans took up residence in 1952, bringing only clothes, books and a grand piano. They stayed for more than thirty-five years.

Stark and seemingly cold from the outside, the house is all warm woods and earth tones inside. A couch big enough to seat twelve is built into one long wall. A fireplace separates the living room from the dining area, built-in shelves of cypress lining one side. 

The back wall is almost all glass and looks out into the backyard, where oaks and birches tower over abundant rhododendrons. All that glass makes the yard feel as though it's part of the room. It's hard to tell where the outdoors ends and the indoors begins.

Enter the symmetry: Each concrete square in the floor is four feet wide and four feet long. Wooden casements that create windows in the glass wall are four by four. The dining room table is four by four. The house cocoons two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a galley kitchen, a living room and a dining area, all neatly tucked into 1,700 square feet.  The house, Isadore Zimmerman wrote to Wright in 1952, is “an experience we would not miss for all the monetary riches in the world.... Utility is married to beauty [and] the two become one.”  By then, he was able to report, “Even our New England neighbors love it.” 

I think it was the most lovely of all or the Wright designed buildings I have visited.  It is welcoming in a way many of his works lack.  While far too small for today's lifestyles, it would make a fabulous getaway place if moved to the remote woods of Vermont or New Hampshire.  

Then we returned to the Currier which was small but nicely curated - here are some things I liked-

two "group of seven" style paintings that caught my eye (remember aesthetic arrest from art class last spring?)

a modernist Lilly pond which drew me in with its form and colors-

a complicated life - portrayed in this one...

a hook below the surface - to capture my dinner some night?

and for those evenings when elegance is called for a scarf to go with any outfit no matter how large an event you are attending LOL-

a small but decent impressionist section-

 Hopper always stops me from passing on quickly-

the outdoor sculpture that greets visitors-

by the time we closed the museum we needed a late late late lunch- so we got our stop at Cremeland! and found they had lobster rolls!  And Clams and burgers etc... along with an ice cream place for dessert (separate window for order and delivery from the food window.

The food was good and so we called it dinner- had giant desserts and went back to the hotel early--- an early morning the next and final day of the trip would have us off to the north and into Canterbury to visit the AAA gem of the Shaker Village. And since I have lots of photos from the Shaker Village it will be another post... keep on coming back for the run through the finish line!

Vermont- in a day!

So as I mentioned we had breakfast at Four Aces Diner on the NH side of White River Junction and it was terrific! I had the Irish Benedict (corned beef hash based- YUM!) and the popovers were fabulous!

We got on the highway and headed into Vermont and to the north and west... all along Interstate 89 it is marked as a scenic route - and this designation by AAA is well deserved, vista after vista of lovely low rise tree covered mountains that must be a riot of color in the fall...

we headed to the capital on our way to the Cabot Creamery...and you can see we had a lovely morning for a drive...

when we arrived at Cabot they had just started a video for the tour- so we ducked in quickly and joined up- the first photo is of awards won by their products-  Cabot is a co-op and has had a great deal of success over the decades of being in business-

a display table in the video room-

Originally started as Cabot Farmers Cooperative Creamery in 1919 by farmers in Cabot, Vermont, it was taken over by the Agri-Mark Cooperative in 1992. The Cabot village creamery was built in 1893 The original plant had an investment of $3,700 in total, which was paid by 94 farmers in proportion to the number of cattle which each owned. The cooperative started out making butter with the excess milk produced, and began shipping its products south. In 1930 they started making cheese. By 1960, the cooperative had 600 member farmers, though the number of farms in Vermont and across the nation were steadily shrinking.

Following a decline in membership, the Cabot Farmers Cooperative Creamery merged in 1992 with Agri-Mark, a cooperative of 1,800 farm families in New England and New York, and was re-incorporated as Cabot Creamery Cooperative Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Agri-mark. 

Cabot began marketing cheese internationally in 2007.  Wine Spectator magazine listed Cabot cloth-bound cheddar as one of "100 great cheeses" of the world in 2008. 

Cabot has facilities in many locations, including Cabot, Vermont, Route 100 in Waterbury, Vermont, Quechee, Vermont as well as a newly added store in Portland, Maine. Each location offers samples of products from the expansive line of Cabot goods, specialty foods from local vendors, and souvenirs. Additionally, at the Cabot Visitors Center, guided tours are given for those interested. (from wikipedia)

we were told no photos on the tour - but oddly enough that must be a new rule because when I had been there before with Phil and Jeremy and Kate on a full blown Vermont vacation... I had taken some photos - so this is what we saw both times-

making the curds and then draining off the whey-

a mural in the plant-

the big stir--- LOL

the tour was very informative - but they gave out no handouts so this next part comes from a wikipedia article on cheese making and has been edited to fit what we saw in the "factory"-

To make cheese the cheesemaker brings milk in the cheese vat to a temperature required to promote the growth of the bacteria that feed on lactose and thus ferment the lactose into lactic acid. Fermentation using homofermentative bacteria is important in the production of cheeses such as Cheddar, where a clean, acid flavour is required.  When during the fermentation the cheesemaker has gauged that sufficient lactic acid has been developed, rennet is added to cause the casein to precipitate. After adding the rennet, the cheese milk is left to form curds over a period of time.

Once the cheese curd is judged to be ready, the cheese whey must be released. As with many foods the presence of water and the bacteria in it encourages decomposition. The cheesemaker must, therefore, remove most of the water (whey) from the cheese milk, and hence cheese curd, to make a partial dehydration of the curd. This ensures a product of good quality and that will keep. 

The Cheddar curds and whey are often transferred from the cheese vat to a cooling table which contains screens that allow the whey to drain, but which trap the curd. The curd is 'blocked' (stacked, cut and turned) by the cheesemaker to promote the release of cheese whey in a process known as 'cheddaring'. During this process the acidity of the curd increases and when the cheesemaker is satisfied it has reached the required level, salt is mixed into it to arrest acid development. The salted green cheese curd is pressed to allow the curd particles to bind together. The pressed blocks of cheese are then vacuum packed in plastic bags to be stored for maturation. Vacuum packing removes oxygen and prevents mould growth during maturation.

and as I highlighted above there were samples to try and souvenirs to buy...

despite numerous- literally hundreds of Moose Crossing signs along the roads we traveled - these were the only type of moose we encountered...

so having had a morning snack - we went off in search of lunch- taking the long way and the scenic routes (green dots on AAA map) to Stowe! where we skipped the crowded town and headed up the hills to - yes you guessed it the Trapp Family Lodge (sing along with me- "the hills are alive! the sound of music!") where we had lunch in a very Austrian like dining room and had food to match...

after lunch we got back on the road and headed up through the incredibly beautiful Smuggler's Notch route-

Smugglers' Notch (or Smugglers or Smuggler's) is a mountain pass in Lamoille County, Vermont. The notch separates Mount Mansfield, the highest peak of the Green Mountains, from Spruce Peak and the Sterling Range. Most of the notch is in Mount Mansfield State Forest.  Smugglers' Notch derives its name from activities precipitated by a request of President Thomas Jefferson to prevent American involvement in the Napoleonic Wars. The Embargo Act of 1807 forbade American trade with Great Britain and Canada. But proximity to Montreal made it a convenient trading partner, and the Act caused great hardship for Vermonters, many of whom continued the illegal trade with Canada, carrying goods and herding livestock through the Notch. Fugitive slaves also used the Notch as an escape route to Canada. The route was improved to accommodate automobile traffic in 1922 thus providing a route for liquor to be brought in from Canada during the Prohibition years.

We had specifically chosen this route as an alternative to heading into Waterbury which we decided would be seriously overrun with children on their last Sunday before school started - all desperately in need of a tour of Ben & Jerry's once artisanale (now corporate) ice cream... - so we took a round about route to the shores of Lake Champlain (in Burlington) directly opposite where we had been on DART 2013 in Plattsburgh NY... on the Adirondack DART tour... after a quick driving tour of "downtown" Burlington and a drive by the airport - we headed back south - again along the green dotted route back into New Hampshire to Manchester because we have tickets for tomorrow to see the Zimmerman home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright decided to stay stay tuned...