November 8, 2013

Summer cottage...really??

I've been really lucky to be able to spend some wonderful vacations in charming, rather rustic but lovely cottages in Maine, New Hampshire, Tennessee, and "up nort" in northern Wisconsin.  So while my cabin knowledge is not vast, I do have some experience in summer cottage living.

Maine cabin near Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park
Adirondack chairs--my absolute favorites!

Country style, near Pigeon Forge, TN
The "Bears' Den"
 They have been decorated with simple furniture, mostly "country" decor or "camp" style, with a lot of wood...
Cabin in the Smokey Mountains near Pigeon Forge, Tennessee (note the bear on the bed!)
Maine cottage
I loved the quilts and the vintage game board on the wall!
Our meals are simple on vacation, and match the informal dining spaces

Comfy seating so you can admire the view is a must!
New Hampshire cottage  (you can see our porch dining area in the back) 

Sit and rock a spell on the front porch in Tennessee!
And most of all, enjoy the lovely views from the porch!
New Hampshire

New Hampshire

So perhaps you can imagine my surprise when my husband and I visited one of Newport's "summer cottages" along Mansion Row (I suppose the street name should have been an indication).  It was....not quite what I picture as rustic living near the beach!  But if you're a Vanderbilt, then I guess you can redefine summer cottage to suit your own style.  I suppose the front gate also gives a not so subtle clue that this "cottage" doesn't have Adirondack chairs and homey quilts on the beds?

Welcome to the Breakers, Newport's finest of the summer cottages!

The BACK view of the house
I've given you just a peek today, but tomorrow we'll take a full tour of this amazing house.  It was so over the top that I toured it twice while I was there, once with my work colleague and then again with my husband, because you simply can't take it all in on just one visit.  But grand as it is (and it is grand with a capital G) I think I had just as much fun in the small cottages I've been lucky enough to visit.  It's all about who you spend time with, and not about the house itself.

Poet Daniel Henry Deniehy certainly must have spent some time in summer cottages as well, in order to pen such a lovely poem as the one below.

Love in a Cottage

A cottage small be mine, with porch 
   Enwreathed with ivy green, 
And brightsome flowers with dew-filled bells, 
   'Mid brown old wattles seen. 

And one to wait at shut of eve, 
   With eyes as fountain clear, 
And braided hair, and simple dress, 
   My homeward step to hear. 

On summer eves to sing old songs, 
   And talk o'er early vows, 
While stars look down like angels' eyes 
   Amid the leafy boughs. 

When Spring flowers peep from flossy cells, 
   And bright-winged parrots call, 
In forest paths be ours to rove 
   Till purple evenings fall. 

The curtains closed, by taper clear 
   To read some page divine, 
On winter nights, the hearth beside, 
   Her soft, warm hand in mine. 

And so to glide through busy life, 
   Like some small brook alone, 
That winds its way 'mid grassy knolls, 
   Its music all its own. 

1 comment:

  1. I think I would take the rustic, cozy cottages over the mansion any day :-)