Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tacoma State Park, Bash Bish Falls, Norman Rockwell, and a playmate.

I arrived at Tacoma State Park on the New York side of the MA/NY border on Sunday. I was happily surprised when my RVing friend Carol drove down to play with me.
On Monday morning we took the trail to Bash Bish Falls…without the dogs.
The trail was 3 miles round trip, but not too strenuous.
The trail follows Bash Bish Brook
And crosses the border into Massachusetts.
Of course there has to be a legend about an Indian maiden who plunged over the falls and her body was never recovered…I forget the details.
These steps lead to the base of the falls.
From there we followed another trail to the old Iron Works which operated from 1845-1903.
We crossed the brook,
And passed many mini waterfalls on our way.
This was a kiln for making charcoal. The signs explained the process.
The charcoal-fired blast furnace was fully enclosed in a wood-frame building, no longer there. The current frame illustrates its size.
The machine shop is still standing.
They made weapons...
And plows...
This building was the company store.
The building in the background was one of many that housed workers and their families.
The old railroad depot is now a deli.
And the rails have been converted to trails.
Rail trail
This Episcopal church was built for the iron workers.
The ore pit filled with water and is now a swimming and fishing pond at the state park campground.
Kayaking is not allowed though, due to the steep sides and no place to launch.
The Sugar Maple is New York's state tree.
That afternoon we hiked to Sunset Rock, but we didn't hike the two miles up the mountain from the campground.
We drove up the mountain to a trailhead a half mile from Sunset Rock. This is the view from Sunset Rock.
Carol on the rock. We didn't wait for sunset because I don't drive after dark anymore.
On Tuesday we drove to Stockbridge, MA to visit the Norman Rockwell Museum. We stopped for this view from the top of Bash Bish Falls.
And passed this pond on the way.
The Norman Rockwell Museum sits atop a hill above the town of Stockbridge where he lived and painted.
We got there just in time for a talk about his life and work. I learned a lot about his paintings that I never knew before.
This holiday scene depicts Main Street in Stockbridge, circa 1950s-60s. Every year in December the town closes Main Street one day and recreates this scene, including the old cars.
Rockwell ignored three houses that would block the view and painted his own house and red studio in the painting.
This is the painting that a friend persuaded him to take to the Saturday Evening Post to see if they would be interested.
That was the beginning of a 45-year relationship with the Post, and his first cover for the weekly magazine.
In this self-portrait, Rockwell portrayed himself as a younger man. He also painted two "objects of humility," as he called them.
THe first was the trash bucket, where he dumped the ashes from his pipe, as well as oily rags. The bucket is all that survived of his Vermont studio which burned to the ground.
The second is this helmet which he bought at an antique store, believing the owner that it was very old and valuable. Later he saw local firemen wearing the same helmets and knew he had been duped. Both objects are on display in his studio.
Many of his painting reflected the politics of the times…this a little girl being escorted by US Marshals to an all-white school during the beginnings of integration. He used neighbors and townspeople for models. This little girl and other family members appear in many of his paintings.
His own family members also appear in his paintings. In the upper right in this painting is his recently deceased wife, and a grandchild she never got to see.
"The Art Critic" is a portrait of his oldest son, and the woman in the painting is his mother.
This room is dedicated to his paintings of the "Four Freedoms" which raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the war effort. (WWII)
His painting of a telephone lineman reminded me of my brother who did that early in his career.
This room has a copy of every Saturday Evening Post cover that Rockwell painted.
This painting was a gift to Walt Disney.

During the war, many of his paintings depicted soldiers.
Rockwell's sons also became artists, and the sculptures on the grounds were done by his son, Peter.

Once a summer cottage, this house now houses the administrative offices of the museum.
Rockwell's studio was moved from beside his house in town to this site at the museum.

He stored rolled canvas and other supplies in the loft.
A photo of Rockwell in his studio.
Under the stairs
His brushes
A couch to rest on or for visitors to sit on.
Rockwell at rest.
Do you see the bucket that survived the fire?
And the "antique" helmet?
Books about art and artists.
Where he sat...
The Linwood House, now administrative offices.

View from the lawn of the Linwood House.
Next we toured the town. This is the chime tower in front of the Congregational Church.
Some of the "summer cottages" of affluent New Yorkers.

Church on the corner of Main and South Street.
The Red Lion Inn on the corner opposite the church. Rockwell's house was four houses down on the right.
The front of Red Lion Inn.
Looking down Main Street
This was once the town offices.
The country store is still a country store.
Inside the country store.
More of Main Street.

A summer cottage for sale.

This is Rockwell's home on South Street. The studio was also located here until it was moved to the museum grounds.
The house is privately owned and not open to the public.

The view from Rockwell's home. You can see the Red Lion Inn on the corner.
Hanging flower baskets on the hotel balcony.

There's an interesting fountain in the center of those flowers.
A cat "spitting" at a dog.
And that concludes the tour of Stockbridge.
Carol and my "playdate" is over and we go our separate ways tomorrow. It was fun and I'm sure we'll meet up again in Florida sometime this winter.

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