Oscar Hammerstein II Farm

”In 1941, during a lull in his career, Oscar Hammerstein II and his wife, Dorothy, came to Bucks County looking for a retreat from New York City. While driving up the hill to Highland Farm, Dorothy spotted a rainbow and sensed this would be a magical place for her professionally floundering husband and their family. The move proved immensely wise as the bucolic countryside truly inspired Mr. Hammerstein. Legend is told that he was so moved by the views of cattle and corn fields in the early morning that he was inspired to write, “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’,” the opening song for Oklahoma!, on the front porch. Arguably, his most famous works were written while residing at Highland Farm including South Pacific, The King and I, Flower Drum Song, and The Sound of Music.

The Hammerstein family lived at Highland Farm for 20 years. During their residence, the home was constantly alive with many guests and children. Mr. Hammerstein was known to fly different colored flags as a message to the local children. One said, “Come and swim.” Another meant, “Let’s play tennis.” And still another said, “Stay away today.”

Oscar died at The Farm in August 1960 and was buried in New York. After his death, Dorothy moved from Highland Farm and sold it a year later. By the mid-1980’s, Mary and John Schnitzer had purchased the home, renovated it, and operated a Bed and Breakfast for almost 15 years. Mary sold Highland Farm to Shawn Touhill, a local developer, in 2003.

In 2007, Highland Farm was purchased by Doylestown resident, Christine Cole. While looking for a Bucks County barn to renovate, she was shown Highland Farm and instantly fell in love. Her business plans changed and she embraced the idea of becoming an innkeeper and starting a new venture. She immediately began remodeling and redecorating the home.” [source]

Each guest room has a theme dedicated to one of Hammerstein’s musicals; ours was the South Pacific, once the family’s master bedroom.

While the house is still operating as a B&B, the innkeepers have formed a nonprofit organization in an effort to raise funds to restore the property and build a museum and theatre education centre, in the premises.

Highland Farm B&BThe Oscar Hammerstein Museum

Doylestown, PA

February 14-16, 2020

Cedar Grove, the Thomas Cole National Historic Site

If he who has travelled and observed the skies of other climes will spend a few months on the banks of the Hudson, he must be constrained to acknowledge that for variety and magnificence American skies are unsurpassed.

Thus spoke Thomas Cole, who was born and grew up in England, but once discovered the beauty of the Catskills he remained forever faithful – so much so, that he went on to found America’s first major art movement, the Hudson River School.

Study for ”Catskill Creek”, c. 1844-45. Oil on wood
View Near Catskill, 1828-29. Oil on wood panel
Sunset, View on the Catskill, 1833. Oil on wood panel
North Mountain and Catskill Creek, 1838 [detail]. Oil on canvas
The view across the valley to the Catskill Mountains that can be seen from the porch is one that Thomas Cole painted more than any other.
Wooden Painting Stretcher for Catskill Creek, c. 1840s. Wood and graphite on chalk

Thomas Cole National Historic Site, Catskill, N.Y.

July 26th, 2019

The Coach Barn at Kykuit

Once upon a time the carriage room and stables, later transformed to accommodate automobiles, now a showroom for the Rockefellers’ splendid collection of antique carriages and rare cars.

Two-seat sleigh by Thompson Brothers of Portland, Maine – ca. 1890
Chrysler Imperial Ghia Limousine, 1959
One of two Ghias purchased by Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller for use in conjunction with State activities. This one was used in Albany. One of only seven produced that year, this exceptionally rare car has opera windows on the side and a large rear window. The car used in New York City had no side windows and a smaller rear one.
Auto Red Bug Buckboard, 1924.
In their youth, the Rockefeller brothers buzzed about the Pocantico estate and into the village to visit friends in little Red Bugs of this type. This rare example was acquired by Nelson Rockefeller in 1976.
Anderson Electric, distributed by Detroit Electric, 1916.
The electric car, though limited in range, was popular because of its quiet and simple operation. The Detroit Electric Car Company originated in 1907 and continued production until 1942.
Cadillac Model 75, 1939
This rare four-door convertible sedan was originally owned by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. It was sold, and passed through several owners, before it was re-acquired in 1971 after a diligent search. It can accommodate up to 7 passengers. Only about 20 were built.
Crosley Hotshot Roadster, 1949
Several third-generation family members learned to drive at the Pocantico estate in this little automobile.
Datsun Sports 1600 Roadster, 1966
It was shown at the 1965 World’s Fair in New York City, where it caught Nelson Rockefeller’s eye, and he bought it from the exhibitor.

Kykuit, the Rockefeller Estate on Pocantico Hills.

Tarrytown, N.Y.

July 19th, 2019

Lyndhurst Mansion

An even better shelter (this time from the inevitable -and welcome- downpour/relief from the heat). Gothic Revival at its finest, a mansion worthy of its notable owners: William Paulding Jr., a New York City Mayor; George Merritt, a wealthy businessman; and Wall Street tycoon Jay Gould who updated some of the interior décor by commissioning furniture from the Herter Brothers, windows from Louis Comfort Tiffany, and paintings from the Knoedler Gallery. Thankfully, they still remain intact, and most of the furnishings on view are original.

Josef Scheurenberg, The Confidante, 1880, oil on canvas

Lyndhurst Mansion, Tarrytown

Designed in 1838 by architect Alexander Jackson Davis.

July 18th, 2019

We reached the Summit

On top of a mountain overlooking Uniontown sits the historic Summit Inn, first opened to the public in 1907. It was built as a mountain resort for Uniontown’s elite as, according to the hotel’s history page, due to the coal industry in the early 1900’s, Uniontown boasted one of the highest rates of millionaires per capita in the world(!). Their goal was to build a mountain resort of “exceptional quality and durability” and they did a great job with the Summit Hotel.

Today, managed by the third generation of the family that owns it since the 1960’s, it offers a historic ambience, magnificent views and, most importantly, proximity to Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob, which was the main reason of our visit.

September 2nd, 2018

Salt Lake City || The Beehive House

We walk past the Lion House first; a large residence built in 1856 by Brigham Young, second President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to accommodate his extensive family. Brigham Young was a polygamist (a practice discontinued since the beginning of the 20th century) who fathered 57 children by his many wives, and was also father to a number of adopted, foster, and stepchildren. It is adjacent to his other residence, the Beehive House, built in 1854, which served as his primary residence as well as the offices for the Church and Brigham Young’s work as governor of Utah Territory.

Today, the Lion House is an event space, not open to the public for visits, but the Beehive House functions as a museum with volunteers (missionaries of the LDS church) giving free tours into the various rooms with period furniture – most of it original – and wonderful woodwork with bees, the emblem of Utah – curved everywhere.

Salt Lake City, UT

June 6th, 2018

 

Charleston || The Dock Street Theatre

”On February 12, 1736 the Dock Street Theatre opened with a performance of The Recruiting Officer. Built on the corner of Church Street and Dock Street (now known as Queen Street), the Historic Dock Street Theatre was the first building in America built exclusively to be used for theatrical performances. Flora, the first opera performance in America, took place at the Historic Dock Street Theatre.”

In the mornings, when there is no show, you can walk inside, take a sit and enjoy the silence.

Dock Street Theatre – Charleston, SC

April 12th, 2018