Up on the Hudson, it gets foggy. We drove through fog, which was probably a cloud, and remarked on how very different from home it is here. And once again, I demonstrated an inability to navigate through anything but a conventional New England rotary: I have over-adapted.
We went to the West Point Museum (far too warm, folks; artifacts and visitors alike will cook at 72+ F) and enjoyed the artifacts and dioramas. It’s a classical museum, chronological and linear as you would expect it to be. I don’t object to this format at all: it supports limited labeling, which I consider a blessing, really, and allows the objects to speak for themselves and leaves room for the visitor to wonder, find a label, and read more. I did take photographs, but forgot the adapter for downloading the camera.
From there we visited Fort Montgomery, which may well be the site of future shivering.
Here, I did not take photos, especially after I was warned off touching the glass by the curator or site superintendent (honest, I didn’t leave a smudge).
The last stop on Friday was at Boscobel, which I knew of from a book at work. The house is as lovely as you would expect from a place furnished by the former curator of American Decorative Arts at the Met, and funded by Lila Wallace’s fortune. It’s a guided house tour, with an audio tour for the grounds. We lasted through the guided tour (there were only the three of us) and a portion of the grounds.
I’m really glad I lifted the no photography rule at work. Boscobel has some lovely objects. I was interested in several for which there are no catalog images online, no postcards, and no images in their books. I couldn’t capture the sense of place in the house, or the room the way I saw it, and I find that archaic and frustrating.
The tour itself was everything you’d expect a tour given by retired women of means to be: genteel, focused on furniture, and docile. To their credit, they do a good job with photographs to explain how the commodes work, and by the second floor our guide had loosened up a little bit in her blue blazer. But there was little about the family and their lives, nothing about the servants, and some basic misapprehensions about how a house of that size worked. (The cast iron cylinder in a water or tea urn was never heated in the parlor fire, and never by the mistress; sparks! fire! mess on mahogany! Nope, it all happened in the kitchen.)
In the end, Boscobel was lovely and I am envious of the decor and some of the objects and details, but as the tour guide noted, I most liked the “imperfect rooms” (the pantry, the kitchen, the bathing area and the servant’s bedroom).
Huzzah for imperfections! Time to dress for the last day of the common, imperfect soldier before we tear off for home.