Friday, September 30, 2011

Winter's Coming

And the hay is coming...........................

More Needlepoint - Equestrian Style

I have needlepoint on the brain this week but that too will pass.  Let's look at some horsey stuff but this time, no belts.  Let me again say that needlpointing is very easy.  It's a great hobby for those Type-A's out there (like me) who have to work to relax.  Just imagine sitting by a cozy fire on a cold winter's day, stitching away with a few friends.

Let's start with some Christmas ornaments.  These are photos of unstitched canvases.  These are adorable when finished. These are from Painted Pony Designs:

These designs are from

This is a picture frame:

This is from Cooper Oaks and would look good either a sofa pillow or framed in a den, mud room, even a tack room, or perhaps on a stool.

This is a bit more whimsical, not my style but very cute.


If I have not convinced you to stitch, then perhaps you can buy your very own equestrian needlepoint pillow.

Enjoy this last day in September.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Not Your Grandmother's Needlepoint

I have been craving to needlepoint this week (regardless of the fact that I have projects galore that are waiting to be started or finished) and we've started our weekly mowing again here at the farm thanks to over 10 inches of rain these past few weeks.  But that's no excuse!  There are so many cute things out right now that I am dying to stitch.  It's amazing how "modern" needlepoint has become.  No, it's not your grandmother's needlepoint where you used to just fill in the background with your color of choice. 

This Clara Wells (or maybe more than one) "tote" is so adorable, I think I want one for every season.

She also makes "bucket bags" which are are a big bigger and probably more functional.  Here is one unfinished and then finished (from Chapel Hill Needlepoint's Blog):

Amazing how well this turned out!

Here is another cute bag that my friend Nancy completed (also from her Blog):

Clara Wells also makes "cuffs":

(From "Adornment Needlepoint" in Winston-Salem, NC)

You can never have too many pillows and adding a few needlepoint ones adds "vintage" to your decorating.  These will never go out of style and the best thing is, dry clean them and pass them down!

(From Adornment Needlepoint)

(also from Adornment Needlepoint).

And I am dying to do this one (unfinished in photo) but I'll change the colors a bit. This is from Clara Wells (the same company that makes the cute handbags).

And don't get me started on all of the cute Christmas ornaments you can make for your tree. The bad news is that you have to start these projects in January as the "finishing" deadline is usually September.  This one is from Studio Midwest. 

A few more bags (from Chapel Hill Needlepoint):

And lastly a really cute door sign. 

And needlepointing is VERY EASY.  Anyone can do it (even a Caveman).  So don't be intimidated.  You need a good store, where they can show some of the simple tricks of the trade. Hopefully I have inspired you. We all get caught up in our busy world these days.  It is nice to have something to slow us all down.  Few hobbies are timeless!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

For the Inn Crowd

Now that fall is on our doorstep, it's time to venture out to some of the quaint country inns that dot the Mid-Atlantic landscape.  Lucky for me, there are tons of places to go within a few hours drive, like the Inn at Gristmill Square that was recently featured near the Homestead. 

There are others worth mentioning too and I'd love to learn of places you might recommend; would love to add a few to my own list.

My very favorite inn, bar none, is the Inn at Phillips Mill in Bucks County, PA, just outside of New Hope.  It is a short drive from Philly or NYC but trust me, if you like, quaint, romantic, no television or phones, then this is the best country inn. We have been going here for years.  It is owned by a World War II vet who happens to be a Yale-educated architect. And if you have knowledge of American art history, then you will also be amazed to learn that one of the famous New Hope painters lived in the compound (there are several houses around the inn that back up to the canal or the Delaware River). 

There are tons of things to do in the area.  Many good restaurants (try the Hamilton Grill in Lambertown, NJ or the Carversville Inn in Carversville, PA).  The Inn at Phillips Mill has a fantastic restaurant as well.  It is BYOB, so plan ahead.

It is very reasonable (rooms all under $200) and they will bring breakfast to your room upon request.  But it is a bit rustic, what I'd call arrogantly shabby, but if you like this style you'll love this place.  They also don't take credit cards. 

A famous Inn just outside of Washington, DC is the Inn at Little Washington.  Much has been written about this one, there are several cookbooks out there by the owners/chef.  It is very expensive and hard to get a room and/or dinner reservation. I am not a "foodie" so I have never been, but so many people love this place! Many bloggers have mentioned this one.

Two other inns in the Virginia Hunt Country that I find charming are The Ashby Inn in Paris, VA (just beyond Middleburg and Upperville on Route 50) and L'Auberge Provencale in White Post, very close to the Ashby, also just off Route 50 but this one is closer to Winchester.  Below is the outside of The Ashby Inn.

The Ashby is rustic too but very "Virginia Hunt Country."  It has changed ownership since I have been there but it is a unique spot. Explore Millwood, Upperville and Middleburg while you are there.  There are several good restaurants in the area too.  You can also dine at the Ashby.

Just down the road is L'Auberge Provencale which is in White Post, Virginia.  This one is done in French Country. It has a very good restaurtant as well.  Tough to get a reservation here, so plan ahead.  I had my wedding reception here! 

And I'll mention Clifton near Charlottesville but I must admit that it has been a long time since I stayed here.  The reviews continue to be excellent though. 

Maybe this will spur you on to plan a romantic country weekend with your SO.  I am planning one for late October!  Happy Tuesday!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Warrenton, Virginia-Based Barry Dixon

Designer Barry Dixon is featured in this month's "Traditional Home."  He lives in a fantastic 1920's house, which I would love to see inside.  It's interesting that such a high powered decorator would decide to live in the middle of the Virginia Hunt Country.  Warrenton is near Middleburg, about an hour or so outside of the Washington, DC metro area.

The article is short and only shows a glimpse of his masterpiece.

(Barry Dixon photo)

He does make reference for several of his fabrics, which, he claims are influenced by his surroundings in the Virginia Hunt Country. Gotta love the Warrenton Toile in pumpkin.  Have a soft spot for toiles and wish I had somewhere to put this and it comes in three colors.  This is pumpkin.

He also claims that his inspiration for this fabic came from an old wagonwheel on his property.  This comes in two colors:

And this one was inspired by his natural surroundings on his farm:

Gotta love it.   And the Inn at Little Washington is just a stone's throw from where he lives in Warrenton.  Bet you find him there when he is in town.  Will save that one for another blog post.  Happy Monday!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Middleburg Classic, Part Two

It is a rainy day here in Virginia and I am glad that I am not showing up in Loudoun County today at the Middleburg Classic.  A great show, for a great cause, but I am too old to ride and show in the pouring rain (and I think my mare agrees).  Nevertheless, good luck to the many competitors. It is a tough show.  Only the very best win here.  Some lucky and talented riders will win one of these.  

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Folger Stables

We don't often talk about West Coast events and horsey things but the recent renovation of the Folger Stables (like in Folgers Coffee) is worth noting.  In San Mateo County, the $3.3M stable renovation won a 2011 national architectural award.

Today it is part of Wunderlich Park in Woodside, CA, but the stables and the 942 acres surrounding it were orginially part of a 12,000 acre land grant in the 1840's made to John Coppinger, an Irishman and one of the first non-hispanic Europeans to live on the peninsula.

The stables were built around 1904 and the Folgers owned the property by then.  By the 1920's the Folgers were using the estate to escape the cold and foggy summers in San Francisco.  When James Folger died in 1921, Peter Folger took over the business and in 1955 Peter bought the house and 30 acres from his siblings.  His son Peter is now an attorney in San Francisco and with his sister, Elizabeth they were on the advisory committee for the renovation of the stable that was completed in April, 2010.

Let's go back a bit to get the history straight. In 1956, Peter Folger sold the stables and 942 acres to Martin Wunderlich, retaining the mansion for the Folger family.  It was eventually sold and still remains in private ownership.  Wunderlich donated the stables and surrounding land to the County of San Mateo in 1974.  The Folger Stables were placed on the National Historic Register in April 2004.   The stables were designed by Arthur Brown, Jr, done in the beaux art style.  Brown also designed San Francisco City Hall, the War Memorial Opera House, and Coit Tower.

 But look what a lot of money can do!  This is lovely..................

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Middleburg Classic

This week marks the start of the Middleburg Classic Horse Show, one that used to be very special but has faded over the years mainly due to venue changes.  Below is the cover/poster for the show this year, a painting of a former competitor (he passed away very tragically about 18 months ago).  I used to show against Jack and he had some really special horses.  He loved his horses and his dogs and this photo shows him in his better days.

In remembrance of Jack:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Homestead

We took my parents to the Homestead this past weekend in Hot Springs, VA.  It is one of my favorite places. There are few large resorts like it left. 

It is in Bath County, VA, not really near anything but only an hour's drive from The Greenbriar in White Sulphur Springs, WV.  You can take a shuttle from the Roanoke, VA airport, an hour and  a half.  Richmond is three hours away.

I have been in winter and in fall but have never been when you could use the outdoor pool.  It was open but it was too chilly to use it.  There are also outdoor clay tennis courts.

The resort was started in 1766 and much of it burned in 1902 except for the indoor pool and the Casino.  The Casino is now a restaurant and a shop but it once housed lockers and indoor badminton courts.

The area is known for its springs.  Once upon a time, people traveled great distances and stayed in elaborate hotels around underground springs.  In fact, there is a great book about this, which I find fascinating as many of these are in WV and VA.  It's called Historic Springs of the Virginias  by Stan Cohen.  Down the road a few miles are the Jefferson Baths.  I'll save the details for another Blog.  

The Homestead is no different.  There are many springs on the property.  These "healing waters" were once thought to cure all kinds of ailments.  The water is very warm, year round and they have been here for a long time.  Here are a few:

The resort has wonderful food.  We dined one night at Sam Snead's Tavern (he was born just down the road and is buried on his farm) and then in the hotel.  This photo was taken in the President's Lounge which is just outside the 1766 Restaurant where we dined.

The Homestead is also a golfer's paradise but none of us play golf so we did not venture out on the courses. They are beautiful though.  There is also a spa and an unbelieveable indoor pool which is fed by a warm spring.  It is art deco and simply beautiful.  This is near the indoor pool.  The gardens are charming, boxwoods, flowers, more springs. 

There is a small (very small) ski slope on the property.  They have a great work out room, many shops, vendors, a movie theatre and lots of stuff for the kids to do.  It is worth the trouble to get here.  

We had such a good time that we did not want to leave.  But I am certain we will be back!

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