Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Santa Fe Medley

No, it's not paper.

I did get to Santa Fe this time--two weeks there plus a few days en route taking the train.  No weather problems or cancellations this time as occurred with my proposed trip in January.  Actually, except for running smack into juniper pollen allergy season, it was better to wait.  For one thing, the temperatures were more amenable despite the fact that those high desert days were still brisk enough to require a coat. And then what with all the winter storms that hit my part of the country, some more than once a week, I was glad to be home and able to look after my house.  Power, furnace, roof gutters (which, incidentally, all came off one particularly icy day).

So I did my usual Santa Fe thing of wandering around town looking in art galleries, trying out some old and new restaurants (which I'll talk about next time), and thoroughly enjoying that high, dry, sunny climate.  Here is a medley of photos illustrating this appealingly photogenic part of the country.

Next week:  Food!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The House That Rudyard Built

(Note:   Hoping for the cooperation of the weather this time, I'm making another attempt at getting away for three weeks and may or may not post during that time.  At least I'll be here for the March 29th posting.)

Yes, Rudyard Kipling built the house and he built right here in town, living in it with his family for four years at the tail end of the 19th century, afterwards packing up and returning to England.  After that it was mostly closed up until the UK's Landmark Trust bought and restored it as one of their few U.S. properties, all in Vermont.

Kipling and his wife had stopped off here on their honeymoon to visit her family.  Enamored with the area, he bought twelve acres from her brother who lived across the road and situated the house on top of a hill that sloped down toward the Connecticut River.  Imagining the rolling, hilly pasture land to be waves, he designed the house to resemble a ship, making it long and narrow--some ninety feet long by a mere twenty feet wide.

Kipling's study with his desk and chair to the left.

An inscription just under the mantel reads, "The night cometh when no man can work."  It is thought that Kipling's father, who did plaster work, put it there. 

Kipling named the house Naulakha, meaning "jewel beyond price."  Among his visitors was Arthur Conan Doyle who came one Thanksgiving bearing a gift of skis--said to be Vermont's first pair and something Doyle had picked up in Switzerland where he'd taken his wife to convalesce.  Another first for Vermont was the tennis court that Kipling built on the property.

Though an interior room, this "Loggia" was made to look like a sun porch. 

It was here that Kipling wrote The Jungle Book and Captains Courageous and began Kim and Just So Stories.

Though the house is rarely open to the public for viewing, it is available for vacation rentals and can sleep eight.  The piece over the fireplace may have also been done by his father.

At one point, Kipling's wife (who managed his affairs so that he could spend his time writing) found that people were not cashing his checks, preferring to keep his signature as a memento.  So she instituted the practice of selling his autograph for $3 each.  Finding him thoroughly fascinating, the locals would try to peek through the windows to get a glimpse of the great man at work.  To quote one source, "Neighbours say he is strange; never carries money; wears shabby clothes and often says Begad; drives shaggy horses and plays with the baby." 

The entrance is here at the back of the house so that the view and front meadow are not disturbed.