This is the Mark Twain house in Hartford, CT. When we dashed up to see my grandmother, we flew in and out of Hartford, so we seized the opportunity to see it. No photos allowed inside, but suffice to say it was HIGHLY decorated in the style of its time. Very few original Twain family pieces are there. If you remember your Twain history, they had to leave Hartford because they were broke. When people are broke, their belongings are sold off piecemeal, so most of the Twain stuff probably languishes in the homes of people who don't know the history of what they own! Such is life. The first of their 4 children was born here, and died at 18 months. Later, their second child, Laura, died here at age 24 -- so they didn't really want to go back to the house anyway.
Sam (that's how they refer to him) did all of his writing in this house in the room on the upstairs left (obscured by trees, sorry). There's a small desk in the billiard room that looks out upon where I was standing. While in residence though, he was so disturbed by visitors, most of his writing of those years was done when they visited his wife's family in Elmira, NY. There he had a studio where he could lock himself away and write.
This photo is a reconstructed slave cabin on the property at Sully Plantation. It's within a bike ride of my house, near Dulles Airport, so I went to it on Tuesday. I don't think the slave cabin would have been this close to the main house, but it seems that all historic properties in Virginia have to display one in order to get school kids to visit. I'm not sure why they saved this site. There are so many in Virginia that are beautiful, specifically connected with someone famous (Geo Washington, Jefferson, Madison, etc.). This one pales in significance and even looks. Here's what our county parks & rec site says of it:
An oasis of the past, Sully reflects the history of Fairfax County. Completed in 1799 by Richard Bland Lee, the main house at Sully combines aspects of Georgian and Federal architecture. Richard Bland Lee was Northern Virginia's first Representative to Congress, as well as General Robert E. Lee's uncle. It took an act of Congress and President Eisenhower's signature to save Sully Historic Site from the Dulles Airport project demolition in 1959. Today, the story of Sully, from its "new nation" roots to its permanent place in history is being preserved through a new, interactive exhibit that was three years in the making.
I didn't take a photo of the main house because they're working on it right now and it looks pretty terrible.
And finally, at the end of Wednesday's ride, ten feet from the path where I was riding, the real movers and shakers behind the business that's done in our area. They are responsible for helping the medical industry flourish as they carry the ticks that carry Lyme.
And I'm continuing my painting of our upstairs guest room today, so next time there will be some before and after photos.
That's all for now!