Monday, September 30, 2013

Colorful with a Side Dish of Wispy

We have just returned from the annual close-up-the-cabin weekend.  Part of this experience includes a walk or bike ride around the lake.  This year was a first:  we did a combination bike-athlon.

Meaning we both walked a bit on our favorite stretches along the lake path - the gravel road with a canopy of colorful trees overhead - and biked down the hills on the south side of the lake-  wheeeeee!

Meaning I could pause to take pictures on the walking parts and dismount the bike on the parts where the views just took my breath away (while catching my own breath).

We certainly lucked out this year with lovely weather and colorful trees.  It has been said by one of the year-round lake residents that the leaves are close to peak right now.  In past years we seemed to have been missing this event with green leaves on trees or mostly bare branches.

What took my breath away was the combination platter we were served - colorful leaves with a blue, blue sky and a side dish of white, wispy clouds.

Eat up!

Yummy, yes?
Incidentally, my cabin-read was this memoir about Julia Child.
You can certainly figure out the connection to the feast for the eyes and the feast for the belly.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Substitution for Downton Abbey

Will it ever be time for Downton Abbey to return to the telly?  I am growing quite impatient for the
upcoming season to arrive!  However, there is a place close to home that allowed my imagination to run a bit on the wild side.  Over the weekend I stopped by the
 Cuneo Mansion.

Built in 1914 for Samual Insull (Commonwealth Edison), John Cuneo Sr. (Cuneo Press and Hawthorn Mellodie Farms) purchased the mansion in 1937 when Insull "tanked" with the Great Depression. The mansion was home to his family of four:  wife Julia Sheperd Cuneo, son John Jr. and daughter Consuela. The "home" has countless rooms including a chapel, a ballroom, a dining room that could seat 65 guests, private bedrooms for family members and domestic servant quarters.  Fifty servants were required to fufill the needs of this family of four..

 Calling Mr. Carson!
(And also William Mason as the Second Footman.)
  Here is the front door of the mansion where the butler would greet you.

Sit on one of the red chairs while you wait to be announced.
If you are a lady, you might freshen up a bit in the gilded powder room.  Perhaps Gwen Dawson has cleaned it just now.

That's some gleam in the commode area - whoa!

 Just a moment, please. Mr. Bates is helping Robert, Earl of Grantham with a few adjustments in the master suite.
He'll be down shortly.

Yes, he will see you now in the library.

These are mostly Cuneo Press volumes.  However, somewhere in here is a first edition of John Milton's Paradise Lost. forgot to go to Mass?  No worries, we have a consecrated-by-the-cardinal chapel.
Fortunate for  Doctor Clarkson as he has had losses recently and needs to pray for their souls.

These financial set-backs are most disturbing as well.

Let's go to the breakfast room for tea, scones and crumpets now being served to Cora, The Countess of Grantham, Lady Mary,  and Lady Sybil (this was before her untimely demise.)
They have just been talking about Matthew Crawley. (Also before his demise.)
Later this evening, this table will be extended to make room for a dinner party to introduce
Lady Sybil to a more suitable choice than that old guy.
Oh, wait!  She married that old guy?

We digress.  You were on your way to the library.  Pass by the ballroom on your way there.

Don't forget to take a sneak peak at the Music Room from this vantage is one of the more splendid rooms in the mansion and the place where Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham and Isobel Crawley like to have their little tiffs.
They prefer not to sit too close to each other in times like these.

Hmm.  the library is closed for cleaning.  Let's go to the Business Office.
Things are looking ship-shape after all!  Maybe that's because the interior of this room was formerly part of a ship.
Meanwhile, Lady Mary has gone upstairs to change her clothes and redo her hair.
Thanks to Ethel Parks, she looks stunningly beautiful once again.
Will Sarah O'Brien not keep up her devious plans as Lady's Maid?

Oh dear, you have said something that should have been left unsaid.
You are escorted out through the kitchen.

Fond regards to Mrs. Patmore and Daisy on your way out!

Yes, it is most assuredly time for Downton Abbey to come back.
Season Four.
You can see the wait is making me c-r-a-z-y or should I say "mad'?

(By the way, if anything here at the mansion looks familiar it could be that you have seen the movie
My Best  Friend's Wedding 
starring Julia Roberts and Cameron Diaz.
It was filmed on the premises of the Cuneo Mansion in 1997.)

 And it is also the site of Kristin and Daron's wedding reception!