Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Stan Hywet Celebrates with Deck The Halls 2017

One of the highlights of the local holiday season is Stan Hywet’s annual Deck The Halls celebration, which is one of Ohio’s largest and most spectacular holiday traditions. The celebration runs from December 14-23 and December 26-30.

A million lights ensure that the holiday season always remains merry and bright.
The former Seiberling estate is illuminated inside and out with over ONE MILLION lights and this year, the historic Manor House is decorated and inspired by the theme of  Postcards from the Past. DAZZLE is a fantastic outdoor light show choreographed to three new songs this year and Gingerbread Land, the popular play garden has also been “dressed up” for the holiday season as well.

As always, the Great Hall is decked out in its holiday finest.
This year, the celebration is bigger and better than ever, and includes:

•Nightly tree lighting at 5:30pm. After Christmas, look for the Gingerbread Man.

•Live music in the Music Room, courtesy of area choirs and musicians.

•Self-guided tours of the Manor House included in ticket purchase.

•Freshly baked gingerbread cookies, savory warm pretzels, cocoa, hot cider, beer and wine for purchase in the Courtyard.

•Enjoy all of the above treats at the cozy warming fire in the Courtyard.

•Visit with Santa and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in the Corral in the Courtyard.

•Take a family photo at two featured photo spots—perfect for that family holiday picture.

•Marvel at our new animated Gingerbread Bakeshop Window in the Courtyard.

•The tropical Corbin Conservatory is beautifully decorated for Christmas with a 20ft poinsettia tree.

•Shop for unique holiday gifts in Molly’s Shop.

•Enjoy light fare or a sweet treat in Molly’s CafĂ© after your tour.

For more information, go to:

Monday, December 11, 2017

Christmas Comes and The Cats Carry On

The joy of floodlights. No climbing on ladders to hang lights from the gutters.
As Christmas approaches this year, I’m rather happy that I have managed to keep ahead of the holiday decorating. When the children were small, I usually started breaking out Christmas trees, lights, nutcrackers and all the other holiday gimcracks on the day after Thanksgiving, in the hope that I could get the balance of it done by the end of that weekend. As they have grown up (and one has left home) my efforts have gradually slipped into early-December; while there are some traditional decorations that must go up every year, there are always a few that have been forgotten or fallen out of favor.

The Nutcracker Army stands at attention. I think the cats find them intimidating.
One year, we had four full-size Christmas trees in the house—the primary tree in the bay window in the front room, the traditional “children's tree” (covered with Disney, Muppet, Looney Tunes etc.) in the family room, a basic "lights-and-balls” tree in the sun porch, and a large old tree passed down from my in-laws, which was erected in the basement one year and covered with tinsel, white lights and a host of those old-fashioned, blown-glass German-style bulbs. That was not long after we moved into the house; we had the basement partially fixed-up for kids to play in, and we invited all my aunts, uncles and cousins over. Note: My mother was from a family of twelve, and I have at least 64 first-cousins, so you may understand when I tell you we only did this once.

The foyer, with it's nutcrackers and much-abused floor.
Currently we had been hosting my three older brothers and their families for Christmas on a rotating basis every three years—now my nephews and nieces are beginning to join the entertaining queue, since it has become more of a challenge for my aging siblings and the younger generations are eager to pick up the slack. This is an “off” year for us, but we do plan on doing some entertaining over the holidays, and our daughter will also be coming home from Manhattan Christmas week.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Carlton Tavern: A Pub Worth Saving

When I think of an English Pub, many things come to mind, but as often as not, it’s usually something like the Carlton Tavern Pub, in York. This Victorian-era pub, with its lively Tudor-revival exterior, sits amongst mature trees in a very attractive area.

The Carlton Tavern in York is under threat. Clearly a pub well worth saving.
Unfortunately, the pub has never been designated as a heritage asset, which is why it was recently slated for demolition as part of a luxury residential care-home scheme. Without reasonable consideration of options that would enable the building to be kept, the City of York Council had approved the structure’s demolition at their Planning Committee meeting in October, with a tie vote of 6-6 swung by the Committee Leader.

Fortunately, close scrutiny of the decision-making on the part of the Victorian Society as well as local residents has resulted in the Council going for an unprecedented re-vote on this issue. To facilitate the pub’s preservation, a purchase proposal has been put forward to refurbish the pub and provide holiday accommodation for race goers and visitors to York, as well as a community pub, restaurant and deli.

With a re-vote set for the 13th of December, the slightest of opportunities now exist to ensure that Councillors fully grasp the historic and economic significance of the Carlton Tavern. If you live nearby and have a voice, it is your opportunity to be heard!

Link: Save The Pub! 38 Degrees Campaign

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Remembering a Rubber Baron: The O'Neil House

Not too long ago I had the opportunity to visit the O’Neil House, a landmark Akron estate that had been converted in to a very fine Bed & Breakfast some years ago. This magnificent Tudor-revival home, which is located on the city’s west side, was originally built as the home for the family of William O'Neil, founder of The General Tire Company and the son of Michael O’Neil, founder of Akron’s leading department store. The 19-room mansion sits proudly at the corner of West Exchange Street and Mull Avenue, on a well-manicured, park-like spot.
A wide, curved driveway sweeps across the front of the house.

While there is plenty of craftsmanship and solid design evident in the home, there is no pretentiousness about the house, which is spacious, warm and welcoming. The foyer features a beautiful staircase and walls covered in linenfold paneling.

The home's foyer features walls covered in warm linenfold paneling.
Just off the foyer is a wood-paneled library, filled with books, comfortable furniture and a large fireplace. It’s easy to imagine spending the better part of a day here reading and relaxing.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

In Praise of The Pargetter's Art (updated)

Pargetting can be very bold in concept & execution, as seen in this example.
Pargetting is one of the less-common elements found in Tudor and Elizabethan buildings. Perhaps the inherent nature of exterior plasterwork and its comparative durability vs. brick, timber and stone makes this inevitable - but there are still existing examples to be found dating from the 16th and 17th centuries. New or old, it is always a delightful feature whenever it is found.

Any number of natural or stylized designs and motifs can be found in plaster.
The term Pargetting derives from the word 'parget', an old Middle English term that is probably derived from the ancient French 'pargeter' / 'parjeter', which means to to throw about, or 'porgeter'- to roughcast a wall. With the ‘wattle and daub’ method of construction (since pargetting is really best suitable for a lathed and timbered backing) the craft became an important and integral part of the building trade until bricks became more freely available. The term is more usually applied only to the decoration in relief of the plastering between the studwork on the outside of half-timber houses, or sometimes covering the whole wall.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

NYC Exhibition Highlights Downton Abbey Sets, Costumes and More

Just came across this story from Houzz about a new exhibition in New York City that opens today, the 18th, and runs through January 31st at 218 W. 57th. Having visited Highclere Castle--where the Downton Abbey series was filmed--the exhibition fills in some of the show-oriented details that aren't evident when visiting the historic house. Click on the photo below for the complete story.

Downton Abbey: The Exhibition
When: Nov. 18 through Jan. 31, 2018
Where: 218 W. 57th St., New York City
Cost: Starts at $30