|The Rookery on the Tasha Tudor family property|
I decided to write this special post first just to get it down while it’s relatively fresh. My memory is so full right now, but I know that the details will fade, the feelings and images too. Must get it down, while it’s still lovely and I can still see the rain in the garden! This is the day we went to visit Tasha Tudor’s home in Vermont!
Firstly— the photos I’m posting that are mine are from the Rookery. The Rookery is another home on the property that is used as the family shop. It is packed full of amazing Tasha goodies— a treasure trove for sure. The family asked that we take no photos at the actual garden and house, so all those images are tucked into my memory to cherish. But I wanted to share with you these lovely things as I rambled, so that you could enjoy…..The garden and Tasha photos are by Richard Brown.
|Lovely treats and beautiful dolls by Marjoie Tudor|
That day we headed out from Albany to gray, overcast skies. The weather report was foreboding— thunder and rain. But nothing was going to dampen our spirits! We drove up through the drizzle, climbing up to Hog Back Mountain where we were met with dense fog….blocking out the sight where three majestic states met in the mountains. I just had to take its word for it!
When we got to Marlboro and turned off onto the country lane….the lush green woods of Tasha’s world enveloped us. Here it was, this lovely place where so much beautiful art and so many timeless stories were born.
Of course (was there no doubt?) we ended up being the first ones to arrive. It was drizzling and Tasha’s son Seth came out to meet us, and ushered us into the rookery. I tried to play cool but I was— as they say– grinning like a ‘possum.
Inside we explored the beautiful rooms of the rookery, where I was struck by how wonderful it was to see so many Tasha things— from dishes to illustrations to stuffed animals— gathered together. There was also some wooden items built by Seth Tudor— everything from doll chairs to real chairs. I was impressed throughout the door by all the old fashioned items he made— in the house and well, the house itself! Seth built or helped build all the buildings on the property.
|Tasha’s gorgeous dishes displayed in the rookery|
Soon other friends started to arrive, and the next time I ducked out into the yard, it was filled with activity! I was able to meet so many long time lovely friends, including Christine and Linnie and Christie and so many others who were just so sweet. I got hugged before I even knew who was hugging! And so many big excited smiles and lots of laughter. The Tudors were on hand as well– Marjorie, Amy, Seth and their girls, and they graciously let us all mill about as if we were at a family reunion until it was time to get down to business!
|Sweet Linnie and me in front of the rookery|
|Lots of hugs and smiles at the rookery!|
|Photo by Richard Brown|
It was still raining— softly— as we headed down the lane to Tasha’s house. I grabbed Audrey’s hand and Patricia grabbed Alice’s and we walked through the woods— its bright little stream tumbling down beside the drive, to the open field where Tasha’s beautiful lupine bobbed their heads in the gentle rain.
They had divided us all into groups and we were, happily, the corgis! We stood outside Tasha’s gate (where internally I was like “Oooooooh, it’s TASHA’S GATE! THERE’S HER HOUSE!!!!”) but I tried to keep myself respectable. Several friends had said they wanted to see my face when I finally saw her house, and I hope I didn’t disappoint! Ha!
They divided us all so that some people went through the house first and some went through the garden. My group took to the garden first, and in we went, into Tasha’s dreamy space— which was filled to bursting with lush green and blossoming plants.
A gentle rain fell as we entered the garden and many of us had our umbrellas. I felt glad that this was the weather that we had in the garden— all the blossoms opened up for a drink, the light was gentle, the air cool. There was a peacefulness that settled in on the garden with the rain, and I did enjoy the ‘wet cool earth’ under my feet!
|Photo by Richard Brown|
At one point Winslow, who was our garden guide, said we could stand on the porch if we’d like. Much of the group moved on, but a few others and I crept onto the porch— with the table set to the side with a beautiful tea set put out, as if Tasha had just ducked in to get the snacks. I stood there on the porch, looking out through the hanging fuscia and begonias and took in the garden. It’s an image that I’ll treasure for always!~
We took a lovely ramble around the garden— where Tasha’s peonies were still in bloom, and roses all the beautiful cottage garden flowers. I may have cupped a big lacey peony blossom in my hands, just amazed that there I was—- in Tasha’s garden.
Winslow took us around the pond, into the azalea garden (with the biggest azaleas I’d ever seen in it!) and around to Tasha’s green house, with that famous Bay Tree standing sentry in the brick walk way. In Tasha’s greenhouse she had little fruit trees, like lemon trees, and a very large rosemary bush that was so fragrant. There was a tiny ladder from the greenhouse into the main house, which someone would have to be very nimble to climb. We were told Tasha navigated that ladder well into her 80s!
|Photo by Richard Brown|
We circled back to the house then, where we met up with Seth Tudor. He led us through the opening where the barn meets the house and there we were, in the warm lovely spot where Tasha used to feed and milk her goats.
From there, we went down a very narrow hall and into the main house and oh! What a sweet and amazing place. It was all very little, all very packed full of all Tasha’s beautiful old things. It was very much as if she’s just gotten up to check the kettle and would be back in a moment.
|Photo by Richard Brown|
In the kitchen, Seth worked the water pump in the old sink and we all took in the many dear little things in the tiny room that led into a small keeping room with a large fireplace. A tin kitchen sat before the fireplace, of course, and all her bits and bobs for managing an open hearth were still hung on the walls.
I was also enamored by the stenciling along the walls in this room— something I’ll have to look for in some of my books. It was so pretty and very well done. The whole house seemed so very old, and so very loved.
Off of the kitchen, there was another room set up with a large fireplace, a bed and the long table where Tasha did her painting. This, of course, was the space that made me a little teary eyes as I spotted where she hung the Advent wreath— the stand where she put her paintings, and all her paints and supplies set out, waiting for her deft hands. It was such a special moment, to be there, in her creative space. My heart did leap a little!
We were also able to see her snug little bedroom, with her sweater spread out over the pillow and all her little trinkets on the dresser. There were old books everywhere….and looms and knitting supplies. Her hobbies were obviously important to her, and were tucked in everywhere in the little cottage.
|Tasha’s lovely tea things displayed in the Rookery|
Outside her bedroom was a room with a large loom and just outside her door was the famous doll house. I had always had a hard time imagining what exactly that doll house looked like, and its basically shelves with each shelf acting as a floor in the house.
We were able to explore the little house— sometimes with flashlights, since it was a dark and gray day– and Seth was very nice to answer anyone’s questions.
I just stood and listened and looked. My eyes couldnt even take it all in. There was just so much in all the spaces. Old heirloom paintings, sets and sets of tea dishes (Tasha even had a tea set displayed in her bathroom! Which also included a copper tub!)
One of the most special moments included touring Tasha’s marionette theater off the barn, which was set up with marionettes she and others in the family had created. Seth had recently created a new set for the theater, and as we waited for the last group to finish Winslow showed us all how one of the soldier marionettes worked within the theater. Later, they took our photo there.
There were so many little beautiful corners, so many little treasures, to look at and file away in memory. If you ever get a chance to do this tour, please just GO. You will not regret it!
After the house tour we all returned to the rookery. I had the pleasure of walking with Seth and some other friends on the way back. When we got there, who did I see but my little Robbie! So busy playing with the littlest Tudor girls and their chickens that he hardly noticed his mama had arrived! He had such a fun time, sticking his little fingers into the chicken wire top of the baby chicken’s pens and letting them nibble on his fingers.
|Robbie getting a good look at the Tudor chickens|
Inside the Rookery, the Tudor Family had set out a lovely offering of snacks and tea, and we were all able to shop the wonderful items offered there.
Among other things, Audrey selected A Child’s Garden of Verses and I got Robbie One is 1 (Of course!) so that they can always remember the day they went to Tasha’s house.
We were able to visit with friends and we had a little picnic lunch we’d packed and with the weather so iffy— we just let the kids eats right there at the Rookery on the picnic tables. Tables, of course, that Seth made!
While we were there, someone brought in the little outfit, complete with snow shoes, that Tasha’s grand daughter Laura had worn in the iconic painting “Laura in the Snow” and it was such a special thing to actually get to see that dress, shawl, boots and snow shoes! It just really made the impression of how real all the things Tasha painted were. That a little long-ago girl had been out in the snow with her black cat, and Tasha captured it forever. That print is the one I bought last time I was in Vermont, and it hangs in my own studio above my painting table.
|The clothes and accessories little Laura wore when Tasha painted “Laura in the Snow”|
After shopping—- which was SO FUN— we packed up our little lunch basket, hugged our friends goodbye, and started out for Brattleboro. There, we met with some of my new instagram friends Brenna and Aimee to visit the Tasha Tudor Museum.
At that point, Robbie seemed pretty done with the day, (ha!), and I spent the majority of that afternoon chasing him around the yard of the museum. We got to sit with our friends though and have some great conversations and enjoy a day steeped in all things Tasha.
And so…..after that, we got back in the car and headed home to Albany. Our heads full of all things Tasha. On the way back, Hog Back Mountain had cleared enough to let us stop and take in the majestic mountains, although rain was coming again.
But we didnt care if it stormed again, the day was too lovely to be dampened. I’m so glad to have had this experience and so humbled that it was able to happen. A big thanks to the Tudor family for opening their home and their world to us, and to my partner in crime Patricia for arranging the whole tour. Also— thanks to all the special friends who joined us that day, for great conversation, laughter and hugs. It was perfection. And so very inspiring.
And now…time to get painting!