Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Utopias and burgundy

The upstate NY tour continues, driving while listening to On the Road on CD. It's peak leaf-peeping time.

After a stop at the Berry Hill Bookshop, we got to Oneida.We stayed at the Oneida Community Mansion House, which regally endures, many years after the Oneida Community disbanded. I'm weirdly obsessed with utopian communities these days...I'm planning day trips to New Harmony and the Amana communities too. Unlike most other utopian communities that had to disband because they couldn't support themselves financially, the Oneidans voted to disband because the younger generation wasn't into "communal marriage" and other funky stuff like that. While it lasted, though, the members seem to have had a pretty good time.

The main building took a couple decades to build. The ceilings are ridiculously high (the wing chair is a normal sized chair).

The walls were decorated with tapestries made with braided silk fabrics--much like country braided rugs, except attractive and arty.

They made quilts too, with women, men, and children contributing individual squares.

There are not one, but two libraries. I had myself a fantastic time in the newer library. I have got to get myself a house with a library! Reading and knitting while drinking a glass of wine in a room filled with (and smells of) old books is pretty much a perfect evening, imho.

There's a small nook off one of the libraries, with comfy chairs and all the children's books. And (insert angelic choir voices), a display case with knitted and crocheted versions of all of the characters in Alice in Wonderland.

DH asked me whether I really took a picture of every single doll. Why yes, yes I did, and I'm going to share them on the internets! Some are crocheted, some are knitted, some are both. There's some pom-pom/tassel work too; I especially love the walrus' moustache. Here's the whole set on flickr.

Also in the building is a museum, a big hall (sort of a church/stage) with trompe d'oeil decorations (the picture is the main medallion on the ceiling), a restaurant, and much more.

Outside are the gardens which contain trees dating back to the utopian days. Sadly, I did not get to see them because it was so rainy out today. All in all, it was a great place to visit, and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting central NY. Plus, it's pretty cheap, and breakfast is included. (I even got the option of whether I wanted my scrambled eggs moist or dry, as though any sane person would choose dry.)

On the knitting front, I thought I would finish the Fern Glade hat, but then ran out of yarn about 80% of the way there. I did this project to use up the yarn leftover from this prior neckwarmer. Now I'll have to get another ball and will have leftovers from that too! Grr. Even in its half-done state, I am tempted to wear it, because it's seriously cold and rainy.

The third (of three) burgundy project I brought for this trip is the Feather Duster shawl, by Susan Pierce Lawrence. I'm using 100% cashmere hand-dyed yarn (Plucky Knitter) I got back on Bainbridge Island. So soft and yummy!


Team Knit ! said...

wow, huge ceilings!! your holiday knitting is coming along really well. They'll be gorgeous FOs!

- Julie said...

Wow with the pictures and your discription, I feel myslef relaxing and feeling like I am there. This is a good thing as life latly has been shall we say more than stressfull. For this I thank you heartly. I just love your blog. Wishing I was there. And as for your knitting it is always devine and makes me green with envy. That is ok too! Thanks again for this little retreat from the real ulgy world. God Bless you and your hubby.

orata said...

Oneida looks really interesting. I meant to go to New Harmony when I was living in IN but never made it there. We did go to the Shaker museum in Cleveland when we were living there... interesting to think that an actual Shaker village lies under all the staid suburban homes of Shaker Heights.

Siddali said...

Did you see the "social interview" (read: sex) rooms at Oneida? The beds were deliberately narrow so that no one would be tempted to spend the night with their partner du jour. Or should I say, du nuit.

Rose Red said...

Wow, what an amazing place to stay! And I love the Alice in Wonderland characters - thank you for sharing them!

Rachel said...

What a lovely place to visit! Glad you had such a nice time.

soknitpicky said...

*My* husband asked me whether I was really going to look at every picture of the Alice in Wonderland characters. Why yes, yes I did! Thank you for sharing them.