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OCTOBER 2018

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On the Spot

As another autumn approaches, I eagerly anticipate the simple joys the season brings—cooler days, glorious foliage (the source of my endless fondness for the sky blues and leafy corals that keep showing up on my walls), and hiking along forest trails as fallen leaves crackle underfoot.

It’s the perfect season to drive around the countryside in search of the picturesque covered bridge. Hundreds of these 19th-Century wooden marvels still stand—usually along lesstraveled roads—from Vermont to Oregon. (You’ll have to travel farther if you live in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the Northern Plains, the Southern Plains, or Louisiana and Florida, where early communities apparently either had little for need such bridges or lacked the lumber to build them.)

Although covered bridges inspire our longing for a simpler past, in the 1800s they represented the height of American ingenuity as builders and architects developed load-bearing truss systems to support heavy wagonloads across wide rivers. The success of these bridges opened the frontier to Americans looking for more land or new markets.

If pawpaw is not in your vocabulary, read on to learn about America’s largest native fruit tree, which has grown in the East and Midwest (south of New England’s cold) since before the Ice Age. Its taste is generally described as banana-like, and its creamy flesh is touted for its nutritional value as an appropriate ingredient for everything from beer to pizza. Places in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maryland celebrate the fruit each autumn with festivals.

Throughout the country, living history sites also host fall festivals that bring the past to life through demonstrations of period skills and trades. We take a brief look at the early iron industry in Pennsylvania at Joanna Furnace, where the Hay Creek Festival draws thousands of visitors each year.

Two wonderful early homes in this issue span the decorating spectrum from high style to folk art to primitive. While Jim and Pam Penny spent most of their working lives in Texas, they forged a strong attachment to Colonial Williamsburg, to the point of adopting 18th-Century style for their Houston home.

They visited Virginia’s colonial capital so often they decided to buy a 1770 plantation house in Williamsburg as a second home, then had it restored to incorporate modern conveniences while preserving much of the original fabric. Furnished with formal antiques and fine reproductions—along with a colorful assortment of folk art—the finished house proved so comfortable they moved in permanently.

The Connecticut home that antiques dealer Susan MacKay shared for a decade with her late business and life partner, Peter Field, reflects their evolving taste and discernment in collecting the earliest and best New England antiques they could find.

Their 1787 Cape, carefully restored in the 1970s by restoration carpenter Bob Garafolo, needed only some freshening of the wall colors to create a fitting backdrop for furnishings with original painted surfaces and a mix of American and European decorative smalls.

American women often added warmth and color to their interiors with rugs—on beds and tabletops as well as floors. An exhibition on hooked rugs at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum explores the 19th-Century American craft through its roots in earlier sewn and shirred rugs.

Some of those women likely attended schools meant to teach them the “female accomplishments,” which often included theorem painting. Distinguished Directory artisan Nancy Rosier shares her methods for creating vibrant still lifes using stencils and subtle shading.

However you enjoy autumn—outdoors in Nature or by brightening your indoor living spaces—we hope you find inspiration in these pages.

Jeanmarie Andrews

Executive Editor

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