Man, the past few days have been crammed with awesome.
I was off last Thursday and Friday. We spent most of those days at the Hill-Stead Museum
, a restored mansion containing a private trove of Impressionist art from Monet, Manet, Degas, Cassatt and Whistler, among others. The house was built in Farmington, CT at the turn of the 20th century for a wealthy industrialist and designed by his daughter, who was one of the first female architects in America. The house is stately and situated on lovely 150 acres of farmland.
I brought Rosemary here a few years ago, and she fell in love with the place. Well, now we're going to spend a lot more time with the place. We are joining a group of youngish professionals called the Hill-Stead Ambassadors. It's an outreach/fund-raising group dedicated to growing the Hill-Stead brand and carrying its fandom to the next generations. Pretty sweet, eh?
Last Thursday we attended Hill-Stead's 20th anniversary dinner auction, held under a big tent next to the house. There's nothing like dressing pretty and mingling with people over drinks while watching wealthy people bid thousands of dollars on awesome things. Or seeing a room full of people instantly shoot tens of thousands of dollars into education.
As usual, my charms got us mixed up in something. We went to Hill-Stead at Christmastime last year to take in the house all decked out and with staff role-playing as historical figures connected with the house. A man was playing carols in the parlor, with Degas ballerinas and Manet haystacks on the walls. The staff asked if I sang, and there I was, singing my head off. A crowd of excited women soon formed, and then Hill-Stead's CEO greeted me, placed a book in my hand and asked me to join the Ambassadors. Talk about an endorsement!
We met some more Ambassadors members at a meeting, and then Thursday we met some more at our table. Was a real hoot, drinking a little too much and sharing good jokes amid the bidding. We told our engagement story a few times, and I still get props for Rosemary's ring.
Oh, and we won some silent-auction items! We got a spa day for Rosemary, and two weekend nights at a Vermont country home! Trying to figure out the dates; may use the weekend I already had off in July for wedding suit-shopping. The house accommodates six, so we're working on whom to invite. Hope I can get it all rigged up by midweek.
Friday we went back to get the formal paperwork and everything for the Ambassadors, so we have to fill all that out. And then back to fantasizing about this house, which sits south of Manchester and has a pasture with horses and cows in the back, and a river nearby.
Rosemary has a new thing to get out of the house. We can make some new friends. And it's the true beginning of us stepping out in the cultural scene here. We did Hartford Stage last year, and we have a membership for the New Britain Museum of American Art now. What's next?
More things coming at Hill-Stead, too: We may attend the start of the summer poetry festival in the garden this week, and next weekend is a classic car show featuring a car that was owned by the woman who owned the Hill-Stead house. Oh yeah!