The Society of American Period Furniture Makers

General Discussion => Discuss topics not covered in other categories. => Topic started by: macchips4 on March 22, 2010, 11:51:44 PM

Title: Road Trips
Post by: macchips4 on March 22, 2010, 11:51:44 PM
 It's getting close to the time of the year that people plane their vacations. day tips etc. I live on Long Island, NY and have visited the Met, gone down to Winterthur, Williamsburg and up to the Peabody and Deerfield. i was wondering what museums, historic houses or communities do other members consider a "must see". Places that are gone to for inspiration, ideas or just to "take a look". What are the member's favorite places to visit.
Title: Re: Road Trips
Post by: walkerg on March 23, 2010, 12:09:02 PM
Gunston Hall, the home of George Mason. It's just down the road from Mount Vernon but you won't get herded through like cattle and have the luxury of seeing a wonderful period interior at your own pace. Not a lot of furniture but it has a some outstanding architectural carving and interior woodwork. A must see.

George Walker
Title: Re: Road Trips
Post by: hermv2000 on March 24, 2010, 03:59:59 PM
Old Salem NC, especially for the MESDA museum.

The shaker museums at Pittsfield MA and Chatham NY.

Title: Re: Road Trips
Post by: Martin S. on March 29, 2010, 02:58:21 PM
As hinted to above, I would not waste your time at Mt. Vernon.  Probably not worth driving a long way out of the way, but the House tour and museum is nice at:

Title: Re: Road Trips
Post by: albreed on March 29, 2010, 07:32:22 PM
Joe- The Lee mansion in Marblehead, Mass, a fantastic Georgian house with great carving and woodwork and furniture. Continue north to the Spencer Pierce Little house in Newbury, an unusual midaeval type house, then go to Portsmouth, NH to the Wentworth Gardner house, also the Rundlett May house- a great Federal house with Ports. furniture, then go to the Jackson house, also in Portsmouth, a great 1664 saltbox, very intact. Another great place to see early furniture is Pilgrim Hall in Plymouth, Mass- lots of 17th century furniture and other stuff. One more, the Concord Historical Society in Concord, Mass has a lot of good clocks and other stuff relating to Thoreau and Emerson. Concord is an amazing town.-Al
Title: Re: Road Trips
Post by: macchips4 on March 29, 2010, 08:48:12 PM
I see that the Winterthur has a two hour conservation tour on the first wednesday of every month. Has anyone taken that tour?
Title: Re: Road Trips
Post by: MarkHochstein on March 31, 2010, 10:42:58 PM
I'll add two to the list: Montpelier and Monticello

James Madisons home Montpelier is in Orange, Va which is near Charlottesville, Va. In the past few years Montpelier has undergone a full restoration. The last owner, Marion Dupont Scott, left a sizable endowment to return the house to the way it was during Madisons time. They conducted a museum quality restoration of the home and have recovered "ghosts" of the original moldings and even wallpaper, fabric and paint colors. There isn't much furniture in the house, but architecture and history alone are worth the visit. (

Close by in Charlottesville is Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. Another great visit. Lots of furniture in this home although I'm not sure how much of it is authentic. It's been a few years since I visited, but I remember it being quite enjoyable and I'm looking forward to returning again soon. (

I'll say that both of these tours are at a much more relaxed pace than Mt. Vernon.
Title: Re: Road Trips
Post by: Martin S. on April 02, 2010, 06:53:05 AM
good Mark, which would make a nice trip up the  Shenandoah Valley and then hit MSV and Bell grove plantation.

Title: Re: Road Trips
Post by: MarkHochstein on April 02, 2010, 08:48:04 AM
Yeah, and while your at it stop by and see Jeff Headley at the Woodworking Workshops of the Shenandoah Valley! That would certainly round out the trip! (
Title: Re: Road Trips
Post by: Bob Mustain on April 02, 2010, 04:08:34 PM
I would agree with any of the Virginia sites mentioned above, especially Gunston Hall which is terribly overlooked.  But if you get there you should do Mt. Vernon which has a new visitors' center and several new exhibits.  Across Rte 1 from the entrance to Mt. Vernon is Mt. Pleasant, deeded by Wahington to relatives and much less known.  If you go to Montpelier then add another day and see Poplar Forest, Jefferson's summer house on the outskirts of Lynchburg.  It doesn't have much furniture yet but the reconstruction is fascinating.  There are a dozen plantation homes in northern and central Virginia, enough to do 2 or 3 per day.  And finally, I'll put a plug in for the Diplomatic Reception Rooms at the State Department.  The collection is fantastic.  The only drawback is that the tours are limited and often booked.  You can see a portion of the collection at the Department website, State.Gov, and that is also where you register on line for tours, a must. 
Title: Winterthur Conservation tour described
Post by: Bill Tindall on April 04, 2010, 08:52:03 AM
If you are into the technology of conserving and repairing old stuff  this tour is worth a lot of effort to take.  We visited each of the conservation labs, as I recall-  chemistry where they identify materials, textiles where we learned about repair and cleaning, painting where they were cleaning and imaging a painting, the wood working shop where everyone was gone, paper where they described restoring missing paper parts, and metal and ceramic where repair, cleaning and stabilization was described.  The depth of knowledge in each of these area was impressive.  I could have spent the entire day in any of these areas. 
Title: Re: Road Trips
Post by: cosgrovej on April 04, 2010, 09:22:39 PM
I would suggest Newport, RI.  Among the many great places to visit are Hunter House and the Whitehorne House.  Hunter House was built in the mid-18th century along the waterfront during Newport's golden ear and has a nice collection of Newport furniture.  (It's also near "the point" where the Townsends, Goddards, and others had their shops.)  Whitehorne House is a federal house that has many 18th century Newport pieces including several by Benjamin Baker.  If you time it right, it is not uncommon to be the only one on the tour of these houses.  Very worthwhile in my humble opinion.
Jim Cosgrove
Title: Re: Road Trips
Post by: MarkHochstein on April 04, 2010, 10:23:10 PM
If you decide to go to Newport, don't forget to stop by the Ball and Claw. That's Jeffery Greene's retail shop and it's filled with absolutely gorgeous reproductions of the furniture seen in the Newport Mansions. (

Here's a little blog post from my visit. (
Title: Re: Road Trips
Post by: msiemsen on April 05, 2010, 09:07:21 AM
Boston Museum of Fine Art. Shelburne Museum, Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford Ct., Yale Univ Art Gallery, Philadelphia Museum.
Title: Re: Road Trips
Post by: jdavis on April 07, 2010, 11:09:44 PM
If you find yourself traveling south of Winterthur for example on the way to DE beaches, the Biggs Museum in Dover DE has a small but very good collection of chairs, clocks, etc mostly from DE but some from MD, and Philly. You can get up close and personal with some of the stuff. (The guard took a short nap while I was there but I didnt take advantage of the opportunity.)

 They published a book a couple years ago on Delaware Clocks so I suggest you call for a copy and it could help you decide to make the trip.
Title: Re: Road Trips
Post by: Martin S. on April 08, 2010, 07:14:08 AM
We are planning a fall trip to Chicago, other then the art museum there, any suggestions?

Title: Re: Road Trips
Post by: msiemsen on April 08, 2010, 09:11:39 AM
Some of Chipstone's collection is displayed at the Milwaukee Art Museum and isn't that much further to drive.
Milwaukee Art Museum (
700 Art Museum Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 224-3200