Recently I bought a new picnic basket, the kind that contains dishes, napkins, plates, wine glasses and silverware. A charming picnic basket is great to take along on any romantic outing and just the thing for a Country Inn Day. But this Country Inn “Culture” Day will be more than a picnic. It will combine the romance of a picnic with the elegance of a classical music concert. It will be a double treat!
My husband and I are off to Blossom Music Center, the Summer home of The Cleveland Orchestra. We’re very lucky to live in Hudson, Ohio for Blossom is very near to us. The above picture is an artist’s rendition of Blossom. This illustration was created to be used for invitations sent at the opening of Blossom back in 1968. Now Blossom is in its 48th season. It was created by visionary leaders of Cleveland’s Musical Arts Association so that the Cleveland Orchestra, by the time of its 50th anniversary, could provide year-round employment for its musicians – and year-round music for the region. As we approach the Orchestra’s 100th anniversary, Blossom has done that and so much more. Cleveland is rich in culture, a best kept secret, and Cleveland’s classical music scene is second to none with The Cleveland Orchestra as its brightest star. As a music lover, music educator and past member of The Cleveland Orchestra Chorus I am quite the classical music lover and fan of The Cleveland Orchestra and both its outstanding homes – Blossom in Summer and Severance Hall the rest of the year.
So I find a good bottle of wine and a loaf of French bread to pack into my cute picnic basket lined with impressionistic fabric reminiscent of the paintings of Claude Monet…
I also pack a container of chicken salad and another container of broccoli salad
and the next thing I know we’re driving into the grounds of Blossom. It’s situated on rolling hills surrounded by the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, which protects 33,000 acres along the Cuyahoga River between Akron and Cleveland. This park is a great destination on Country Inn “Nature” Days.
We park the car, take a pleasant walk, and before we know it we’re here at the gate.
Some people bring lawn chairs from home, but Blossom rents chairs too and today we decide to take advantage of this service.
As Bill sets up our listening area lots of other people are already situated on the lawn. I decide to take a little walk around the grounds before the music begins.
There’s an art gallery on the premises so it’s fun to go inside and have a look. I enjoy a little art play myself every now and then so it’s good to see what other artists are doing.
And I’m not the only one who enjoys looking at art. Others are milling around the gallery too. How about you? When was the last time you were at an art museum or art gallery? Such places are great alternative destinations for other Country Inn “Culture” Days.
And remember I mentioned nature? Besides the fact that Blossom is situated on rolling hills surrounded by lovely old trees there is also a charming formal garden on the grounds with clipped boxwood and an assortment of lovely flowers. I love to stroll around in such places. Who wouldn’t? Very romantic indeed!
And Blossom has a gift shop too. It’s called the Bandwagon. I go inside to see what little treat I can find for myself. As a letter writer I always need picture post cards for you know what they say – one picture is worth a thousand words, and I find some nice postcards of Blossom here. I also find and purchase a box of note cards with the picture of Blossom that’s at the heading of this post, the picture used for Blossom’s opening. I’ll enjoy sending these cards to my many pen friends, and there’s more…
The gift shop has a wall of Cleveland Orchestra cd’s for sale. Wonderful! I love so many. Which cd shall I buy?
It’s a tough decision, but I come away with one of my very favorite symphonies, The New World. Do you know and like this work as much as I do?
Well, the concert will be starting soon so I work my way back to the lawn, my husband, and our picnic, but on the way I see lots of other happy people at picnic tables enjoying their supper, people like these nice ladies. I ask if I may take their picture for my post and they’re so sweet. They invite me to join them.
So join them I did, at least for a little while. See? There I am on the left. Cleveland people are so friendly. I’m sure if we had the time I would’ve gotten to know these gals quite well, well enough to invite them all to one of my next teas. But there wasn’t time for too much visiting. The music would be starting soon. I had to get back.
On the way back I noticed the little stand where coffee and wine are for sale, other things to nibble on too. You really don’t have to bring anything to Blossom concerts if you don’t want to, just yourself, and maybe a loved one for good company. Blossom provides all sorts of things for your pleasure.
Well, my scouting about was fun, but now for my picnic, some wine, and lots of wonderful music – Johann Sebastian Bach’s Suite No. 3 in D major, Joseph Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C major, Johann Christian Bach’s Sinfonia in G minor and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Symphony No. 31 (“Paris”) in D major.
The sun is going down and the crowd gets quiet. We sit back, feel the gentle Summer breeze, enjoy the scent of nature all around us (and the aroma of various delicacies in nearby picnic baskets) and the music begins. Ta Da! I wish I could share this music with you for it lifts the spirits. Its artistry and refinement becomes us. That’s how the beauty of art works for as the great composer George Frideric Handel said to King George I of England – “Milord, I should be sorry if I only entertained them. I wished to make them better.”
Good art truly makes us better.
Daylight fades and the scene is a twinkling of candles and stars. It’s been a lovely Country Inn “Culture” Day. This Country Inn Day, like all Country Inn Days, helps me step out of my regular routines and offers stimulation and refreshment. I’m glad you could come along with me in spirit for sharing doubles the joy.