My Country Inn Day in the Country

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As you may already know my Country Inn Days are days of escape from life’s usual routines. They are days I imagine my 1853 house to be an Inn for I just love Country Inns.  On my Inn Days I am Innkeeper, Inn Cook, Inn Maid, but most importantly Inn Guest.  I enjoy all sorts of lovely activities at my Inn just as I would if I were a guest at some other Inn.  Sometimes I entertain on Inn Days opening my Inn up to others.  I might host a tea or dinner,  but most Inn Days will involve some sort of outing.  It might be a short and simple outing –  a lunch out, a stroll through nature or through town, a visit to a book shop or a few local gift shops.  It might be an outing out of town to another city or country, but one of the reasons Inn Days are so satisfying is that I always operate exactly as I would if on a real vacation.

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Some Country Inn Day outings take me into the city.  I may visit hotels, museums, elegant shops, beautiful restaurants, tea houses. . . but other Inn Day outings take me into the country… and rightly so, for a Country Inn Day  should include time in the country some of the time.  If you are as fortunate as I am to live in a charming historic town between city and country you too could enjoy this variety in your outings.  I hope this is possible for you because variety is truly the spice of life. Our world offers so much to us.  It is for us to take advantage of these offerings.

So today I partake in a “Country” Country Inn Day. I’m not just going off to enjoy nature. I’m going back in time to enjoy a country setting of long ago.  I’m going to the Historic Hale Farm and Village.

Country Inn Days capitalize on imagination and visiting a historic farm and village gives me a chance to not only enjoy nature, but also to imagine I’m going back in time.  We live in modern times but it’s rather refreshing to slip back a hundred years or so every now and then.  If you agree you might like to join me on my outing today.

And we’re off!

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Hale farm and Village depicts rural life in Ohio’s Western Reserve from the time of Jonathan Hale’s arrival to the area in 1810.

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Here one can tour the very house Jonathan Hale built for his family.  I love old houses.  As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote in his poem Haunted Houses – “All houses wherin men have lived and died are haunted houses… Through the open doors the harmless phantoms on their errands glide, with feet that make no sound upon the floor.”  I walk through the house and yes, I can easily imagine people of long ago going about their daily tasks right here in the very rooms where I too am standing.

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I love walking out from the house and down the road.  There are no modern sites to be seen, only beautiful nature and country settings.  I wish you could get a whiff of the air.  It’s full of sweet scents of clover and grasses.

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I stroll down shady pathways.

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I enjoy babbling brooks.

The beauty of nature offers the same thrill to us today that it offered people long ago.  Maybe we can receive even more of a thrill from nature today because we do not necessarily indulge in  its beauty as often as we could (and should).

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I keep walking and come to the village.  This is a tract of land where historic buildings have been relocated so visitors can come and enjoy a variety of historic structures without needing to drive all over creation. This Greek Revival meetinghouse dates from 1852.  It was originally  occupied by Baptists, but later by Methodists.  Typically, meetinghouses were centrally located on a village green so this building looks right at home here in this little village.

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Liking old houses as I do, I particularly enjoy touring  the historic houses of this village.  There are many other structures here – a corn crib, sugar house, a land office,  law office, pottery barn and many other things, but it’s the houses I’m most interested in.  This is the Jagger House.  It was built in 1845 and I have particular interest in its interior because one of my old Hudson neighbors, Phil Keegan, a master stencil artist,  stenciled its interior walls reproducing its original design.

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This house, the Herrick House, built in 1845, is an outstanding example of a Greek Revival stone structure.  I learned of the 7,500 Western Reserve houses listed on the Ohio Historic Inventory, less than one half percent are square-cut stone structures like this one.  The stone is just beautiful!

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There are a number of other houses here, but my favorite house in the village is the Jonathan Goldsmith House. It is another Greek Revival house dating from 1830-1832.  I’m partial to this house because I once owned an 1829 house myself and this house reminds me of my old house. In fact, the flat stones making up the front porch of my old house are the same stones used in the basement of the Goldsmith house.  You see, my old house acquired these stones because we knew the right person.  It was the architect who worked for Hale Farm and Village.  We happened to be restoring our old house when the Goldsmith House was being moved to and set in its new location here in the village.

This house is named for its builder and architect, Jonathan Goldsmith.  Goldsmith is recognized as one of the finest architects in the Reserve. His structures include elaborate carvings and high quality construction.  This house is an excellent example of his work.  The Cleveland Museum of Art has one of Goldsmith’s beautiful entry doors. I admire it every time I visit the museum.

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I enjoy strolling in and out of the houses, but I also delight in the gardens.  I love an herb garden and I take time noticing just what’s growing in the herb gardens here.  I get ideas for my own herb garden back home.

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Now maybe you wouldn’t enjoy seeing the outhouse, but I sure do.  This one was built in 1850. An outhouse is sometimes known as the “necessary” or “privy”.  I’ve had my own experiences with an outhouse as a young girl.  My Dad was raised on a farm in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. As a little girl I would visit my Grandmother on that farm and back in those days there was no indoor bathroom.  I have distinct memories of visiting the outhouse there. You don’t forget a thing like that – especially its smell.

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My Dad had a very different childhood back in the day.  Besides having an outhouse he also went to school in a one room school house, so when I see this schoolhouse in the woods my imagination not only goes back to 1816, but also to my father’s boyhood days.

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I really feel like I’m going back into time. Talk about a Country Inn Day being a day of imagination!  My imagination, along with this outing, is taking me far away and to times long ago.

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I doubt my father’s teacher dressed like the lady I see, but the children back in the 1800’s must’ve enjoyed this scene every day.  This particular schoolhouse dates back to 1816.  I learned that log structures such as this were usually the first structures on the frontier and they were abandoned when their owners could afford to replace them with more modern frame buildings so they often became schoolhouses.  Did you know that?  I didn’t.

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As I continue to stroll the grounds of this historic village I run into many other people dressed in clothing of the early 1800’s.  I enjoy chatting with many of them – like the ladies  who are seated here. They are peeling apples in order to make apple butter.  The wood fire beneath their kettle adds a nice cozy scent to the air.

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 We speak about knitting and other feminine subjects just as ladies of the 1800’s might have done on a nice Autumn afternoon.

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It’s fun to see the colorful hens walking about.  When was the last time you saw a hen?  Actually, my Hudson neighbor has hens to provide her with fresh eggs and she’s given some of these eggs to me.  Gee, I’d love to have my own hens. I remember seeing such hens like these back on my grandmother’s farm all those years ago.  Once again sights here of the 1800’s are mixed with my own memories and  I’m filled with all sorts of feelings and emotions.  This Country Inn Day is really taking me away.

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To think I’m only a few miles from my town of Hudson, but looking around, I feel I’m deep in the country. The Hale Barn constructed in 1854 was built shortly before Jonathan Hale’s death. This Farm Barn is the focal point of the farmyard here.  I happen to have a barn at my 1853 Jonathan Brown House, but it’s nothing like this barn which is filled with early farm equipment and livestock.  My barn is filled with cars and garden supplies.

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I see sheep grazing in a field. If you need to calm down I suggest taking a walk where you can gaze upon bucolic scenes like this.

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And there’s nothing like watching a bunch of 200 pound pigs carrying on in their pig pen.

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I look at this fellow and a line of poetry comes to mind

Men (or pigs) look through the same bars

Some see mud and some see stars

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I can’t help getting poetic.  Nature does that to me.  It’s just so beautiful here.  They say for years, guests were drawn to the peace and isolation of the Hale Farm.  The grounds of Hale were breathtaking, with gardens, hedgerows, pastureland, farm animals, flowers, beehives and an abundance of fruit trees, mostly apples.

When Western Reserve Historical Society opened Hale Farm to the public in 1958, the Akron Beacon Journal invited readers to “leave the happy confusion and noise of Akron” for the peace, quiet and beauty of the Jonathan Hale Homestead Museum in what was known then as “Ira Valley.”

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Well, that was very good advice because time in the country at a historic farm and village is a terrific getaway for a Country Inn Day or any day you might be seeking a delightful change of pace and a great big dose of natural beauty.

My next Country Inn Day just might take me to New York City, to the center of Manhattan, or to a lovely Spa, or maybe to a real Country Inn.  It’s fun to mix things up.  But today’s Country Inn Day in the country at a historic farm and village was just what I needed.  I believe God wants us to live abundantly.  He gives us so much to appreciate and enjoy.  It’s for us to take advantage of all these blessings and today’s Country Inn Day was certainly a blessing to me. I hope you treat yourself to Country Inn Days, or whatever you call the days in which you step out of life’s usual routines and into days of exploration and adventure.

Till next we meet

Live richly!

 

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