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Monday, August 24, 2020

Beacon Bits -- Inner and Outer Beauty

Last week, I had the chance for yet another summer day's exploration in the Hudson Valley by scheduling an outing that has been on hold for a while, long before this ongoing pause in our lives --  a tour of Manitoga, the home and property of the designer Russel Wright, in Garrison. Tailored to a small group with all the safety precautions of masks and distance, it was the perfect day to invite a friend to join this docent-led, up-close and personal look-see around the exquisite grounds designed and nurtured by Russel Wright. Walking up the path to his home, a most unique hideaway overlooking the forest and the pond that replaced the quarry that once existed in this locale, proved that commitment, passion and the capacity to have your visiting friends help out with moving the boulders around with you, could indeed get the job done over time. It is a loving investment in what is now, an idyllic piece of property and an historic homestead that continues to nurture artists-in-residence with music and art, which melds with the setting, and feels that its legacy has a unique niche into the future. This place truly has a timeless feel to it.

We know that a picture is worth a thousand words, so rather than write several thousand words that have already been written elsewhere about the designer and his home, I will just share some spontaenous snapshots that captured the mid-day amble through the woods, house, and  design studio, something that I would hope to return to again and again, so long as I stay nimble on my feet to navigate the stone steps and passages that are part of this serene landscape. There is a reason the website carries several caveats about the terrain; take good care.

Food for thought:  It always feels like 'a beautiful day in the neighborhood' when you can venture into the past that has been preserved for the present. The simplicity of the dinnerware design that Wright brought to his creative work was prescient as was his conservancy of the land he purchased and developed as home. The utilitarian nature of the functional liviing space and the inspired setting of his design studio is something to take with you as you leave the sanctuary known as Manitoga, from the Algonquin meaning the "place of great spirit". It has left me with the motivation to continue to create inner space that is mirrored in the simple form of the outer space, a good reminder during this time as we move towards the shortening days and lengthening nights; we all need a good place to hunker down and be still. Russel Wright was a role model in our midst for these trying times of quarantine. May we find our Manitoga at home.

1 comment:

  1. Incredible!...I always wondered what was at that Manitoga train stop. I hope to visit soon.