Sunday, July 31, 2011


We got up fairly early this morning and Elaine made us breakfast.  Then we tried to decide what we were going to do.  We knew we wanted to go to the Craftsman Farms, but that didn't open till noon.  So we decided to go to the Ledgewood Mall first since that was on the way to the farm.

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I needed new shoes for work and I found them at Payless Shoes there.  I have a Payless a few blocks from my house, but I can never find what I want.  I always find them in North Jersey.  Go figure.  We visited a few other stores and I got a couple of Christmas gifts.  I always start my Christmas shopping this week.  Then it was time to head for Craftsman Farms.

This is the 1911 home of Gustav Stickley, one of the patriarchs of the American Arts and Crafts Movement.

The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms is the living laboratory of visionary industrialist Gustav Stickley, whose furniture designs (sometimes called "mission"), home designs, and publication of The Craftsman magazine influenced the way Americans looked at decorative arts and architecture at the turn of the last century.

We were allowed to take pictures outside, but not inside.  The rooms were incredible.  If you want to see them, they are on the website.  Click here to see.  Gustav Stickley furnished his home with furniture and accessories designed and crafted not only by his own firm, but by some of the leading craft shops of the early twentieth century.

Stickley had very strong ideas of how things should be.  And NO ONE could talk to or reason with him once his mind was made up.  Even when his business manager told him he needed to change the way he did things or he would go bankrupt he wouldn't listen.  And so he went bankrupt.  But he also had ideas that were way ahead of their time.  What an interesting man.  I didn't know much about him before this visit and now I want to get a biography and read about him.

Stickley electrified his home.  This was unusual in 1911.  But he didn't believe in central heat.  Huh????  So he has huge fireplaces in each room (the downstairs sitting room has two -- one each end) with brass hoods over them.  The brass would heat up and cast the heat into the room.  There are holes with brass covers in the inside stone fireplaces.  As you can see here he also cut holes in the chimney outside.  This would let in the fresh air.  I'm not exactly sure why.  I think it made the fire burn brighter and gave fresh air to the room.  Each brass hood had a quote engraved on it that was intended to make you introspective.  All the furniture was made in his factory or was made by someone of his day with the same leanings.  Even the piano was made in his factory.

Stickley had over 600 acres of land.  There are 31 acres left that were not sold off to developers for malls and housing.  These stone pilars are planters that were in his garden.  He had orchards and a vegetable garden surrounded by hedges and flowers.  Strange.

After the tour we wandered around taking pictures.  Here is Elaine sitting on the stone bench in front of the house.

And here I am in front of one of the many unusual trees.

Many of the trees were twisted into interesting shapes.

And very tall trees.

All in all it was very interesting and I'm really glad I got a chance to see it.

After we left, we went home and changed and then went to the Jefferson Diner for dinner.  We had been wanting to go there for awhile.

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It was featured on the Food Network show "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" with Guy Fieri.  It is across the street from where my sister works, just about 10 minutes from her house.

She had Moussaka and I had Chicken Francaise.  We both had cream of butternut squash soup.  Let me tell you, it was the best food I have ever eaten.  And I mean EVER.  And the portions were huge.  We ended up taking half of it home and having the leftovers last night.

So it turned out to be a busy, but wonderful day.

Next stop on our itinerary is Chester, NJ.

1 comment:

  1. It has been a lot of fun following you and your sister, while on your vacation. What a great time you must be having!


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