I arrived to a pitcher of water infused with nasturtiums and herbs. Flowers were tucked in the outdoor shower -- a hanging pot by the curtain, a single lily beside the soap. I currently live in the American South, which I will defend against some of the critique and all of the bigotry it faces from the rest of America, but subjectively my thickest roots run on a higher latitude. It is northern hospitality I most love and miss. There was something about those quiet, elegant details, offered without effusion or small talk, that made me feel like I'd stepped into a life lived with art.
I had. I was staying with Catherine Dianich Gruver, a photographer who owns a gallery and lives in a picture. Dummerston, Vermont is one of those villages unique to New England -- there is hardly anything there, but everything there is perfect. Kitty-corner from Catherine's house is a historic grange, while a Greek Revival church looms across the intersection. Catherine's own antique home is surrounded by gardens, including some planned by her daughter Sarah, who interned with the British National Trust. As with most private properties in Vermont, lines of tubing ran between the maple trees, a promise of sugaring when the sap runs. A few miles down the road is the oldest covered bridge in Vermont, while a drive in the other direction will bring you to the picturesque and elite Putney School of Kennedy fame. Over all reigns Cooper the Golden Retriever, noble of mien and warm of heart.
For more information on Catherine's Brattleboro, VT gallery, click here. Catherine could connect you with Richard Foye's pottery (mentioned in a previous post), with other fine art she tastefully curates, or with the best ways to take in southern Vermont. She told me that when the book I'm researching comes out, she'd be happy to host a signing. I'd be mad not to take her up on it.