Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Delightful, Delectable Brattleboro!

Carolyn and I spent several days in delightful Brattleboro in July.  We stayed in the roomy (which we promptly proceeded to fill with clutter) 'purple room' at the historic Latchis Hotel.  From our large front windows we could view the Connecticut River, bridges, New Hampshire mountains, and old train station (now a very good art musueum; closed, unfortunately, during our visit).  The art deco hotel, whose website motto is "It's Artful; It's Downtown," has a beautiful old theatre where movies and live performances are held.  The rates are very reasonable, a nice continental breakfast is available in the corner lobby.  The staff were wonderful!

Brattleboro is a thriving small city in Southern Vermont and provides a lot of nice walking through various parks and neighborhoods, plus lovely window shopping on Main Street.  One of the first shops I always head for is Delectable Mountain (display windows below), a shop like no other in the world!  The shop, which caters to fiber artists, designers, dollmakers and more, has been around for decades.  The owner is a trip!, and really knowledgable about textiles, jewelry, buttons, and everything she carries in the shop.  The way that items are displayed is very clever; for example, using stemware to create small glass shelves on which jewelry is displayed.  Buttons (antique and new) are everywhere in small glass plates and bowls.  I usually spend at least an hour perusing the button and antique trim offerings!  Then it's on to the gorgeous collection of fabrics.  Do not try to hurry your way through this shop!

A display in one of the Delectable Mountain windows, these enchanting porcelain dolls:

Delectable Mountain business card:

Our parents, Lulu and Arthur, were married in Brattleboro in July, 1941, at the 'House of Flowers Tourist Home.'  I don't remember why they went to Brattleboro, as they lived and worked in Hartford.  Probably there were a lot of elopements during World War II.  Even though their wedding predates the war, people knew a war was coming.  When Arthur graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Lulu remembered the speaker telling the graduates they would all be in uniform within a year. 

Lulu told me the evening they eloped she was waiting for Arthur in front of her office building.  A friend stopped by and asked if she wanted to go out for a drink, to which she replied she couldn't as she had a date with Arthur.  So secretive!  After they returned to Hartford Lulu continued to live with her sisters until an apartment could be found.  Her sister, Marie, saw the wedding announcement in the newspaper!

This amazing 'House of Flowers' is still on Main Street in Brattleboro!  Though the building looks in great condition, sadly, store fronts have been added and extend the front of the building to the sidewalk.  Eeek, I think one of them is a sub shop!  Carolyn and I wanted to find out more about the house, so we went across the street to the public library (old library photo below; the current library is newer).  In the local history section we looked through a couple of notebooks and found several pages relating to the house.  It was built by George Dowley in the late 1880's.  Mr. Dowley was president of the Vermont National Bank. 

The building, over the years, had many owners and tenants (Mr. and Mrs. Dowley had no children), including, naturally, a florist shop, Western Union offices, New Method Dry Cleaning, law offices, etc., and from 1937 to 1947, the 'House of Flowers Tourist Home.'  Presumably the hosts of the tourist home, Carl and Mary Hopkins, were also JP's and married many couples during the war years.  Lulu said that after she and Art were married their wedding dinner consisted of hamburgers at a local bar in town!

Brattleboro has several antique shops, and new and used book shops!  Carolyn and I sometimes race each other to the knitting and needlwork sections of used book stores!  Here is a charming book I found at one of the shops:

The Tasha Tudor Museum is in West Brattleboro, just a few miles from downtown.  There was a wonderful exhibit there of several dresses that were collected and / or made by Tasha Tudor.  They were beautiful examples of the mid 19th century style of dress that she loved to wear.  The museum is small, and the curator was on hand to give us a personal tour of the museum and costume exhibit.  Membership in the museum includes a lovely, color newsletter published two times a year.

One of the wall panels on our floor at the Latchis Hotel.  Please note the shiny spots, presumably made by a juvenile male staying at the hotel! 

Want more information about Brattleboro?  Click here.