I registered for Deb Peterson’s Historic Foodways Symposium
back in December (2009). It’s today (Saturday). I also signed
up, and paid extra, to participate in an open hearth cooking
workshop on the Friday prior (yesterday). Then came the
threat of yet another snowstorm. An e-mail was sent this
past Wednesday to all attendees stating that the Symposium
was definitely on, and that, despite the impending storm,
“driving will not be a problem,” “roads will be clear,” and,
oh, there’d be no refunds for those who cancel. This brief
missive ended with, “Don’t let a little snow keep you from
the foodie event of the year!” Whew. Disaster averted.
So, Thursday afternoon, during the falling rain/snow/rain
glop, I boarded a train and left the amazingly clear streets
and slushy sidewalks of NYC.
The train was on time, and it was clear sailing the entire trip.
I even noticed conditions of the landscape along the way: snow
on grassy areas; streets good ‘n clear (although a bit wet).
I arrived at the hotel in short order. Streets were remarkably clear,
no problems whatsoever. I checked in, and as I finished, I’m told
that a message is waiting for me. Oh? Yes: “Friday’s hearth cooking
class has been cancelled.”
SAY WHAT?!? So I didn’t need to come down today (Thursday)?
I could’ve waited until tomorrow? I could’ve saved myself the added
hotel expense? What will I do, stuck in this place out in the middle
of nowhere for an entire day? What will I do about meals? Seemed
if I could get down here with no hassle…. And then there was that
e-mail…how if I cancel…what about you?! dagnabit
Oh well…whaddaya gonna do? Just bide my time ’til Saturday, I guess.
So, Friday morning I went down to breakfast. Not many people around.
I figured, I’d eat, then go back up to the room and read or watch TV.
Two things that I can do at home, BTW! No need to come down here!
However…the tide began to turn. As I was eating, a gal came over
to speak to me. Was I part of the Symposium group? Yes! Well,
so was she and two others. We then sat together and chatted
non-stop about this, shared information about that, and had
the most enjoyable and worthwhile conversations. Soon we
were joined by two others, and a larger group formed. Time
flew by unnoticed. The cancelled cooking class was all but
forgotten (almost, but not quite!). Next thing you know,
the sun was shining and the skies had cleared. So we all
decided to bundle up and venture out. There was mention
of an antique shop nearby. Cool. Let’s go! We did, and,
wow. What a find!
The shop is housed in an 18th century stone barn which sits
on a lovely little piece of property. Together with a house and
several other outbuildings, it presented a snowy scene worthy
of a picture postcard. We were met by Clarence L. Prickett, who
runs the shop with his two sons. A simply amiable fellow, he
eagerly showed us the different pieces of 18th and early 19th
century American furniture within the shop. Everything was
just exquisite! Chairs, highboys, dining tables, card tables,
paintings, mirrors, grandfather clocks, and more. Mr. Prickett
warmly offered information and answered questions regarding
any object. We, of course, each selected our favorite piece, all
to be purchased, naturally, with our next (somewhat illusive)
A page from the newly-printed 2010 catalog of C.L. Prickett
Fine Authenticated American Antiques (emphasis on “fine”!):
Of course, we asked Mr. Prickett about the history of the shop
and its building, as well as of the house and the property as
a whole. We spoke to him both in groups and individually.
The next thing you know, he is graciously asking if we’d like
to see the inside of his own home. Would we! YES!! And so,
off we went, on a most wonderful tour of the accompanying
Built around 1820, Mr. Prickett and his late wife Laura (who sadly
passed just recently), bought it and the surrounding 23 acres
some 50-plus years ago. Much like the barn, it is filled with
beautiful antiques of every sort. Again, he shared information
about various pieces and answered any query we had. Of course,
what particularly caught our eye (being hearth cooks, all) was
the large former cooking hearth in the dining room. Well, that,
and the paintings done by Mr. Prickett, himself, which hang
throughout the home.
I think it safe to say, we all felt so privileged to have been given
such a personal tour. It was simply a lovely home, shown to us
by an even lovelier man. What a treat. What began as a dull and
awful day was made right. HUZZAH!
Our illustrious group, Michelle, Jen, Jeni, Carol, and Linda:
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