Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Trip to 'Stan Hywet Hall' in Akron

Yesterday, Mom and Dad took us out for our birthday. It wasn't actually on our birthday, but the weather yesterday was much nicer. We ended up going to Stan Hywet Hall in Akron. The two of us had been dying to go up there for ages now. We had gone on a field trip with TLC about ten years ago, but that was a long time ago. So, Mom figured that this would be a great surprise. Elizabeth actually didn't figure out where we were going until we pulled in! :)

They let you take self-guided tours now. That was really nice as we could go through at our own pace. Mom and Dad got a year-long pass up there, so we are really hoping to go back soon. It was nice and inspirational for our novel, so Lizzy is going to take her sketchbook next time.

The house was built by the co-founder of Goodyear Tires for his family to use as a Summer home. They began construction in 1912 and finished at the end of 1915. It is a Tudor-Revival style Hall furnished with reproductions of Tudor style furnishings --- most of them made around 1915. The family that built the place was keen on British style, so they paid for an architect, interior designer and gardener to reproduce what they liked in England. They actually bought much of the furnishings and decorations in England and shipped them to Ohio.

One of my favorite things in the house was the carved trim work in one of the front rooms. It was made of a dark wood and carved like forest leaves and berries. Squirrels and birds were all over the trim eating the berries. We couldn't take a picture of it, so that's one of the things that Elizabeth is going to sketch next time. Another of my favorite things was a spot in the library. Mr. Seiberling (the man who built the place) sat in this certain chair by one of the bookshelves to read. All the while he would be smoking a cigar, so he would lay his burning cigar on the edge of the shelf. There was a whole little row of burnt shelf edge. It was kind of cool to see it. Sounds funny actually writing it down, but it kind of made the house more "real".

One of the things that was so cool about the whole Hall was the fact that it was so "lived in". All of the furniture had obviously been well used and loved, so it gave the feeling of real people living there --- not just a showcase house that you can't imagine anybody living in. As far as rooms, the Breakfast room, the Billiard room, the Office and the "Older Boys'" room were my favorites. I just love the dark wood that was so common in Tudor style --- not to mention the leaded glass windows. In the Billiards room there were the most amazing window seats that were probably almost three feet deep. Window seats were actually all throughout the house. They had gorgeous velvet pillows on them that have faded over time. It made them look nice and inviting.

It was quite interesting to tour a house that was lived in from the 1910s through the 1950s. We owned almost all the same "things" that were in there, particularly the framed prints and the kitchen utensils. Quite funny really to see so many things that we take for granted displayed as old "museum" pieces.

The weather turned out to be just perfect, and we walked in the garden for a bit --- and took some pictures. Mom and Dad had found a perfect place to take us to Dinner. It's called Mulligan's Pub and Grill. Very much like a Ruby Tuesday or Applebee's. The big difference was that this place had a vegetarian menu! Wow. It was really fun. We had fried mushrooms and cheese sticks, french fries and loaded veggie burgers. Boy, was it fun.

That's Elizabeth in the photo on the left. Isn't she cute?! I don't know why some of the above photos appear out of focus. They look fine if you click on them to see them full size.

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