Monday, May 5, 2014

Inspiration Everywhere

We had such a wonderful trip to New York. Not only was the weather perfect and the tulips blooming, we also saw some great art and theater. There was inspiration around every corner. Between walking everywhere and enjoying the cultural treasures of this city, this trip was one of the best. Here are some highlights:

Seeing the breathtaking revival of "Cabaret"starring Alan Cumming and Michelle Williams

Alan Cumming was born to play this role. He is outstanding as the emcee. The play is so different from the film and for days afterwards I couldn't stop thinking about it. Tremendous performances, a haunting story, and a chilling ending -- all came together for an unforgettable experience.  

Hanging out at Pierpont Morgan's study in The Morgan Library

This bastion of literature and old New York is one of my favorite spots to visit

We saw this letter from Charles Dickens to Wilkie Collins saying he was changing the ending of "Great Expectations"!

And this fabulous exhibition of "The Little Prince"

Did you know that this French tale was written and published in New York City during the two years that Antoine de Saint-Exupery spent here at the height of World War II?

Basking in the beauty at the Frick (always!)

And visiting this painting of  Lady Hamilton by George Romney

After reading The Volcano Lover by Susan Sontag years ago, I became fascinated by Emma Hamilton and the love affair she had with the British naval hero Lord Nelson. She was a famous beauty and her romance with Nelson was the biggest scandal of the time.

Being wowed by one of the vast halls at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Learning about the history of books at The Grolier Club. This organization was founded in 1884 and is the country's oldest society for bibliophiles. We saw the The Dean of American Printers exhibition.

Reading this at a photography exhibition at the Met
Paris really was where it was at and Gertrude Stein was at the center of it all.

 Sitting on a bench at the Met and gazing at this

Shopping for books and finding this gem at Crawford Doyle, my favorite old-fashioned New York bookstore

As well as this Bloomsbury treasure -- Vanessa Bell designed the beautiful dust jacket 

Walking past this amazing place -- I named it the "Daffodil House" -- on one of our walks

And indulging in the best french fries at Balthazar!

When we got home we were greeted by this:

Our new rose bush is starting to make its way up the arbor. Have you ever noticed that when you go away, even for just a short time, the garden seems to have performed miracles while you were gone?

P.S.  And this weekend a little something magical happened in West Hollywood:

And it happened so fast. I was there and they were there. The owner of the restaurant knows I am a big fan of Downton Abbey -- a piece of information he decided to share with this group who happened to be sitting right next to me. Prior to this I had been stealing furtive glances in their direction to confirm in my mind that yes, they were indeed members of the cast of "Downton Abbey." The next thing I knew we were all talking and this happened! These four charming Brits (Rob James-Collier, Phyllis Logan, Joanne Froggatt and Sophie McShera) were in town promoting their hit show and were kind enough to take a photo with me. They could not have been friendlier. Rob James-Collier who plays Thomas asked me which one of these four was my favorite character. I had to admit it was Mrs. Hughes. After all, doesn't she hold the downstairs staff together and keep Mr. Carson in check? Phyllis Logan plays Mrs. Hughes and she is beautiful. As is each member of this group. What a magical night it was!


  1. How perfectly fabulous!!
    That photograph should be in every Christmas card you send next year!!

  2. What a fantastic Downton encounter! I bet it's easy for them to go ingonito since they look so different from their characters. I agree with what Pamela said, that photo should be your Christmas card this year!

  3. Everything is lovely, but I have to agree, that last photo is most special. I hope they appreciated getting to meet you. How perfect when something like that 'just happens'.

  4. I can't believe that's Mrs Hughes! She looks so much younger in "real life." When I saw your photo on instagram, I assumed she was a new cast member!

    What a wonderful trip. I would really like to see the new version of Cabaret. Sounds fantastic. Oooh and I really love George Romney portraits. He really made Lady Hamilton look rather adorable.

  5. Oh your trip sounds wonderful. You always seek out the most interesting spots. I am going to echo the Christmas card comment. What an exciting encounter. Have a great week!

    Your looks beautiful!

  6. You just sent chills down my entire BODY!YOU met them????How absolutely WONDERFUL!

  7. Inspiration, indeed, Sunday. Of course, I just spent 25 minutes finding a bit more about Mrs. Bates, even more impressed with Phyllis Logan's acting. A delightful post, in every way.

  8. What a wonderful be part of Downton Abbey. I am so happy it has been so successful. How nice they were so personable and approachable. I respect them even more!

  9. So exciting for you to meet some of the Downton crew!! I love the photo - it looks like you've known them forever.
    Your NY photos are awesome, too. I love the daffodil house and your book finds are beautiful.
    Thanks for sharing it all with us!

  10. Your trip sounds and looks like perfection - you hit NY at just the right week it seems as well. I've never read The Volcano Lover, but your post has inspired me to. We're going this summer, and have tickets for Cabaret - and so glad that you loved it. We do live in an area where we see lots of celebrities, but I think I would have gone nuts seeing the Downton characters. What a fabulous photo! Makes me love them all even more.

  11. How cool, the photo with the Downton Abbey folks. At first I thought it was you and your family. "Mrs. Hughes," by the way, appears in the final episode of the wonderful British series "Frost" (about Inspector Frost), which I highly recommend.

  12. How fun that you got to meet those Downton stars--and that they were so nice! Yay!

  13. It's so fun to be at the right place at the right time! And, you look darling!