Way out West

My whole family is out at my brother’s house in Rhinebeck, New York, not very far west at all really, but clearly beyond the known world according to the satirical (but often accurate) Boston-centric map below.

Not sure how to attribute this map; it shows up in several places and I don’t know whose original idea it is:  step forward if it’s yours!

I always orient myself to locations through architecture, and I thought I’d showcase some “western” examples of some of my favorite Salem houses.  In a post from a couple of weeks ago, the Down East Dilletante reminded me of Santarella, an amazing house deep in the “land of dragons”, and so I thought I would visit it on the way to New York.  I have a distant memory of seeing this house long ago but had forgotten how charming it is:  the ultra “storybook” house, built in the Berkshire village of Tyringham in the 1920s by British sculptor Henry Hudson Kitson.  I wrote about Salem’s storybook house in a post from last winter, and I can see a basic similarity in the structures with their rolling thatch-like roofs, but Santarella clearly lifts the fantasy style to a whole new level.  I took these pictures on the cold and wet day before Thanksgiving, but somehow the weather heightens the “gingerbread” quality of what is essentially an elaborate asphalt roof.

Santarella from the front and its rear towers; Salem’s more restrained storybook house.

Even beyond the land of dragons is Rhinebeck, an old Dutch colonial town in the middle of the Hudson River Valley.  Rhinebeck is a beautiful little village of streets lined with amazing houses which are always striking to me for their decidedly non-New England details.  I’ll show some of my favorites in a later post but for today, just one.  My brother and his partner have a full house for the holidays, so my family and I are staying in the village at the Beekman Arms, one of the oldest inns in America.  Actually we’re staying down the street a bit at the Delamater Inn houses annex of the Beekman, centered around Andrew Jackson Davis’s 1844 Delamater House, built in the universal (or at least American) Gothic Revival (or Carpenter’s Gothic) style that transcended regional architectural designs.

The main building of the Beekman Arms, Delamater House (1844), and the Brooks House in Salem (1851), based on a design of Andrew Jackson Downing.

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