June 18, 2011
Funny story… I visited the Bellamy-Ferriday House Museum in the middle of December while it was snowing. As you’d expect, the gardens were dormant and drab. I took some pictures of the gardens and thought to myself, “Eh, that’s good enough.”
But it wasn’t. Not for me and not for CTMQ readers anyway. And seeing as though these are historic gardens, I had to visit them properly in the middle of June sometime.
So that’s exactly what I did.
I arrived after doing some other stuff in the area and was intercepted by a kindly docent on the front lawn of the house. She informed me that no, I certainly could not just go traipsing through the tulips without paying full fare for the museum as well.
But… but I’m the CTMQ guy! I feigned left and bolted right. I had to get past her and to the historic gardens! She deftly foresaw my fake-out and tackled my by the ankles. Never mess with docents.
I’ll let you decide how much of that story is real, but know this: I got to see the gardens for free, if only for a few minutes. So what’s so special about these gardens? Let’s read what the fine Connecticut Historic Garden people have to say about it:
Mrs. Ferriday began reshaping the outdoor spaces by designing a formal parterre garden, introducing a wide variety of fragrant trees, shrubs and perennials, sweeping lawns and evergreens to provide more privacy from the road. Following World War II and her mother’s death, Caroline continued the stewardship of the property realizing that she “had Bethlehem under my skin.” Under her care the rose and lilac collections grew and the property was further refined as a breathtaking combination of natural and man-made beauty. …
The plant collection includes historic roses, peonies, lilacs and numerous perennials, as well as unusual specimens of trees and flowering shrubs.
I should note that I felt that since I had already paid full price for the museum in the winter during the Christmas Town Festival, when the upper floors of the museum are closed, my slick-talking the docent to see the gardens for (literally) 3 minutes was justified.
The garden was beautiful and it seemed the perfect place for rich people to gather up on the terraced lawn overlooking the garden to sip some cocktails talk about making the world a better place.