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An Old Lyme Gem

We are 20 minutes from Old Lyme, a quiet, unassuming town on the Connecticut shoreline. Old Lyme harbors several little surprises, one of which is the Florence Griswold Museum. Who was Florence Griswold? The internet tells us:

Florence Griswold (generally called Miss Florence) herself was born in 1850 to an established Old Lyme, Connecticut family. Her father was a ship captain when Old Lyme was a New England hub of shipbuilding and seafaring trade. The Griswolds owned a 12 acre estate and enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle, until the United States experienced economic changes and the shifting of commerce toward more modern forms of transport. To make ends meet, the Griswold home was at first used as a school and then a boardinghouse, with Miss Florence eventually being the only member of her family left to run the roost.

A visit from artist Henry Ward Ranger in 1899 brought new energy and life to the Griswold house. Ranger was searching for a spot to cultivate a new school of natural and landscape painting that would establish American artists on an equal footing with their European counterparts — and he found it at Old Lyme. Other painters like Childe Hassam, Willard Metcalf and Matilda Browne (to name just a few) joined the group, which ultimately became known as the Lyme Art Colony. Old Lyme’s beautiful surroundings, the lively presence of the artists, and Miss Florence’s total devotion to her guests and their work proved to be a wonderful combination and the colony thrived into the 1920s.

Now her home is little treasure and a museum that houses American impressionist art. Presently (for the month of October 2009) they are exhibiting the Wee Faerie Village and Julie and I went to check it out. We were captivated.

Here are just some of the Faerie residences that local artists created for the special exhibit:

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This one had a water wheel.

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You have to look closely here.

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These photos don't do the "wee" houses justice. They are worth a visit to Old Lyme.


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 18, 2009 5:47 PM.

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