Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Down Memory Lane at Alexandra Stoddard's Cottage

Me visiting author Alexandra Stoddard's home for her "Happiness Weekend"
 May, 2006
Photo taken by my husband Steve Bechen

Yesterday I promised you a virtual tour down Memory Lane of my trip last year to visit my favorite contemporary lifestyle author, Alexandra Stoddard.

I feel blessed that I met Alexandra in Omaha, NE in 1994. At that time, I had read her book, Living a Beautiful Life, and was simply enchanted with what she had to say. Her beautiful way of writing spoke to my spirit, and I have read and re-read every one of her 25+ books! As a writer myself, she's my very favorite author....I treasure my autographed copies of her books, and I also treasure the postcards and notes she has sent to me over the years. I have always been a voracious reader, have an extensive personal library, and I can honestly say Alexandra's way of looking at the world, writing about it, and living in it, have motivated and inspired me like no other book than the Bible!

Alexandra asked my hubby when I was in Stonington why I love her books so much. Answer: creative genius. To continually view the world and look for grace and beauty amidst much chaos and pain that exists in the world is a balm for the spirit, and a good way to live. And I'm not alone. Others at the Happiness Weekend made similar comments that her books have helped them through rough patches in life time and again. Add to that her love for color and flowers and all things simple yet sumptuous, and I'm a fan!

Enjoy the photo/journal tour!

We arrived at the darling village of Stonington, CT
after flying into Providence, RI. Alexandra's house, a.k.a. her "cottage"
is shown above. She lives right in the heart of the village on a sweet little street.

Hubby Steve took this photo of Stonington village, which looks out
onto Long Island Sound. It rained for 7 days straight, but that
did not deter us from having a wonderfully sunny time!

Here's a typical house in Stonington. Charm abounds there!

The buildings on the main street of Stonington are
all painted lively colors and house fun shops.

We went to services at the dear little stone
Episcopal church in Stonington. The people were
friendly and welcoming and I felt like I was
back in my childhood Lutheran church pew!

Skipper's Dock is a favorite place of Alexandra's
and we had a wonderful hot steaming bowl of
Clam Chowder there.

Hubby Steve and I adored the beautiful
floral motif throughout Alexandra's warm and
welcoming cottage.

One evening we all went to a fun restaurant where
the room we ate in sat over a bridge and we could see
the river swirling below. Fun!

Alexandra's foyer welcomed all with her quilt
collection and colorful art.

As one man said as we enjoyed their cottage
living room, "After reading about her town and
cottage in her books, it seems surreal to be here!"

We had fun at the book signing in their colorful
dining room. Both Alexandra and her dear husband
Peter are writers.

Alexandra's colorful kitchen is a tribute to her love of
the color blue.

Her charming tiny backyard was beautiful in the rain.

We stayed at the Inn at Stonington,
where Alexandra gave her talks. It was elegant and
charming and the staff was beyond gracious. Victoria
called us "backdoor guests" by the time we left on the
third day.

A sweet corner of Alexandra's cottage living room
shows some paintings of her favorite artist,
Roger Muhl. He infuses light into his wonderful art.
I have always admired his paintings in her books, but
seeing them in person left me spellbound. The luminous quality
was simply striking and stunning.

We're looking out Alexandra's cottage kitchen window
onto her patio. She danced a jig in front of the geranium
window boxes as they make her so happy.
One of her wonderful books is called Choosing Happiness
and she does so by surrounding herself with beautiful
things, sites, and people.

Alexandra writes at this darling table on her patio sometimes,
which looks out onto Stonington Harbor.

Here I stand with Steve in front of her lovely
cottage fireplace and another of Roger Muhl's
luminously lovely paintings.

With Alexandra in her kitchen...she loves bright
colors and wears them to make her happy. My personal motto
has always been, "On your worst days look your best."
I am inspired by, and have learned much from her about color.

Alexandra's cottage dining room is lovely.
A hydrangea tablecloth graced the table. She is a fan
of blue hydrangeas and I am a fan of the bright pink ones!

Alexandra and Peter in their dining room with their books.
This is my favorite photo of them. So happy, so sincere.
So colorful! Just like them.

I'm sitting in my favorite room in Alexandra's cottage...
her writing room! She writes often about her favorite
writing table, her pen collection, her pretty stamps, and about
writing while she watches the sailboats in Stonington harbor.
Writing bliss!

I hope you enjoyed the tour! Alexandra and Peter are having another Happiness Weekend this November at their cottage if you'd like to go....I can't make it this year, but tell her I sent you and that I said hello!

'Til Next Time!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

lovely, thank you! I have her "Choosing Happiness" book by my bedside always, I read passages that I have read again and again, I find it very down to earth, practical, but somehow with beautiful thoughts on everyday situations, I have just ordered two more books, they will also go on my bed side:-)