Looking for an outing that is close to home but just as stimulating as going to the city?
By Janice Llanes Fabry
Looking for an outing that is close to home but just as stimulating as going to the city? Need to entertain houseguests or perhaps get them out of your hair for an afternoon? Have them hop in the car, or take the train north to Greenwich or Cos Cob, where art, culture, and history await.
The Bruce Museum, at 1 Museum Drive just off exit 3 on I-95, is brimming with activity. “Tale of Two Cities: New York & Beijing” is on display all summer long. The exhibit offers a visual pairing of artists from two great cities, comparing, and contrasting provocative works of art side by side. The inspiring show evokes their respective urban environments.
In one pairing, New York artist Joan Snyder utilized oil, acrylic, burlap, silk, berries, herbs, and dried flowers in her Silk & Berries. Her counterpart, Wei Jia, utilized traditional Chinese materials, such as xuan paper with gouache and ink, in his muted No. 12139 collage. Some of the other artists are represented by existing or historic artworks, new pieces, or site-specific work. All of the selections illustrate interesting parallels between the artists’ themes and techniques.
If you are drawn to sea creatures, “Extreme Habitats: Into the Deep Sea” explores their survival strategies and the technology that researchers employ to record their observations. The exhibit runs through early November.
Docent-led tours of the Bush-Holley Historic Site in Cos Cob are rewarding anytime. The 1730 waterfront mansion has been well preserved and the house is full of history. The New Nation rooms of the Bush family reflect the era immediately following the American Revolution, between 1790 and 1825, and the Cos Cob Art Colony Rooms of the Holley family give viewers a taste of the late 1800s.
The site was a boardinghouse for the Cos Cob Art Colony from 1890 to 1920. American Impressionists John H. Twachtman and J. Alden Weir offered art classes here. The picturesque village attracted the likes of Childe Hassam, Theodore Robinson, and Charles Ebert.
Next door, the Greenwich Historical Society’s Storehouse Gallery is featuring “Greenwich’s Great Estates” through August. It’s a worthwhile exhibition of photographs, clothing, and objects from 1880 to 1930. The exhibit captures the extravagant lifestyle of the American elite in Greenwich during that period.
If your guests prefer remaining closer to Greenwich Avenue, several churches in the area are listed in the National Register of Historic Places and boast rich histories and architecture. Atop Putnam Hill, The Second Congregational Church at 139 East Putnam Avenue was founded in 1705. Its lacework spire rising 212 feet is hard to miss and has served as a landmark to many a sailor on the Sound. The American Gothic style “cathedral of the Connecticut shore” was designed by Leopold Eidletz. The intricate stained-glass windows and the colorful Italianate chancel are striking. Pick up the helpful “A Look Around” pamphlet on the way in.
Top off the outing with lunch or dinner at one of the many restaurants on or right off Greenwich Avenue. It will save you from cooking yet another meal and your guests will return home completely satiated.