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Limestone Mansion

Our host arranged for a little tour of the nearby Limestone Mansion Bed & Breakfast inn next door. This very impressive Victorian house looms just outside the back yard of our courtesy parking spot, and I was immediately intrigued by the Italianate style. It reminded me of an 1855 Italianate style Victorian we used to own many years ago.

Cherry Valley Limestone Mansion.jpg

But this house is much bigger and beautifully restored. It’s also obviously made of limestone, chosen specifically because the first house burned down. Since this is the end of the season and only one guest was in residence, we were able to walk through all but one of the fourteen bedrooms, plus the kitchen, pantry, basement, and common areas. It is a spectacular structure, with ornate details everywhere, from marvelous painted ceiling medallions and gumwood railings inside, to quoyne blocks and scalloped slate Mansard roof outside. So as fans of Victorian style, every room was fascinating to Eleanor and I.

Cherry Valley Limestone Mansion interior.jpg

The Limestone Mansion is a relative latecomer to Cherry Valley. Many of the residences in the historic center are from the Colonial era, including the house we are parked beside. The town was lucky to be an important stop on a turnpike from Albany, then fortunate again to be completely bypassed, thus preserving much of the town’s architecture. First the Erie Canal stole traffic away from the Cherry Valley Turnpike, and then the NY Central Railroad did the same, and finally Route 20 and the NY State Thruway (I-90) left Cherry Valley as virtually a time capsule.

But unlike so many other New England towns that have been bypassed, Cherry Valley avoided becoming a run-down fragment of itself. Importantly, its architecture and downtown survived, giving it a small-town appeal with an attractive walkable center. The town is again thriving as a tourist stop and a place for visitors to nearby Cooperstown to find a choice of quiet B&B’s. Students of New Urbanism could take lessons from Cherry Valley.

Cherry Valley cafe.jpg

Late this afternoon the UPS truck arrived bearing replacement parts for our hitch. With the help of our host (who really did most of the work), the parts were installed in about 20 minutes, the hitch was re-assembled, and re-greased. We’re ready to go again. I’ve posted some photos of the broken parts at Airforums if you are interested in the forensic details.

By 4:30 I had the grease cleaned off my hands, but it was too late to go anywhere, so we’re spending another lovely night in Cherry Valley. Tomorrow we’ll start heading west in earnest, toward Labor Day weekend with friends in Ohio.

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