Dwight Peck's personal website

A visit to the USA, summer 2014

More annual lakeside fun in the Northwoods

Road trip, part 2

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

Nancy and Mark in northeastern Pennsylvania

Mark is a friend virtually from pre-school days in New Jersey. He and Nancy visited us for some skiing in Switzerland in 1988, and we've seen them in person only once since then, in 1994.

This is a Pennsylvania lakeside cottage formerly owned by someone named Peck (not my branch of the clan), and they've made it very charming and very comfortable.

The garden

And the lake

And the dog

Dogs are labor-intensive.

The Dorflinger Glass Museum, evidently quite well known

There was a flourishing luxury glassmakers' operation here in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and the museum, in Christian Dorflinger's own house, is the largest collection of Dorflinger glass anywhere.

With stuff for sale, too

Kristin at the Dorflingers' house

Nancy and Mark's lake in the late afternoon

Very coincidentally, at this time, some goofy self-styled 'survivalist' ambushed some policemen just down the road and dashed off into the forest. An enormous manhunt ensued in the region, and the silly chap wasn't captured until six weeks later, at the end of October.

Taking leave of Mark and Nancy, hopefully not for another 20 years.

Next stop, Harrisburg, by way of the Grey Towers.

Grey Towers (the Gifford Pinchot House)

Grey Towers was designed by Richard Morris Hunt, in the style of a French château, and built in 1886 for successful businessman James Pinchot, overlooking the Delaware River just outside of Milford, Pennsylvania.

The house was inherited by James' son Gifford Pinchot, who in 1905 was appointed the first chief of the US Forest Service by his friend Pres. Teddy Roosevelt.

We're waiting for the next tour to begin. Pinchot was fired from the Forest Service in 1910 by the anti-conservationist Taft government, and both he and his wife turned to public service. He was a successful governor of Pennsylvania 1923-1927 and again in 1931-1935, and his wife Cornelia, a noted activist for educational and women's rights reforms, ran unsuccessfully for Congress three times.

Cornelia oversaw a renovation of the house, restructuring some of its 43 rooms into a plan more suitable for political entertaining and revising the grounds to suit her gardening interests and the family's more modern tastes.

This is the "Bait Box", built in the mid-1920s as a playhouse for the couple's only son, today a retreat and meeting room for conservation groups.

And this is the "Letter Box", built in 1926-27 to house Pinchot's clerical staff and accommodate his political work away from the family rooms in the main house. Presently it's largely an exhibit area for Pinchot memorabilia and a theatre for some packaged home movies of the family's tenure.

Pinchot, after a life of committed work and advocacy for conservation in the USA, died in 1946, and after his wife died in 1960, their son donated the place to the Forest Service as planned, which converted some of the interiors to make it more suitable for conferences and office work. The resulting Pinchot Institute was dedicated by Pres. Kennedy in September 1963, and is administered the USDA Forest Service as basically a conservation centre and educational destination for the public (like us).

This is our guide, an extremely nice Forest Service employee who delivers a very good tour and can answer almost any question. He, like Pinchot and everyone else associated with the place, is a dedicated conservationist.

The Great Hall, evidently not much changed from the original (except for the addition of indoor plumbing just off the stairwell)

Kristin and the Great Hall

A family devoted to nature conservation and stag hunting

Kristin loves owls. Even stuffed owls.

Alexandre Cabanel's portrait of the first Mary Pinchot with children (Gifford and Antoinette) in 15th century Florentine dress (1872). (A third child, Amos, born the following year, was a famous progressive activist and said to have been a co-founding member of the ACLU.)

More stags on the wall

The fish room

Far up the Delaware River in the Pocono Mountains, a nautical motif

The "Finger Bowl", a.k.a. the outdoor diningroom

Mrs Pinchot loved to entertain outdoors, thus . . .

. . . pass the fruit dish please. Now we're off to Harrisburg. Hershey, actually.

The Squirrel settled in at the La Quinta Inn in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

A few days with friend Marbeth in Leesburg, Virginia, then to Dulles Airport and home at last.

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 4 November 2014.


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