June 15th – 21st
My dear readers I am writing to tell you that I have absconded with a lovely young lady and some puppies and have taken up residence in the small town of Villeneuve, Switzerland. We are located on the southeastern shore of Lake Geneva. I have abandoned the 52 Weeks on Aquidneck for a year-long project through the Swiss countryside. I know this comes as a shock to most of you for I probably saw you this weekend but it was a spur of the moment decision and I am presently happy and content with the clean mountain air.
Ok, once again, I lied. I’m still here in little Rhody and this was taken in Newport. Once a year the doors to The Swiss Village Foundation on Harrison Ave are opened to the public and we are allowed to step back in time. This is a fisheye view of the once slaughterhouse/smokehouse. What impressed me the most about the buildings here were the curved shingles. They steam the shingles and then warm them to wrap around the edge of the roof. Just an amazing detail to see in person.
The SVF is a privately owned farm which deals in Heritage Breeds of cattle, sheep, goats and chickens. Like all of our island the history of the 35 acre property that we now call SVF is storied and has changed hands several times. Originally built-in 1916 the land was groomed to look like a Swiss village near the Italian border and was originally a farm for the households, yacht, and farm hands of the Arthur Curtiss James estate. The property was passed on through the family and eventually was re-named from “Surprise Valley Farm” to “Edgehill” and then through the 1970’s till the 1990’s was both an alcoholic rehabilitation center and a rehabilitation center for the disabled.
I feel that this place is a good continuation of the theme from last week: the lure and mystery of the island. I can not count the times I have driven by this farm and watched the Llamas standing guard over the grazing sheep and simply wondered to myself…what lies beyond these stone walls. Well now I know and honestly I feel richer for the experience. My friends I am sorry to say that if you missed this open house last week you will not be able to go back for another year however, mark it on your calendar for just one day out of the year you can simply hop in your car or ride you bike to the foothills and farms of Eastern Switzerland.