Some years ago Joe, Clare's brother, sent Clare an article from the NYT about this incredible piano camp, Sonata, tucked in the hills of Vermont. He said Clare and I absolutely had to go! Well Joe is never one to be ignored, and soon Clare and I were on the waiting list! (PS I might also mention we also read a whole chapter about this piano camp in Noah Adam's book Piano Lessons!) Our first year to attend was August of 2006. This year marked my 4th.
Sometimes memories are elusive and an experience can retain a rosy glow for some time after- only to be paled when one tries to return to soak up that glow again. Not so with Sonata. Each year I am again awed by the experience- and my good fortune- and plot to come again before I've even left for home. I wish everyone had their very own "piano camp". I'm always so very grateful for mine.
This year Clare and I decided to make Sonata part of a GRAND ROADTRIP! So rather that abruptly arriving on the Sunday after a not very satisfying plane trip, we thought we'd ease into Vermont via a "girl's roadtrip!. Well nothing assists easing quite like a 15+ hours in a car crossing I-80!
But first- Clare flew in from Tulsa on Wednesday to give us a full day to "prep" for our trip (this mostly involved driving to Kentucky to stock up the wine- nourishment for our exhausted evenings at Sonata after the day of long practice hours).
But before we settled into the prep for our adventure, Don, Clare and I visited a nursery and Clare (and Oliver and Joe) purchased an oak leaf hydrangea for the Billy Lee Memorial Garden that rests just outside our east windows. Thank you so very much Clare, Joe and Oliver!
And then we were off! We left early on our drive across I-80 for our first stop at Gloria's, (our dear, dear friend from Sonata- and an amazing pianist!) for our Pre-Sonata warm up. We arrived late- after much, much, much road construction that tires even the most enthusiastic of travelers- but then still stayed up until after 1am- catching up where we'd left off the year before. There's nothing like good friends- the conversation can be picked up in mid-sentence- across months of absence.
Then Saturday morning we washed the sleep out of our eyes and headed for a day in New York City! We were meeting Joe, Clare's brother, for a dance concert and dinner, but first it was off to explore in neighborhood of Chelsea. We started with a walk on the The Highline! And amazing park built above the city!
Notice the "picture" window behind Gloria and Clare with views of the street below!
And then we meandered through the shops of the Chelsea Market:
And finally arrived at the Joyce Theater:
Where we met Joe for a contemporary dance concert (which was amazing- as all things New York are!)
And I must mention that our visit coincided nicely with the last weekend for the public art exhibit by Antony Gormley.
Now if you look closely you can find more his sculptures perched on buildings...
And then it was off for drinks..
And then dinner at the new restaurant by Jean George (is it too blatantly name dropping to mention that Joe is friends with Jean George and that whenever you go out to eat with Joe in NYC you always get to go to the front of the line!)
This new restaurant is ABC Kitchen and it did not disappoint! It was absolutely wonderful!
Then with our "warm-up" to Sonata complete, it off to bed for a good nights sleep before the we left the next morning for the short drive to Vermont!