A beautiful summer day for a road trip…..now, where to go? We finally crossed off a destination that has been on my bucket list for a couple of years. We scouted out the place last fall, but I wanted to explore Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in all its summer glory, with formal flower gardens in bloom.
Saint-Gaudens is located in Cornish, New Hampshire, along the Connecticut River, just north of the longest covered bridge in New England, the Cornish-Windsor Bridge, so it makes for a great day trip to see both.
Augustus Saint-Gaudens was a sculptor who summered at the location and in his final years it became his permanent residence, naming it Aspet after his father’s home town in France. The house itself is a vision, with its wide veranda looking out to the forest and Mt. Ascutney in Windsor, Vermont.
Aside from the main house, there are several exhibit buildings, each with their own charm.
Saint-Gaudens sculpted many public works of art. You may recognize a few of his sculptures without knowing the artist.The Shaw Memorial is a bronze relief located at Beacon Street, on the edge of Boston Common.
It depicts Col. Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, an all African American volunteer regiment during the Civil War marching down Beacon Street on May 28, 1863. This monument took him 14 years to complete. The original was cast in 1900, the one at the historic site cast in 1997. This life-sized cast is impressive in its detail.
I recommend the 1989 movie, “Glory” which tells the tail of this famous regiment.
The sculpture, “Abraham Lincoln: the Man” also known as “The Standing Lincoln” is a statue that was located in Lincoln Park in Chicago. On June 26th 2016, it will be unveiled at Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, returning to where it was created. From the website, it states, “Robert Todd Lincoln, the president’s son, remarked that Saint-Gaudens’s monument was the very best of the many Lincoln likenesses he had ever seen.” This is a miniature version of the sculpture in the lobby of the Visitor’s Center.
This is a bust of General William Sherman. His last public work of art was the General Sherman Monument in Central Park, New York which can be seen here. (The horse head shown above is part of this sculpture)
He also did many bas-relief portraits. My favorite is of Robert Louis Stevenson
The inscription reads, ” Give us grace and strength to forebear and persevere. Give us courage and gaiety and the quiet mind. Spare to us our friends, soften to us our enemies. Bless us if it may be, in all our innocent endeavors.
If it may not, give us strength to encounter that which is to come, that we may be brave in peril,
constant in tribulation,
temperate in wrath,
and in all changes of fortune,
and down to the gates of death,
loyal and loving
to each other.”
Besides Saint-Gaudens sculptures, there are sculptures and art of other artists. When we visited, the artist. Kirsten Hassenfeld, was being featured in one of the galleries.
There is also an artist in residence who will answer questions about the process of creating sculptures.
There are flower gardens with water features, and nature trails to explore, making it a peaceful experience for any who enjoy art, history and nature.