Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Back In Berea

Hello! Took advantage of a long weekend to do a little traveling. As it suddenly got quite chilly where we live, we hoped for warmer weather in Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Kentucky. After all, these places are a ways south of us. 

However, cool weather had come to those areas as well. While watching the TV news last Saturday night in our Louisville, KY hotel room, we learned that a record-low high temperature for the day had been set. The high was in the upper 50's, I think, but it was supposed to be in the 70's. Oh well. 

Actually, we'd been more anxious about the rain that was supposed to be near-constant in Berea, KY, which was where we'd planned to spend most of Saturday. As it turned out, although it was quite chilly and overcast, the rain never materialized. The storm system stayed to the south, so we lucked out! 

This was our third visit to Berea, and the sun has yet to shine while we've been there. Still had a nice time, though -  it's a cute town with a eco/funky/artsy vibe. 

Began the visit with lunch at Village Trough, a new eatery there. The menu has a localvore emphasis, which means area farmers are supported and the food is fresh. 

A local food purchase was also made at the Berea College Farm Store:

A bag of stone-ground cornmeal:

"Grown & Processed by Berea College Students". During the winter months I'll gladly use this purchase to make cornbread to go along with soup.

The college farm store also sells stone-ground whole wheat flour along with college farm-raised meats and produce. It's a fun place to shop. 

Berea is a small town but has many shops, both college-run and otherwise, that sell handicrafts. We'd last visited this past spring, but new businesses have opened since then. One of them was a watercolorist's gallery. His paintings were wonderful, but we ended up talking so long to him, it cut into the time we'd planned to visit other shops. Oops!

Artwork at the studio of Grace Wintermeyer; she turns her drawing into prints. (I showed off her squirrel print in this post.)

Wintermeyer and several other artists work out of Gallery 123, with studio space in the back and gallery in the front of the building. Two new artisans had joined the venture since our springtime visit, but the Herb & Willow pottery business was preparing to move out and into their own shop down the street. 

A portion of Herb & Willow's wares awaiting the relocation:

Eventually I made my way over to Berea College's Student Crafts on the Square Shop, where one can watch students make brooms, weave, work on pottery and more.

A student had stepped away from this loom shortly before I took my photo . 

Close-up of her project:

Very nice work!

As I was walking around the store, I overheard a guy, obviously another Berea College student, pointing out various wooden cutting boards on display to his companion, another guy. "I made this one... and this one... and that one over there..." he explained. Not the usual talk one hears at a college-run business! But then again, Berea College isn't the usual institution of higher education. 

In spite of all the wonderful arts and crafts I viewed, I didn't buy anything new. There was too much stuff to see and too little time to decide what I wanted. But I did come home with a couple of "souvenirs", which set me back all of two dollars. Both came from a so-so antique mall. 

I spotted a vintage (1958) candy tin with a cute Dutch design in one of the antique mall's booths. (I'm always on the lookout for that themed decor since I live in a town settled by the Dutch.) It was priced at $6.99, but a man - that booth's vendor, obviously - suddenly appeared by my side. "You seem to like it. I don't. You can have it for two bucks." he told me. So I agreed to that markdown. 

I really do like the graphics on the tin:

This is a great design on what would seem to be a rather mundane item, a tin of Mrs. Leland's candy. But a search on eBay showed that the company apparently had several candy tin designs, most of which are equally charming. 

The deals at this antique mall weren't over yet though. As I went up to the counter to pay for the tin, I spotted a slate with a cute painted winter scene hanging on the wall behind the cash register. I couldn't see the price tag so I asked the guy at the register how much that slate piece was going for. "Oh, you can have it for free," he told me. "I painted it last year." I tried to give him some money for it, especially since upon closer inspection I saw he had priced it at ten dollars. But he refused to take anything from me. I felt a little bad about that; I have no idea why he insisted on giving it away. 

Here's the wintery work:

I don't care for all the snow we get around here, but it's going to arrive whether I like it or not, right? So I might as well make the best of it. It measures 16"h x 8"w, so a just-right size to hang outside our side porch come winter. 

Hmm, the makings for cornbread and a winter-themed painting - guess the cool weather outside had me thinking ahead to even colder temps! 

But wouldn't you know it - the next day, when we'd had indoor activities planned for the Cincinnati and Indianapolis areas, it was sunny and in the upper 70's. Oh well yet again. 

Still, we'd had a nice time back in Berea. Who knows, maybe sometime the sun will actually be shining while we're visiting there! 


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