Deborah Solomon’s new book, “American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell,” admits that Rockwell painted an idealized view of America that was not necessarily his reality in 1959.
The “Four Freedoms” Illustrator lived in Stockbridge, Massachusetts not for the inspiration but because his wife Mary battled alcoholism and depression and received treatment from a nearby psychiatric center facility.
Truth be told, meaningful revelations like that are what makes travel so alluring to me. No matter how “Rockwellian-perfect” you imagine an area to be, clearly no place can ever be too tranquil or too utopian.
And that’s why I loved reading about Sunday’s New York Times Travel section article entitled “Norman Rockwell’s New England” by the same author Deborah Soloman. Her insights on recent visits to Vermont and Massachusetts describe both the pleasantries of the people with the lonesome, harsh winters that Rockwell complained about found only in letters to his friends and family.
“Life was the stuff that was left out of Rockwell’s work,” writes Soloman. “To see his actual surroundings is to be reminded of their very exclusion from his paintings.”
But, life is what you’ll get when you visit New England and here are some places that Soloman encourages us to go:
Robert Frost Stone House Museum
121 Historic Route 7A
South Shaftsbury, Vermont
Inn on the Covered Bridge Green
3587 River Road
29 Sugar Shack Lane
Sugar Shack Gift Shop
Sugar Shack Lane
The Wayside Country Store
3307 Vermont Route 313 West
4869 Main Street
Manchester Center, Vermont
The Bennington Museum
75 Main Street