Visiting the Holiday Greens Show in Troy, New York with Mom

Mom Enjoying the Holiday Greens Show

A Patriotic Christmas

Home for the Holidays

The Grand Entranceway

I’m back in Colorado cherishing a very special holiday moment I shared with my mom in my hometown of Troy, New York just before I left. It was extraordinary for many reasons. It was the first time since 2001 that I was with my mother in December, which allowed us to do something Christmas-y together. (I moved to Colorado in January 2002 and became a ski instructor shortly thereafter. Once ski season starts, I hardly travel anywhere except perhaps to another ski destination.) I also relived childhood memories that I know have played a formative part in my life.

Mom and I picked up on a tradition that began some sixty-one years ago at the Holiday Greens Show, a glorious open house of sorts at the Hart-Cluett House, home to the Rensselaer County Historical Society. I believe mom started going to the Greens show from the beginning and she first brought me there some fifty years ago. Decorated from balustrade to mantelpiece with an abundance of fresh greens, Christmas trees, fresh and dried flowers and a treasure trove of memorabilia by the Van Rensselaer Garden Club, this mansion shimmers with all the beauty of the holidays every year for four days during the beginning of December. It’s like stepping onto a Hollywood set of a nineteenth-century film filled with elegance and grandeur, merrymaking and holiday charm.

Oh Christmas Tree

Always Look Up

It’s All in the Details

As home to many important industries, including Cluett shirtmakers renowned for having perfected detachable shirt collars and cuffs, Troy, New York was indeed a happening place during the nineteenth century. The many stunning brownstones such as the Hart-Cluett House, a spectacular example of Federal-style architecture, that still exist today give evidence to this grand era. Think of “The Age of Innocence” and “The Bostonians,” two movies filmed in Troy. While touring the Greens Show with mom, I half expected to see Daniel Day Lewis stepping toward me to offer me a glass of punch. Or maybe that gesture was left to the servants. Indeed, people lived very upstairs/downstairs in this grand mansion built between 1825 and 1827. They even had two different kitchens.

The Stockings Were Hung

Tribute

The POW/MIA’s Table

As mom and I padded through each of the exquisitely decorated rooms, my heart sang and my eyes danced. I know it sounds corny but that’s how I felt. I’ve even replayed those dazzling visions in my mind many times over since then. I think I was most enchanted by the beauty, the supreme art de vivre and, of course, the Christmas decorations so carefully placed in every nook and cranny of this stately home. I felt the same excitement that I remember feeling as a young girl. It was different this time, however, since after having lived eleven years in Paris, I have seen many an elegant home filled to the brim with exquisite antiques and table arts. Yet if anything, this life experience makes me appreciate even more what historic Troy showcases every year with such heart, soul and refinement. It was also different because mom no longer has the same pep that she once did and, of course, I couldn’t help wondering how many more Greens Shows we’d be able to experience together again.

Replete with Historic Uniforms

The Laundry Room

Indeed holiday time conjures up many sweet moments of the past. This year’s “Home for the Holidays” theme at the Hart-Cluett House was particularly sentimental. I have never seen a red, white and blue Christmas, a patriotic tribute welcoming home veterans and saluting them and their families. Yet this homage was here in all its star-spangled glory. And yes, that, too, tugged at my heartstrings. So many sacrifices have been made by our military people and their loved ones. It’s fitting to think of them at the holidays in particular.

Troy, New York: Home of Uncle Sam

Did you know that Troy is home to Uncle Sam? It seemed appropriate to tie in the Greens Show with a current exhibition at the Rensselaer County Historical Society that honors this famous figure as well as so many Trojans that have served in the military over the course of the years.

Upstairs Kitchen

Downstairs Kitchen

Sweet

The Family Hearth

The Pantry

Yes, home for the holidays. I was very happy to enjoy a taste of that with mom.

My Favorite: The Children’s Room

Mom Taking a Break

If you haven’t done so already, I wish you at least one very heart-stirring holiday event with a special loved one. And if you’re lucky, it will come packaged in the form of a festive presentation of colors, garlands and other eye-catching embellishments that will remain forever etched in your mind.

Also, I wish for you to visit the Holiday Greens Show in Troy at least once in your life. It’s a destination holiday event that’s worth the trip.

Goodnight All

Tip: I recommend attending this lovely affair toward the end of the Saturday afternoon showing, making sure that you’re there at the hour when darkness falls and the lights glisten ever so brightly. That’s also when you’ll encounter the least amount of people. Mom and I practically had the place all to ourselves!

Mom Enjoying Peck’s Arcade

Top it Off: Toast the holidays at Peck’s Arcade within a candlelight décor that wraps you in all the warmth of the holidays. Mom and I enjoyed an extraordinary meal here where sharing is de rigueur.

 
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