Less than perfectly groomed

Some corners of Powysland have become very hot property, as explained by this piece in the New York Times. The Palisades was where John Cowper’s sister Marian chose to retire following her remarkable career as a world-leading expert in lace-making in New York.

It sounds perfectly Powysian: “Hilly, leaf-encrusted and less than perfectly groomed, the Landing, as locals call it, incorporates about 100 houses with the informal, romantic aspect of books in an antiquarian shop.”

Once an unfashionable backwater, the crustiness has taken on a sheen of bohemian chic. 

“Last month, Scarlett Johansson closed on a $4 million, ivy-covered colonial on Washington Spring Road, up the hill from Jerry Hall and Rupert Murdoch. Jane Pauley and Garry Trudeau are reportedly building a house in the woods. The presence of these and other giants (Bill Murray, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Al Pacino — it’s like a land-bound episode from a rebooted “Love Boat”) brings disproportionate press attention and sets the eyes of less prominent locals rolling when you ask about it.”

Marian lived in an “unpainted, ramshackle house across from the Palisades Presbyterian Church” until she died (aged 89) in 1972. The article includes a memory from a local resident who recalls how the elderly English lady would invite neighbour’s children around for tea and cake:

“She wasn’t fastidious about washing things up. We were always afraid that the kids would catch something terrible.”

Very Powysland. Lots of old-world charm and character – but is it always hygienic or wholesome enough by modern standards?

One thought on “Less than perfectly groomed

  1. Upstate New York, especially the Hudson River Valley, has always been a strange patch on the American quilt. This is Washington Irving country, after all; Sleepy Hollow is a real place. The Fox sisters practically kick-started modern spiritualism in New York state and you might be interested in Googling the “Burned-over district,” a hotbed of all varieties of transcendental belief until, as its name implies, the sheer number of seekers ground the spirits down.
    My inlaws lived about an hour and a half upriver from the Palisades in a town called Rhinebeck, also mostly rural with old world charm and character but much gentrified by city money living out its Bohemian countrified dream at the weekends. It is easier to find a farm-to-table restaurant than a Burger King.
    There are still Powysian elements to be found by digging in the hedgerows and looking behind the crumbling stone walls, for sure, but the Crow family has the run of the town.

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