Rochelle Lash of the Montreal Gazette recently published an article entitled, “On Lake Champlain, a homey slice of Americana” that features the Cupola House located on Main Street in Essex, NY. It gives readers a delightful glimpse into life in the picturesque Essex village. Lash describes the house and other aspects of Essex as being straight out of classic America. Which makes sense because Essex is part of the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
The Cupola House’s owner, Donna Lou Sonnett, calls it “a vacation rental,” which means that visitors check in to an apartment with a kitchen, rather than a guest room, making a temporary little home. There is a lawn and a garden. Sonnett grows flowers, herbs and vegetables and encourages guests to snip at will for bouquets or for cooking.
And then there are those wonderful porches. From the front, you can watch the laid-back happenings along Main Street. From the back, there is the picturesque scene of boats in the marina and the lake vista.
“I don’t own lake frontage, but I do own the best view in town,” said Sonnett. “We see the sunrise over Lake Champlain and the evening’s alpenglow on the Green Mountains of Vermont across the lake. It’s always changing and it’s always serene.” [On Lake Champlain, a homey slice of Americana]
Lash explains that the first floor of the Cupola House contains an art gallery and mini-museum called The Cupola House Gallery & Emporium. She delights in describes the various pieces of Americana collected there from Amish quilts to hand-thrown pottery. There are always pieces featured in the gallery from local artists!
Champlain Valley Attracts Refugees from City-life
Essex is described as the perfect retreat from urban life with plenty places to visit and activities to enjoy. Though of course the peace and seclusion of the beautiful wilderness surrounding the village is one of the biggest pluses! Some visitors return year after year, and I know of many visitors that have eventually made the Champlain Valley their home.
Lash is intrigued about how the valley seems to draw urbanites to permanently relocate here. Though just looking around I can’t see any surprise! She mentions two women that have left cities behind to create their homes and successful businesses in Essex.
The Pink Pig just down the street from the Cupola House is owned by former Wall Street worker Debbie Schrodt. Now she is filling her shop with antiques and vintage items that are there for everyone to examine to find the perfect objects for their own homes.
There is also a nod toward Kristin Kimball of Essex Farm. Her memoir The Dirty Life, which details her shift from life in New York City to rural farming is mentioned as being a good read for Essex newcomers. You can read my review of her book in an earlier post, “A Local’s Look at The Dirty Life.”
Any article about Essex creates some new buzz about our small town, and hopefully it will reach the eyes of people who will soon be new visitors!