An All-American festival at Jay Heritage Center

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Listening to the Yale Spizzwinks at the Hudson River Valley Ramble at the Jay Heritage Center in Rye, New York.

On September 23rd, over 1300 people celebrated the Hudson River Valley Ramble on a gorgeous day in the park at the Jay Heritage Center in Rye. Some brought their dogs. Others spread out plaid picnic blankets and enjoyed a cappella singing from The Yale Spizzwinks. Activities included hand-scissored portraits from Sweet-Silhouette by Varin and a photo booth set up by Kim Crichlow Photography. Along “Jay Way” guests helped themselves to free Winston Churchill daffodil bulbs, pow-erful comic books, cool shades and an invitation to a free talk by renowned entomologist Doug Tallamy — all distributed at the Con Edison booth. Everyone was treated to free sips of Drink Virgil’s Zero Sugar All-Natural beverages thanks to John Bello, his daughter Lindsay Martin Bello and Reeds Inc.! Even the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Division 5 NYC came out to represent at this all American festival!

The Jay Mansion

Large and small strolled the grounds of this majestic national landmark including State Senator Shelley Mayer who came to thank the organizers for giving back to the community. One young man celebrated his birthday by meeting his favorite author, Tracey West of Scholastic ‘s Dragon Masters series — she gave him the most memorable gift ever and autographed all 11 of her chapter books for him! Tracy Edwards chaired the event helped by Betsy White, Caroline Wallach, Annmarie Zell, Kelly Bakshi, Megan Monaghan and Liz Garrett.

NY Senator Shelley Mayer and JHC President Suzanne Clary
A perfect day for all generations
Annmarie Zell, Jeff DeToro, and Caroline Wallach
Hanging with dad
Jay Day Chair Tracy Edwards and her daughter Willow
Keelin Pye with her twins Campbell and Christopher
Kids followed the dragon prints to Dragon Masters author Tracey West
From Bach to Rock
Liz Garrett and Marisol Thurman
Megan Monaghan and Kelly Bakshi with Tracey West
Milton Elementary Girl Scout Troop 2490 came out in force!
L to R.: Luke and Jack Edwards; Jane Shen and her family at the Con Edison booth
Patrick and Liz Garrett
Perfect perch on the veranda
Suzanne Clary, Tracy Edwards and Annmarie Zell
L to R.: Pony rides delighted the kids; Balloon twisters outdid themselves!
A Cappella at the Mansion
The Bello Family
Tracey West and Dragon Master fans
US Coast Guard Auxiliary
L to R.: Families enjoyed historic house tours; Caroline Wallach and her son Hudson
Varin made silhouette portraits for all
Volunteer Katie Lipman and friends
Volunteers Tom Carlson and Shawn Parker
Everyone took home a miniature garden
Free treats from Virgils

And on Wednesday, September 12, guests at the Jay Estate in Rye were mesmerized by Peter Kenny’s presentation on the architecture and Duncan Phyfe furnishings of the late Richard Jenrette’s South Carolina house, Millford. Millford is one of six exquisite properties belonging to the Classical American Homes Preservation Trust. Kenny, a recognized expert on American design of the 18th and early 19th century, is the current Co-President of CAHPT.

Peter Kenny compared details from Millford with those at Jay Mansion.
Peter Kenny studies one of the Jay family chairs.

With over 30 years’ experience as Curator of American Decorative Arts and administrator of the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, no one could surpass his expertise in comparing the 1841 Millford Mansion and its “cousin” the 1838 Jay Mansion side by side. He drew inferences about similarities in their construction and highlighted examples from the pattern books that likely inspired their owners and builders. Each of these buildings was once filled with mahogany chairs, pier tables, and more, but Millford has much of its original contents thanks to the stewardship of Jenrette, CAHPT and Kenny. Now through the generosity of several Jay descendants, original furnishings for the Jay Mansion are finding their way back home.

Peter Kenny’s book Duncan Phyfe, Master Cabinetmaker
Minard Lafever inspired ceiling medallion in Jay Drawing room

Sharing his deep understanding of Millford’s rare, intact collection of Duncan Phyfe pieces, Kenny extolled the New York cabinetmaker’s artistry and painted a picture of Phyfe’s clientele and the atmosphere of the budding American furniture industry. As a deft narrator and experienced educator, Kenny engaged his audience completely. The talk was co-sponsored by the Harvard Club of Westchester.

Ellen Boyle, Susan Skelsey, Karen Kiarsis, and Lynn Ingrassai
Jean doyen de Montaillou and Michael Kovner
Jeanne Rossato with Eliot and Andrea Martone
L to R.: Emily and Bobby Tisdale; Suzanne Clary and Peter Kenny
John and Emily Jay
Keelin Pye, Joyce Cassin, and Elisabeth Casey
Peter Kenny and Jay Cantor
L to R.: Rich and Taryn Clary; Pieter Estersohn and Emily Jay
Pieter Estersohn and Joe Versace
Susan Skelsey, Holly Kennedy, Christy Murphy, and Ellen Boyle
Tom Marshall and Jan Lupton
Tom Marshall, David Parsons, and Robert Burton
Tracy Edwards and Liz Garrett

Photographs by Cutty McGill

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