Arriving at the Oneida Mansion House
OPALYN: About and hour drive from Syracuse to the little town of Kenwood sits the Oneida Community Mansion House. We pulled into the front drive and Walt wanted a photo so I posed at the front door before heading inside.
WALT: The women in the office were very welcoming. I'd reserved the smallest of the rooms, wanting to get a feel for the individual space that people living in the house had, but this is a slow season for them and they'd upgraded our room at no extra charge. The main floor of the Mansion House has been converted into larger rooms with private baths by combining several rooms into one ‒ an alteration which is more suited to modern expectations.
My first impression is that the Mansion House isn't as large as I'd imagined it would be; I guess 93,000 square feet isn't as big as I expected. The sense of history that seeps out of every brick is almost overwhelming. It's a place that comes to mind often, but one that I didn't think I'd ever get to experience.
Opalyn and I went to the local supermarket, picked up some things and had a picnic dinner in the gazebo, a remarkable structure made from local wood a very long time ago.
There's also a beautiful exhibit of the textile art of Jessie Kinsley. She developed a novel form of tapestry by combining elements of rag braiding and quilting to create some remarkable works of art. One of the most recent books I've read on Oneida is A Lasting Spring which is Jessie's memoir, so it's a delight to be able to see some of the work that filled her later years.
OPALYN: Our first evening has been very exciting and sitting in the Library Room was almost like going back in time. I could envision people sitting in the Library and reading the Circular, Oneida's Journal.
Our room faced the Quad, a small outdoor area enclosed by the Mansion House. I enjoyed looking out our windows and wondering if the people who lived in these rooms ‒ our room turned out to be at least four private rooms ‒ thought about what life would be like now.