This is one of those random, doesn’t-quite-fit-the-usual-PBB-blog-mold, posts.
Full disclosure, I have been on vacation. And I am so darn excited to get to say that— especially after this past year and however many months, that we have all endured and suffered through. I called our trip, “The Great Reinhardt Post Pandemic Reunion Tour” (tee shirts should have been sold). It consisted of my husband and I driving from the midwest to the far points of the East Coast and up and down it to hug our loved ones and see their smiles in real life once again.
Therefore, I haven’t been reading picture books. But I did get to go to a bucket list place that is loosely related and that is what I will share with you today.
You might (and I would be flattered if you did) remember a post several months back that I did called, Nonsense! The curious Story of Edward Gorey, written by Lori Mortensen, illustrated by Chloe Bristol. This is the link if you care to revisit it here. In that post I admit to being a super fan of Edward Gorey and on our “reunion tour” we were able to visit the house he owned in Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod. (Here’s a link to their website https://edwardgoreyhouse.org/)
The house is quite normal looking from the outside.
But, inside, it is brimming with Edward’s quirky collections.
I learned from our wonderful tour guide, Gregory, that Edward was ahead of his time. His macabre artwork and tongue in cheek stories were certainly not deemed ‘child appropriate’ and he found himself searching to find a publisher who dared to push the envelope.
He had commercial and financial success as the “Mystery” illustrator for PBS, and the “Dracula” musical show. But it wasn’t until Lemony Snicket paid homage to Edward by writing the incredibly popular series, A Series of Unfortunate Events, that Edward’s books were finally embraced and celebrated.
Edward hand-lettered most of his books. Seeing his original artwork, I was impressed by the lack of white-out (there was a little, but really not much) and the precision of his layouts.
I drooled over his sketches and gesture drawings.
But, the thing that impressed me the most is that Edward Gorey was a true creative. From the oddity of his collections, to the fur coats, and heavy jewelry he wore.
His artwork, like his home, was an honest expression of who he was and how he saw the world. It was encouraging and inspirational to see that.
The Edward Gorey House is a house, a museum, a time capsule, and an affirmation that we should all strive to celebrate our own, special, quirky, and extraordinary, uniqueness.
Just like Edward did.
If you find yourself on the Cape I hope that you have the chance to visit The Edward Gorey House, or as he called it, The Elephant House.
and be sure to notice the framed waffle on the wall…
because I doubt that you will ever see another one.
I love it! That’s what I call thinking out of the box. It’s so great to see what your imagination can create. Magical! Thanks for sharing Jennifer. Love the stained glass.
Hi, Deb! It definitely was an inspiring place to visit. Thanks for stopping by Picture Book Builders today!
How fun! Thank you for sharing!
Thanks for visiting and commenting, Katie!
Thanks, Jennifer. I needed this post today.
Hi, Kathy. Visiting the Edward Gorey House gave me some much needed inspiration and was a reminder that living a creative life is not defined by projects. I’m happy that sharing my visit might have given you a little boost today. Thank you!
Love the waffle! Though I kind of want to eat it.
Hi Stacy, I didn’t post the picture that was next to it where Edward did a little illustration and described that the waffle was the “Last waffle of the Millennium”. So, it might have been a tad stale? Thanks for visiting!
This was a fun post… Good things happen when you break the mold! Thanks for sharing. 🙂
I’m happy that you enjoyed, it, Sue, thank you!
Jennifer, thanks for bringing us along on your adventures. Loved all of Edward’s quirky collections!
I’m glad that you enjoyed it, Mary. Thanks for visiting our blog today!
My house looks so boring after seeing this one! ha! We’re going to the Cape in the fall. Will definitely check this out! thank you!
Oh I hope that you can visit. You needed to make a reservation when we were there. Not sure if that will still be the case in the Fall, or not. Safe travels and enjoy the Cape! Also, we stayed at an amazing Bed and Breakfast called the Mulberry Tree Inn. Just two rooms in a beautiful historic home. Owner made one of the best breakfasts that I’ve ever eaten!
Loved this virtual tour! I’m adding the Gorey House to my own bucket list now. After all, who doesn’t want to see a framed waffle?!
Exactly, Claire! I do hope that you get there and enjoy it. Thank you!
Wow – you really brought us all there and it is amazing! Thanks for sharing your trip!
Oh good, Kim, I hope you enjoyed it! Thanks for visiting our blog today!
Love the framed waffle! Thanks for taking us along on your spectacular vacation!
Thanks so much, Suzanne!
Jennifer, what a wonderful literary pilgrimage. Thank you for sharing it with us. I loved seeing all those sketches and the fascinating statues in the strangest of places–a Victrola in the fireplace? I’d missed the earlier post about him so must check out NONSENSE!
Hi Vijaya, thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. He definitely had an eye for the unexpected. His “grater” collection was interesting. He loved round rocks and they pop up nearly everywhere. I found it uplifting and validating that he surrounded himself with items that intrigued him. Not necessarily things of value or what someone else might deem “collectible”.
Jennifer, Your article and photos were extremely enjoyable. Now I want to read NONSENSE, (the illustrations are gorgeous) and I also want to visit his house!
This made me so happy, Lori! Thank you very much. I’m glad that you enjoyed the post and want to spend some time with Edgar.
What fun! I’d love to visit this home/museum. Looking at your photos brought a smile to my face. Edward Gorey certainly had a unique sense of humor. Thank you so much for sharing!
I know I posted a ton of pictures and took even more. I found myself laughing out loud as I walked through his home and read his words. Thank you, Pamela, for visiting and commenting on our blog today!
Mercy! What a fun post…and that waffle!
It was a lot of fun, indeed. Thanks so much, Kathy!
What an incredibly interesting story! The house is amazing. So much creativity. Thanks for sharing.
Hi Eileen! I’m happy that you liked seeing the house. It was a lot of fun and I think it would bring a smile to anyone’s face. Thank you!
Unbelievable, well worth the wait!! Now, I want to go and see for myself. thank you.
Hi Terri! I do hope you can get there someday. It’s fun, funny, and I think creatively inspirational. Thanks so much for visiting PBB today!
Wow! I had no idea this even existed. Would love to visit one day!
Oh, I do hope you get there, Ramona! It’s such a fun place in a gorgeous location. Win, win, WIN! Thanks for visiting our blog!
I appreciate your glimpse into this talented artist. My mentor, the late Florence Parry Heidi, loved working with him. He illustrated her unusual children’s book, THE SHRINKING OF TREEHORN.
I own and love that book ❤️ What an amazing mentor that you had and she must have some terrific stories about working with Edward Gorey! How lucky! Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to share and comment.
I’ll have to visit someday. He is one of my favorites. He created such a singular word—you always know his work.
That is so cool! I have been on the Cape but not for years. Thanks for sharing!