Eye Candy Close To Home: A Social Media Guide
By Nichole Dupont
Cutting the junk out of your diet is a staple for New Year success (or so we all think). But before you hop off the social media train and vow never to “waste time” on Instagram again, maybe you should take a look at these eye-catching, clever sites from the Rural Intelligence region that cover the gamut; food, fashion, photography, even a little bit of philosophy. Artists, business owners and foodies are becoming (or have already become) connoisseurs of the quip, offering up tidbits of whimsy that could very well spark a kitchen remodel…or a tart…or a trip to the library. Call it politics-free browsing, with purpose.
Let’s begin with the creature comforts. Or, the only comfort. Despite the snarky memes about not posting what you’re having for dinner, we love pictures of food. And anything eats related. Harney & Sons Tea out of Millerton, New York has a gorgeous website, complete with blog and gallery pics, which will immediately inspire you to get out your only tray and serve up some biscuits and tea. A heartier, vegan feast for the eyes is found at the Zen-esque Instagram home of Elixir, a vegan café in Great Barrington, Mass. Morning light streams across a bowl of porridge stocked with pecans, pepitas and bananas, and you can’t help but want to recreate that healing fare for yourself.
Another food porn site — this one veers more towards vintage decadence — is the Insta-home of Pleasant and Main Café in Housatonic, Mass. Serving stands are piled high with fat muffins and croissants and sweet crepes are dusted with confectioner’s sugar, and all of the food is set in charming seasonal vignettes.
If you want to do a little more than just look and drool, A Raisin and a Porpoise is a blog worth visiting. The witty (and deep) musings of Berkshire-based writer, mother and sheep farmer Janet Elsbach are combined with recipes. From delicate glazed madeleines to nettle and potato hash, the recipes — dotted with great photos of Elsbach’s expressive critters — are the epitome of country comfort, right down to the tablecloth pattern. But always with a twist.
More country charm awaits at Made in Ghent, the cyber home of Little Ghent Farm, a work-in-progress, diversified family farm and deli outlet in Ghent, New York. Green springscapes, gem-colored preserves, and even a muddy swine or two seem almost holy in their screen presence. (With such gorgeous photos, it comes as no surprise that co-owner Richard Beaven is a professional photographer.)
Speaking of piggies, Raven and Boar, a small Chatham, New York pig, poultry and produce farm, boasts a gorgeous gallery of everything that is essential and romantic about life on the farm. The irony of life is captured while scrolling through pictures of fat, whiskered pigs and thickly marbled cuts of meat. And it’s beautiful.
Everybody loves a good kitchen. Or bathtub. Or even balustrade (yeah, I wrote that). And we are all guilty of perusing and sighing over local real estate guides, poring over grainy pics of lakes and cathedral ceilings. Why not enjoy the view in color? Upstater.com is “living” website of real estate — including vacation and rental properties — on both sides of the Hudson River. The site is curated and provides new content daily. One can easily get lost in thought looking at enchanted cottages and lacy Victorians, many of which are affordable and just within reach.
A crazy-decadent real estate experience can be found on the William Pitt Sotheby’s Instagram home for Connecticut and Massachusetts. Style-drenched images of airy farmhouse kitchens, hidden gardens, and sophisticated libraries have provided this writer an escape from waiting room doldrums.
Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t toot our own horn when it comes to real estate; Rural Intelligence features real estate listings of some of the region’s most outstanding properties every week in our Real Estate pages. Just so you know.
Sometimes a little snippet of performance is all that’s needed to get the creative juices flowing (or to inspire you to finally buy that season stage pass). If you have an hour, or several hours as will probably be the case, check out the mother lode of recorded performances and vintage photographs at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival archives page. The archives pay homage to many of the dancers who have graced the Pillow stage (including Mikhail Baryshnikov, whom yours truly got to see when she was 16 years old, total fangirl). Of course, founder Ted Shawn and the Men Dancers play predominantly in the mass content of the archives.
Old black and whites of gorgeous dancers find kinship with the nostalgic images put out by the Hudson Opera House (located on Warren Street). A collage of images include the long road of that building’s renovation as well as rich color shots of current exhibitions and performances and sepia-stained ephemera.
Art and Photography
Arguably, everything on social media (especially Instagram) is art. I’ll leave that to you and your tiny Polaroid carrying friends to suss that out, but in the meantime, real beautiful work is showing up on Imgrum from the likes of the very young, very talented Jake Borden, a Berkshires-based camera fella and assistant to NatGeo photographer John Stanmeyer. Borden boasts an Instagram account — jakebordenphoto — of gritty, haunting portraits and landscapes. Also in the photography frame is fashion designer Adam Lippes, who will occasionally post from his weekend getaway in Monterey, Mass., but mostly the page is suffused with gorgeous settings and stunning models in Lippes’ designs.
Artist and designer Ali Herrmann floods her Instagram account with bright bespoke images of her work. The mostly heavy-duty encaustic and oil paintings are available on Etsy as well, should the screen on your phone not suffice.