My Demarcation Line

The only consistency in my blogging career has been my wavering intentions.  And I like to wax philosophical about it and blame astrology…I’m a Gemini.  Geminis are depicted as twins…although in my head they’re more accurately depicted as Two-Face from Batman…always of two minds about everything.

Part of me has always loved the idea of frost covered cocktails on a Summer’s night, sipped slowly on a front porch surrounded by potted palms and the sweet song of cicadas. That part of me cherishes traditions.  I horde old recipe books and shop vintage stores for relics of the South’s checkered past.

But another part of me is, and always will be, a non-conformist, a rebel looking for a cause, the voice of dissent and the caller-outer of the obvious.  I usually try to suppress that part…she’s not very nice.  She’s also not socially acceptable.

When Trump won the national election in November, I sighed with relief and relaxed.  I could revel in the afterglow of a Republican victory, content that ‘our side’ was back in power. I stopped, to some extent, monitoring the news, I stopped worrying, I stopped…participating.

I let the other twin come out to play.  Once again I immersed myself in hot toddy recipes and conveying to the masses (seriously I have like 4 readers) the proper way to set a table and the social events scheduled in the local area.  I became the purveyor of social customs and traditions.  And I liked it.  A little.  At first.

But several things happened to me and around me, over the course of a few short months…which changed how I felt about blogging, and living.

In mid February we had a health scare.  I had a health scare.  I’m  fine…but on  a Saturday morning I got a piece of mail from my doctor that scared the hell out of us.  And we couldn’t ask anyone about it until Monday afternoon because my doctor doesn’t work weekends.  In the end…everything was fine.  But by not doing her job correctly, she sent a ripple through our lives that still permeates every waking moment 6 months later.

It sounds pretty simple…two days of worrying and then back to normal…right?  But those two days broke normal for us.  It took weeks to realize we were different…fundamentally altered!  And that we’d have to actively work at fixing the problem.  And then there was a shit ton of anger to get through.  It’s still a struggle.  I don’t have to remind myself that it’s over or that I’m ok…but I do have to remind myself to relax…to have fun…to do the basic things I use to do so naturally.  And he worries about me.  He checks on me more frequently…making sure I’m moving forward…living.  And I feel guilty…then I feel mad all over again.  It’s a process.  But we’re winning…slowly.

The next event was more recent.  Trump banned transgender soldiers.  I’m not trans…I’m not in the military…it didn’t exactly affect me for a few hours.

Then facebook happened.

First let me say….I was taught to edit what I say.  Specifically…if what I wanted to say was hurtful to even one person…and saying it served no real purpose other than to let me vent…I shouldn’t say it.  I think it’s called…being ‘nice’.

Not everyone learned that lesson.  Or…not everyone cares.  Either way, within a few short hours of Trump’s declaration tweet…several of my facebook ‘friends’ were jumping on the hate-wagon, blasting Trump and regurgitating a laundry list of unimaginative names. And to what end?  It didn’t alter his decision to ban transgendered soldiers from serving and they didn’t convert anyone to the liberal left?

I’m a big believer that you’re the queen of your page.  It’s the one place where we truly get to say what we want…but with the caveat that what you say shouldn’t be carelessly hurtful or insulting.  I’ve edited my own comments to avoid offending every single one of those friends who were so fecklessly spewing gross generalizations on their  facebook pages like some newly discovered gospel.  It pissed me off.

They weren’t friends.  They were acquaintances.  But more importantly…I started questioning whether I actually valued their opinions.  Especially on THIS topic.  None of them have served in the military.  That’s a HUGE distinction!  Until you’ve served, you’ve no idea what it’s actually like.  And to be fair…I served in the good times.   It was quite literally the calm before the storm that would last for the next 20+ years.

Which brings me to the final event…two boys died.

I didn’t know them personally. I didn’t even fully comprehend what i was reading initially, but I kept seeing posts on fb about these two young men and it finally clicked.  They were part of the Company my son-in-law was in until November when he was transferred.  I’m friends with most of their friends so I’m watching these young people…barely old enough to drink…grieve this loss and I’m thinking to myself…THIS is what it means to be in the military now.  This is the kind of stress-filled life Trump was talking about when he decided..not arbitrarily…not because of some per-conceived ideas or trasnphobia…to ban the transgender community from serving.

I’m suddenly totally aware of how fragile life is…and how desperately short.  Too short to waste a second editing the truth out of your vernacular…and too fragile to risk with social experiments….so I won’t…

The military works because of one simple tenet…you’ve got to be ‘foxhole worthy’. Everyone who’s served has uttered these words at least once…’they’re ok but I wouldn’t want them in my foxhole’.

Transgenderism or gender dysphoria, is a mental illness recognized by the World Health Organization. Mental illness isn’t curable…it’s treatable. Right now the only recognized treatment is sexual reassignment surgery. However, the medical community doesn’t recognize gender dysphoria as a medical malady.

But there’s more…GD comes with a laundry list of other mental illnesses. More than half of the trans community has been diagnosed with narcissism…also not curable. The trans community has ‘two-fold to three-fold increased risk of psychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety disorder, suicidal ideation, suicide attempt, self-harm without lethal intent, and both inpatient and outpatient mental health treatment’.

How about this little fact…”Persons with transsexualism, after sex reassignment, have considerably higher risks for mortality, suicidal behavior, and psychiatric morbidity than the general population. Our findings suggest that sex reassignment, although alleviating gender dysphoria, may not suffice as treatment”.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in conjunction with the National Center for Transgender Equality conducted a survey and found that 41% of the trans community had attempted suicide. ATTEMPTED!  Not just considered. The national average for the cisgender population is 4%!
62% of the trans community has also been diagnosed with clinical depression or bipolar-ism.

In other words…I wouldn’t want them in my foxhole.

I applaud Donald Trump Jr. for his decision. Despite the bleeding heart bullshit we endured under the Obama administration, this country and American society work because we adhered to a few simple tenets…like the good of the many outweigh the good of the few. National security IS the good of the many. And if maintaining national security means we don’t fill our foxholes with the suicidal, depressed and disenfranchised part of society…then I’m ok with that.

 

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Photo Shoot Saturday – Brittany

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Serendipity All Over My Foyer

I’ve been redecorating for-ev-er!  Seriously…I started with my office in October 2015 and I’m still reworking rooms.

Decorating is sort of a visceral experience.  There’s a certain amount of science that goes into it but at the end of the day it’s all about your gut.  And the size of your car!  You have to have room to carry the right piece home!

Jim and I just updated the foyer.  We weren’t planning this particular bit of redecorating…it just kind of happened.  A trip to Pier 1 also just kinda happened right before.  We both fell in love with this table (technically I fell in love with the 6 foot tall wooden giraffe first but he talked me off the ledge) and it fit in the car.  It was serendipity or something.

It would have been serendipitier if we didn’t have 40 foot tall walls in the foyer and no way to paint them.  I’m not a white wall kinda girl.  But I am  an ‘afraid of heights’ kinda girl.  Fear won out…the walls stay white.

Cabinet – Pier 1

Lamp – Christmas Tree Shop

Frames – TJ Maxx & Marshalls

Books – Save the Orphans Thrift on Legion

Framed art – Hobby Lobby

Photos – mine

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SKIP & BUFFY WENT TO THE RACES

Occasionally Jim and I like to get dressed up and do bougie things.  When we do, he refers to us as “Skip & Buffy’.  Last weekend Skip and Buffy went to the horse races and had our own little My Fair Lady moment.

I wore pearl earrings and a large brimmed straw hat, he wore loafers and crisp khaki shorts, and we headed to the Pinehurst Harness Track for the Spring Matinee Races.

The track is historic…you know how I love anything historic and most of Pinehurst has some kind of historical reference.  The track opened in 1915.  Leonard Tufts, the son of Pinehurst founder James Tufts, helped to form the Pinehurst Jockey Club in 1916.  The 56 acre track was placed on the national Historic Register in 1992 and the Pinehurst Parks and Recreation Department maintains it.  Adjacent to the track is the Fair Barn which was built in 1917.

*Photo courtesy of Tufts Archives. The barn was used for a cattle auction in 1931.

“The Fair Barn is the oldest surviving early twentieth-century fair exhibition hall in North Carolina. It was built in 1917 for use at the Sandhills Fair, one of the major country fairs in the Southeast from 1915 through 1925.”

See?  Major historic cred.  The barn has been completely restored and is a multipurpose gathering place available for social events.  The day of the races the interior was set up as a gallery with dozens of easels sporting amazing horse art.

The horse…is smiling!
I had to stop myself from shouting “Move your bloomin’ arse!’ during every race!

Behind the bandstands are food trucks and along the fence line are tables you can rent.  In fact, the park opens hours before the races start so people can mingle and munch.  You contact “Bunny” if you want to reserve Rail-side Parking.  Her name could actually be Bunny…but I think she’s infringing on my thing.  We decided to purchase a table rail-side next time and bring friends.

This weekend Jim and I did our quarterly road-side cleanup.  We’ve adopted the road outside our neighborhood through the NCDOT program.  And next weekend Skip and Buffy are off to the Long Leaf Pine Horse Trials at the Carolina Horse Park.

Photo Shoot Saturday – Disco

Photo Shoot – Candice & Kaci

This was all about the pith helmet.  I found it in a thrift shop and decided we were going to do a grand safari inspired photo shoot around the helmet.  But…it had to be elegant and it had to be a period shoot.  I hadn’t seen Out of Africa (yet) so the shoot was sort of my interpretation of the movie.

I also had this crazy idea that i could make wooden bracelets so i found myself at Home Depot buying all of these bits for the drill…which did NOT work.  I ended up using a jig saw to cut them, then a belt sander to smooth the outer circles.  Did I mention it was about 109 degrees on the patio while I was sanding and sawing my way to African authenticity???

I also made Candice’s necklace…so much easier than the bracelets.  I bought the wooden disks at a craft store, stained them and used the dremel to drill tiny holes in them after I’d laid them out in a simple pattern.  I used some kind of black waxed thread to tie them together, then tore a piece of black taffeta and attached it to the back to fasten the necklace.  And..i did it all while sitting at my desk watching a movie…in the A/C!

Both dresses are from a local thrift shop, Kaci’s shoes are mine, Candice wore her own.  We shot this at the old train depot in Normal Oklahoma.

Thank you ladies for indulging me!

The New Duchess of Devonshire

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This is the Duchess of Devonshire.  The Honourable Deborah Vivien Freeman-Mitford was born on 31 March 1920, the sixth daughter of the 2nd Baron Redesdale.  She died September 24, 2014.

Read more about her here…

My old lady goal…is pretty much to rock everything like she did.  Every chore…even feeding chickens..is more glamorous with a ball gown and tiara.

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Which brings me to my point…I’m addicted to dishes.  I’m the Frank Navasky of the porcelain world.  I love our house…it’s not a centuries old castle in the heart of England…but you can’t win them all.  And even though we’ve been in the house 6 years I’m still slowly buying things and decorating.    I finished an upstairs bathroom in June and now I’m focusing on the kitchen…and I’m trying to channel my inner Duchess as I decorate it…

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I’ve been collecting dishes for years….I started buying them at thrift stores and yard sales, TJ Maxx and department stores.  I have full sets of some and no more than 1-2 pieces of others.  But I love them all…and I really love to mis-match them!

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Source:

The bottom piece is a charger from Michael’s.  I painted them blue

The square plates are from TJ Maxx last week

The scalloped baby blue saucers are from a charity shop in Oklahoma

The gingham, both polka dot dishes and the whales are from the Christmas Tree Shop

and the Transfer ware is from a local thrift shop

I’m slowly working on new colors for the different holidays.  It’s a process

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Photo Shoot Saturday – Matt & Candice

Outlaws in Oklahoma

Exploring Oklahoma

Elmer J. McCurdy was an American bank and train robber who was killed in a shoot-out with police after robbing a Katy Train in Oklahoma in October 1911. Dubbed “The Bandit Who Wouldn’t Give Up”, his mummified body was first put on display at an Oklahoma funeral home and then became a fixture on the traveling carnival and sideshow circuit during the 1920s through the 1960s. After changing ownership several times, McCurdy’s remains eventually wound up at The Pike amusement zone in Long Beach, California where they were discovered by a film crew and positively identified in December 1976.’

Read the whole story here

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In the same cemetery….

William “Bill” Doolin was an American bandit outlaw and founder of the Wild Bunch, an outlaw gang that specialized in robbing banks, trains, and stagecoaches in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas during the 1890s.’

Read more here

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Photo Shoot Saturday – July 4th!

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Elephant Walk

Jim is the airfield manager at Pope Airfield.  So I got VIP seating for this one.

‘An elephant walk is a USAF term for the taxiing of military aircraft right before takeoff, when they are in close formation. ..The term elephant walk dates to World War II when large fleets of allied bombers would conduct attacks in missions containing 1,000 aircraft. Those who observed this said that the taxiing of these large numbers of aircraft to takeoff in single file in nose-to-tail formations said that they looked like elephants walking to the next watering hole.’

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Aloha Zoo

Jim and I took the kids to the Aloha Zoo today.  It’s owned and operated by a friend of a friend so we were excited to see what he’s done.  Most of the animals, even the exotic animals, were rescued so it’s pretty inspirational to see how they’re thriving now.

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Peacocks run wild all over the estate.  I LOVE peacocks!

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‘Planet Clair Has Pink Hair’

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M*A*S*H*

The cast members of M*A*S*H* were at the Airborne Museum today to talk about the experience of filming the show and mingle with guests.  Jim and I both grew up watching the show…everyone did!  So it was pretty awesome to see…

 

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Loretta Switt as ‘Hot Lips” Houlihan

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Jamie Farr as Corporal Klinger

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William Christopher as Father Mulcahy

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Fayetteville’s Historic Cemetery’s

It’s not often that Cait wants to spend the day with me…so when she does I jump on it.  We spent all afternoon tooling around the historic cemetery’s in Fayetteville.  There was lots of Spanish moss, a few homeless people and a lively discussion about grave robbing…so we had a blast.

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Hiking Raven Rock

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The couple that hikes together…stays together!

Plus we were bored and wanted to get out of the house for a few hours.  So we drove to Candice & Matt’s favorite hiking spot and we hiked the ‘easy’ trail at Raven Rock.

It was NOT easy.  I’m just gonna put that out there.  That little squishy part of your leg just above your kneecap…I killed it.  In both legs.  And it turns out that’s the most important part of your leg when you hike.

But it IS beautiful out there.  We did the whole trail…even down to the fish hatchery and we climbed all the way down to the river.  It’s super clean and you totally feel like you’re away from the hustle and bustle of humans out there.  I loved it!

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Photo Shoot Saturday – Skates

The Rockefeller Estate

In the winter of 1916 Percy Rockefeller, nephew of industrialist John Davidson Rockefeller, was visiting the Overhills Country Club nestled just outside of Fayetteville.  The club was owned by the Kent – Jordan Company at the time and was slowly gaining interest from the wealthy East coast crowd.   In 1921 Percy and William Averell Harriman, businessman and two-time presidential candidate, would form the Overhills Land Company for the purpose of managing the estate.

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Percy Rockefeller (center) c.1920

Rockefeller was an avid hunter and immediately began construction on a fox hunting compound with twin stables for kenneling dogs and horses and a large paddock for training purposes.  Throughout the 20’s and 30’s the stables would be the starting point for the foxhunts which drew participants from up and down the east coast.  When Rockefeller died in 1934 the fox hunts stopped and the horse stable was converted into a dairy barn.  The dog kennels were mostly neglected and finally demolished in the late 1950’s.  Today all that remains of the dog kennel is a rough cement outline of the foundation.

The fox hunting compound shortly after completion
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The Fox Hunting Lodge today 2013

Harriman was an expert polo player and would convert a dairy barn, one of the oldest buildings on the estate, into polo stables for his prized ponies. Competitions were held pitting Harriman’s horses against local teams from Fort Bragg and Pinehurst on a polo field Harriman built near the world renowned golf course on the estate.

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The Barn – used as a dairy barn, then a polo stable for Harriman’s horses, and then a barn again.

Throughout the 20’s and 30’s the estate flourished.  The Birdsong Cottage was built in 1928 for Percy Rockefeller and his family.  Historic bricks and ceramic roof tiles were salvaged from buildings in and around Charlotte for its construction.  Outside the grand salon was a brick terrace and below the house was a four-car garage made of the same historic brick.  The estate also boasted its own post office, a train depot, a hunting lodge, a fully stocked lake and a golf course designed by Scottish architect Donald J. Ross.

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What’s left of the Birdsong Cottage

Percy Rockefeller and William Harriman had a falling out in the early 30’s and Harriman sold his interest and left the estate for good.  The Great Depression took its toll and the last guests to enjoy the resort left in 1932.  Percy died in 1934 and his wife died in 1937.  Their children inherited the estate and their only son, Avery, took over managing the property on the family’s behalf.  In the following years, thousands of acres were sold to raise revenue for new projects and to lessen costs.  The focus shifted from sports and recreation to agriculture and the polo stables were once again used for dairy cows.  Tenant farmers took up residence and the large palatial homes were razed and replaced with modern and modest homes.  While the Rockefeller family continued to call Overhills home until the 1990’s, the enchanting world of luxury they had initially established was long gone by then.  In 1997 more than 10 thousand acres were sold to Fort Bragg and Fayetteville’s connection to the notorious Rockefeller family would end.

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A bathroom on the second floor of the fox hunting lodge

Somehow Overhills never found a spot on the National Historic Registry and each year several more buildings collapse or burn.  There’s no sign of the rail road tracks that once bisected the estate, or the animals that initially drew hunting guides to the land, or the opulent homes and clubhouses.  In 2009, Fort Bragg representatives announced their intention to use the acreage for field training exercises.  Both soldiers and trespassers use the playground of the rich and famous for war games, their discarded bullets scattered across the floor and bullet holes scar every door and wall.  Fortunately, a small group of urban explorers have discovered the estate and are slowly and methodically photographing what’s left in the hope of preserving some small bit of its history.

Parkton North Carolina

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Parkton NC

We spent the day exploring Parkton.  Turns out…there wasn’ a whole lot to explore.  there’s a gas station across the street from this house and a family Dollar about 2 blocks away.  The house is scheduled for demolition and I’m devastated.

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I’m not sure if anyone actually lives in it, but there’s usually a yard sale of some kind on the porch every weekend.  To be fair…it stinks.  It smells like mold and mildew and maybe a bit of dead things.  But they don’t make houses like this anymore…

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After we explored the house we wandered out into the country a bit and found this old barn.  i got out to take pictures and Candice…sensing a potential for snakes…opted to stay in the car.  When i turned to walk back up the dirt road she was coming towards me to give me a flower she picked.  She braved snakes for her momma!

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Edit;  the house is now gone and they built another Family Dollar in its place

Southern Pines

‘The first James Boyd, a steel and railroad magnate from Pennsylvania, came to Southern Pines around the turn of the century. He purchased twelve hundred acres and created an estate that included stables, tennis courts, gardens and a nine-hole golf course. He named it “Weymouth” because it reminded him of Weymouth in England….

The Boyds entertained extensively and Weymouth became the center of a very lively social life in the 1920s and 1930s, with literary friends such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe, Paul Green and Sherwood Anderson. Boyd became one of America’s outstanding authors of historical novels. Drums was followed by Marching On (1927), Long Hunt (1930), Roll River (1935) and Bitter Creek (1939). He also wrote poetry and short stories.”

Read more here

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We spent the day exploring Southern Pines.  After a trip around the Weymouth House we visited the historic district and shops.  There’s an old theater that plays really old movies, lots of little boutiques, a coffee shop and a historic train depot.

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Battle of Bentonville 150th Anniversary

‘On March 19, 1865, Joseph E. Johnston organized his forces into a hook-shaped line at Cole’s Plantation, blocking the Goldsboro Road. That morning William T. Sherman’s Federal Left Wing stumbled into the Confederate trap, just as it was being set.

After a Union probing attack failed, the Confederates launched a massive assault which drove Gen. William P. Carlin’s XIV Corps division from the field. Morgan’s division managed to hold on despite being surrounded on three sides by Confederate adversaries. Late that afternoon a strong Federal defense of the Morris Farm by the Left Wing’s XX Corps managed to squelch the Confederate advance. The first day’s fighting ended in a tactical draw.”

Read more….

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The Other Rockefeller Estate

Today Jim and I toured the other Rockefeller estate in Carver State Park.   The home belonged to John Stillman Rockefeller, nephew of John D. Rockefeller.  Stillman bought the farm in 1937 and completed construction, on what would be his summer house, in 1938.

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During WWII Stillman served with the Airborne Command and developed a real passion for the military and aircraft.  From a wooden platform high up in a tree, he would spend hours watching the aircraft take off from Pope AFB using binoculars.

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When Stillman died in 2004  he bequeathed the house and 1400 acres to the NC Nature Conservancy.  The house sat empty and abandoned for more than 6 years until 2010 when the Conservancy finally accepted the donation and set about restoring it.  With funding from the state and grant money they’ve restored the roof and pumped standing water from the cellar.  According our guide…there were snakes living there…probably feeding on the mice we saw.

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The most interesting part of the estate is simply the contrast between what Stillman built and what Percy created a few miles away.  Long Valley Farm is as modest and simple as Overhills was ostentatious and sprawling.  And while Overhills was designed as an oasis for the Rockefeller’s wealthy East Coast friends, Long Valley Farm was obviously meant to be one man’s retreat away from the responsibility of being a Rockefeller.