Marcia Strykowski

Pickity Place and Little Red

houseBack in 1786 a small cottage was built in the scenic hills of Mason, New Hampshire. Many years later, Caldecott Medal winner Elizabeth Orton Jones (1910-2005) lived in the quaint little red house.  Red Riding Hood Jones Golden Bk 1948She used it as a model for her illustrations in Little Red Riding Hood, (Little Golden Books, 1948). I recently visited this idyllic setting–now called Pickity Place–with a group of fellow librarians. house sign

DSC00229 - CopySome of us couldn’t decide which was better: the amazing five-course gourmet meal accented with herbs and edible flowers grown and harvested on location or the gorgeous gardens and pathways where we wandered after lunch. DSC00247Let’s take a tour of a few highlights. I spy a little drying shed in the distance. drying shed distanceOnce inside, it feels like a worker has just stepped away. DSC00254Gift shopLook inside one of the gift shops to see lots of lovely items on display. And if you peek through the doorway into the next room, you’ll be surprised to find someone sleeping in Grandma’s bed! DSC00234Here are a few lines from Elizabeth’s Caldecott acceptance speech: Every child in the world has a hill, with a top to it. Every child–black, white, rich, poor, handicapped, unhandicapped. And singing is what the top of each hill is for. Singing-drawing-thinking-dreaming-sitting in silence … saying a prayer. I should like every child in the world to know that he has a hill, that that hill is his no matter what happens, his and his only, forever.”

me at pickity

I should have worn a red-hooded cape for my escape to this enchanted forest.

Just for fun, below are three illustrations from an earlier 1843 edition of Little Red Riding Hood. Do you have a favorite version? 1843 trio

26 Comments

  1. Art Norton

    It is a wonderful place! The gardens are a lovely place for photography.

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    • Thanks, Art! It was so nice to see everything in bloom (last time I went it snowed on the way home!)

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  2. Louise

    Thanks for bringing back memories of Pikity Place for me. I love the herbal/floral meals, and the beautiful gardens, and the shops with interesting and tempting items that I can’t live without! This is one of my favorite restaurants–any season of the year! Even the ride to get to the house is wonderful–as if one is traveling to another world.

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    • This was kind of a last minute extended staff mtg. I’d love to go back sometime, though. We’ll have to plan an outing. 🙂

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  3. So pretty! Those gardens are beautiful. Sounds like it was a lovely adventure with literary like-minded friends!

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  4. Thank you for this post. I particularly like Elizabeth’s Caldecott acceptance speech, so full of wisdom for children and adults. We all need hills!

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    • Her entire speech was beautiful. You can read all of what she said on the Horn Book site. Thanks, Lynn!

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  5. I like Clever Polly and the Stupid Wolf by Catherine Storr. It’s a fun retelling of the classic story with a bright little girl outwitting the wolf at every turn. I think it was written in 1955, although I’ve not checked that.

    I really love your post, and though it would be a good fit for my blog and that got me wondering if you might be interested in doing a guest post. You could do something along the lines of this post or just re-blog it or something else entirely. I usually ask that people write something about their childhood or what inspired them to write. If you are interested please go to the index on the right-hand side of my blog and click on ‘Guest Posts’ that will give you an idea of the kind of thing I’m looking for. I will understand if you would rather not.

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    • Sounds like a fun version of Little Red Riding Hood. I’ll have to look it up. 🙂 Things are pretty busy right now, but I’ll get back to you about doing a guest post. I’ve got several vintage book posts you might enjoy. Thanks so much for asking!

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  6. Ashley

    Pikity Place seems beautiful!! I always appreciate how many details you include in your beautiful articles so people like me can armchair travel from far away. Thank you!!

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  7. Bette Norton

    Pickity Place is one of my favorite places to go. It is a magical place! I still have my little golden book from my childhood, Little Red Riding Hood written in 1948. I love Elizabeth Orton Jones’s illustrations of the little cottage and the great old tree in the front of it.The food is delicious there and the flowers are so pretty. I have not been in the summer, every season but. Beautiful picture of you among the flowers! Thank you for taking me back there with all of your rich details and beautiful photos to go with them. A very delightful post!

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    • Thanks, Bette! How wonderful that you own a copy of the Little Golden book (I’ll look it up at work tomorrow and see what its value is these days). Also great that you’re able to visit Pickity! 🙂

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  8. mirkabreen

    What a treat! (Speaking of YUM, now I want to know what that delicious lunch consisted of)– Easy to forget that Little Red Riding Hood is a terrifying story in such an idyllic place.

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    • Hi Mirka, the menus are amazing. Each month there are different choices. If you go to pickityplace dot com and click on Dine, you can see all the season’s offerings. The picture I posted above is of their flour-free chocolate cake with raspberry sugar dust. Thanks for visiting!

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  9. Anonymous

    oh, my goodness, I definitely want to go here when next I am in New England!

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  10. My sisters and I had that Golden Book edition of Little Red Riding Hood.

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  11. Vijaya

    That is such a gorgeous place and I never knew, Marcia. How lovely that you got to visit. All you need is a bonnet and red cape and you’ll be the part. I don’t remember the version I had as a child, but they were gorgeous illustrations. And since then I’ve even seen stories written from the Wolf’s POV!

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    • Yes, there are some funny wolf stories out there. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Vijaya!

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  12. Love what stories do to reality and what reality does to stories!

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  13. Enchanting! Your blog brings my favorite version of Little Red Riding Hood to life! Also, I love the quotation: “Every child in the world has a hill, with a top on it. Every child–black, white, rich, poor, handicapped, unhandicapped. And singing is what the top of each hill is for. Singing-drawing-thinking-dreaming-sitting in silence…saying a prayer. I should like every child in the world to know that he has a hill, that that hill is his no matter what happens, his and his only, forever.” Thank you, Marcia!

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    • I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Colleen! Elizabeth sounds like she was not only talented, but extremely wise, too.

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