Mrs. T and I spent most of last week at Bridgeton House on the Delaware, the Bucks County inn where we try to go for a few days at least once a year. I spent my first night there in 2005, back when I was still learning how to take vacations, and I brought Mrs. T there not long after we met. We’ve been going back at regular intervals ever since. Not only is Bridgeton House tranquil and ideally comfortable, but the breakfasts are delicious and the wonderful staff treats us like visiting royalty. To be sure, it was viciously hot all week long, but that didn’t matter, at least not too much: we were more than content to stay indoors and look at the sweltering world from a safe distance through our windows, watching the Delaware River during the day and the fireflies at night.
I hardly ever have the luxury of taking holidays unadulterated by work, and this one, to put it mildly, was no exception. The truth is that I’d come to Bucks County to review a show, Hunter Foster’s Bucks County Playhouse revival of the stage version of 42nd Street, a much-loved musical that (incredibly) I’d never seen, and to visit Oscar Hammerstein’s farmhouse, about which I’ve written a “Sightings” column that will run later this week in The Wall Street Journal, a couple of days before my 42nd Street review appears in the paper. A journalist’s job, alas, is rarely done.
Still, the two of us scraped together a modest amount of time to ourselves, and we spent virtually all of it doing nothing in particular. We slept late, ate well, took naps, and generally pulled ourselves together after a stressful stretch. I reread Harvey Sachs’ Toscanini: Musician of Conscience, James Gould Cozzens’ Guard of Honor, and Brian Rees’ 1999 biography of Camille Saint-Saëns, a composer in whose life and music I grow steadily more interested. Meanwhile, Mrs. T chipped away cheerfully at a couple of mysteries, and on our free evenings we watched two golden-age movies, Frank Borzage’s History Is Made at Night and Mitchell Leisen’s Midnight, that a good friend had copied for us. Another friend drove out to Bucks County and joined us for our visit to the Hammerstein house, which added to our pleasure. All in all, we could scarcely have had a much happier time.
On Saturday we drove home, refreshed and restored, and yesterday I set to writing in earnest. Today I take the train into Manhattan to see two shows, Tracy Letts’ Mary Page Marlowe and the Irish Rep’s revival of On a Clear Day You Can See Forever. I’ll return to Connecticut and Mrs. T on Thursday. Even when you have, as I do, the best job in the world, you can’t help but regret every second that you spend away from the side of the partner who makes your life worth living.
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Charlie Haden and Pat Metheny play “Two for the Road,” by Henry Mancini and Leslie Bricusse: