Choix upstate ~ fave places, spaces, etc in the Germantown NY area
Joan K. Davidson: May 26, 1927 – August 11, 2023
philanthropist, preservation champion and great friend
A note from Esme…
Usually, we like to keep our Choix mood board descriptions short and sweet. This one deserves a bit more...
We spent some of our summer in upstate New York - Germantown to be exact. Germantown has played a large part in our lives since my grandfather, Mike Gladstone, moved there in the late ‘80s with his friend, Mary Black, to restore and live in the historic Rockefeller Tavern. In 2000 Mike moved to Midwood, the Germantown estate belonging to their friend and colleague, Joan Davidson. There he built a small house on the property - the home would be his for the duration of his life, and revert back to Joan and Midwood afterwards.
How much time do you have? Joan was a philanthropist, a preservation champion, and all-around badass New Yorker. Just SOME of her accolades include serving as chairwoman of the New York State Council on the Arts in the '70s, parks commissioner for New York State in '90s, and president of the J.M. Kaplan Fund - which supports transformative social, environmental, and cultural causes through inventive grant-making - helping to restore the historic Hudson Opera House, and much of the city of Hudson itself. The list goes on and on!
She was also a beloved friend of my family, the matriarch of her own, ring leader at Midwood, and so much more. When she died in August of this summer, peacefully at the age of 96(!), her sudden exit rocked the lives of her relatives and mine, as well as most of Columbia County.
Some of my distinct and favorite memories are of time spent at Midwood, cozying up with my cousin Lucy in the twin beds of our designated room called "Bamboo."
Joan was hostess extraordinaire. Midwood's many eclectic rooms were always filled with her children, grandchildren, friends, and acquaintances. Dinner for four more often than not turned into a last-minute table of sixteen. She quickly but thoughtfully assigned seats - mixing us kids in with the interesting, and influential New Yorkers who often appeared at Midwood. Joan expected and valued everyone's input and participation - her dinner parties weren’t just dinner parties, they were gatherings where ideas and questions were welcomed and encouraged, even from a nervous 11-year-old such as myself.
Joan was such a fixture, force, and major influence in all our lives that it’s almost impossible to imagine not so much that Joan died, but that she could have died at all. New York just doesn't feel like New York without Joan 😕.
So, without further ado, our current mood board is dedicated to Joan K. Davidson and her love and preservation of Germantown and the surrounding Columbia County in, as my grandfather liked to say, "the great state of New York." We miss her deeply.
starting top left and going clock wise...
Stissing House, @stissinghouse, Pine Plains, NY.
first solo resto from Clare de Boer (chef, co-owner of King in NYC)
a restored tavern from 1782, Stissing House has a beautiful, thoughtful aesthetic, and delicious food. their house-made salt + malt-vinegar chips, bread served with salted butter from a decadent 'butter cloche', and the coconut cake are on my mind daily.
AW23 arrivals from Italian favorite, Pierre Louis Mascia. online and ready to wear! choixp here!
where we're staying:
@martinasplaces our friend Martina Arfwidson (owner of a fellow mother-daughter duo brand, the iconic Swedish cosmetic line, Face Stockholm) rents the most wonderful Airbnbs Germantown. our favorite is the Scandinavian Barn.
more nouveau choix:
a new Choix pillow! Kantha cloth + vintage linen.
where we're shopping:
Red Chair, Hudson, NY, @redchair_hudson, the best of the best european finds and antiques - ironstone addicts delight!
Battle Brown Gallery, Hudson, NY, @battle_brown, Americana gallery, loving the painting we acquired there this summer (artist + title unknown, 1953)
Quittner, Germantown, NY, @quittnerhome, lighting + homeware design practice founded in 2018 by husband + wife Benjamin Davidson (Joan's grandson!) + Pippa Biddle.
Mike Gladstone's unique house @ Midwood:
a cylindrical sheet metal grain bin attached to a shed-like structure, designed by architect Michael Altschuler.
Mike on his vision for his house “(a structure that had) been in place forever, a chapel, an abandoned farm building, a giant mushroom in the perfect environment." - Elaine Louie. “The Classic Box, Well Rounded.” New York Times, June 19, 2007.
(learn more about M.J. Gladstone's Germantown home)
Roberta Brandes Gratz, "It's a Helluva Town: Joan K. Davidson, the J.M. Kaplan Fund, and the Fight for a Better New York" 2020.
more nouveau choix:
new Choix block print napkins! choixp here!