Seems that just last week I was preparing for the arrival of the New Year. January 2021 was peeking around the corner at the end of December. Now, all of a sudden, the beginning of February 2021 is peeking around the corner at the end of January. Winter weather has been deceptively mild so far with only a few days of cross-country skiing at Topsmead. Ice accumulation has been mostly minimal, and snowfall has been mainly intermittent with snow flurries laying down coverings of white, only to disappear without any of us needing to touch the snow shovel.
However, leaving weather and politics and the pandemic aside, January did have a memorable moment for Friends of Topsmead State Forest—the mid-month premier of the documentary film Topsmead: One Lady’s Legacy. The film chronicles the story of Edith Morton Chase and her beloved Topsmead.
I was privileged to be on the film’s advisory team, partnering to write the script with Jerry Geci, Topsmead docent and historian. One day last fall, the DEEP opened up the cottage for filming interviews with Geci and Bob Orintas, son of Miss Edith’s chauffeur. Early that morning, Jenny Riggs, head of the film advisory committee and the film’s main narrator, enlisted a few helpers to go in and wake up all of the rooms. As you will see in the film, the cottage sparkled with delight to welcome people once again into its cozy but elegant spaces. I know for sure that the cottage and Miss Edith, along with the rest of us, will be happy when tours of the interior can start again.
On that same day, Albert Petrunti’s Awecast video production company brought its drone camera equipment and, thanks to perfect weather, was able to capture aerial footage of the cottage and the surrounding fields. When you watch the film, you will see clearly how Miss Edith’s beloved property sits at the top o’ the meadow surrounded by the Litchfield hills, and you will love seeing from the perspective of the red-tailed hawks that often soar overhead!
The film, commissioned by the Friends of Topsmead State Forest executive board, will be coming soon to the FTSF website near you! Get your popcorn ready!