July 18, 2024

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A Mordant Glimpse at the Austrian Aristocracy

6 min read

The name Hemlock Neversink might conjure a wooded fairyland, and that idea isn’t too far from the truth. The 34-room all-inclusive hotel, opening Oct. 13, is set on 230 tree-filled acres in New York’s Catskills region. Activities include guided bird-watching and pine-needle weaving, but the core purpose of the property is to serve as a wellness retreat. Guests will be offered a survey with questions such as “How structured do you like your days?” and “Would you like to move or rest?” The answers are meant to inform a daily itinerary created by the Hemlock team, which might include animal therapy with an on-site herd of goats or a morning cardio dance class. At the spa, nature-inspired treatments such as the Neversink Ice and Stone Ritual, which involves an herb-infused cold water bath, a hot steam shower and a hot river-stone massage, are available for an added charge. The property’s design draws from the region’s Quaker heritage, with a neutral color palette, ash and walnut furniture and quilt-inspired custom wool rugs by Manhattan’s Crosby Street Studios. The husband-and-wife owners, Sims and Kristen Foster, who were recently nominated for a James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurateur for their other Catskills hotels (including the DeBruce and Kenoza Hall), conceived of another inviting dining space for Hemlock Neversink: Bittersweet, which has two fireplaces, will focus on seasonal and locally sourced dishes. From $399 a night, hemlockneversink.com.


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“Lurking seems to be a familial trait,” writes the New York-based British photographer Victoria Hely-Hutchinson in the preface to her new photo book. “I Left My Grandmother’s House” is about the aristocratic Austrian side of her family, who have been idling for centuries around the fringes of European history. (“Heinrich used to have the same hairdresser as Putin,” reads one of the book’s enigmatic disclosures about her relatives.) Inspired by cinéma vérité filmmakers, Hely-Hutchinson has for over a decade been documenting her titled extended family with an unsentimental yet humanistic touch. Unmade beds and lonely sunlit reception halls are interspersed with spontaneous portraits (captured, for instance, mid-hug or amid the commotion of freeing a trapped bird). Hely-Hutchinson’s ease with her subjects infuses the imposing settings with a moody, lived-in warmth. But the ease wasn’t always there; as Hely-Hutchinson sought to connect with more distant branches of her family tree, she says, dinners began to feel like “family blind dates” during which she and her relatives tiptoed around the unspoken question: “How much do we trust each other to tell the intimate stories?” The answer can be found in the book’s evocative quotes, alternately mordant and macabre, many of which come from the photographer’s grandmother. They’re best imagined in the matriarch’s affectless tone, pronounced poolside after lunch in the South of France, as she “drip feeds the family gossip,” Hely-Hutchinson writes, “while flossing her teeth with a single strand of her own hair.” About $47, libraryman.se.


In 2019, after a period of what she calls “inner upheaval and regeneration,” the former marketing executive Donnie Soddu began exploring different versions of spirituality. “I worked with reiki masters, shamans, crystal healers and a few mediums,” she says. She was most drawn to crystals, which she now uses as part of her meditation practice. Looking for a way to carry her favorite stones with her and to share them with her friends, she began making delicate pieces of jewelry. High Light Rituals, which she launched in August, is a collection of dainty necklaces and bracelets that are handmade in New York and Rhode Island. Some feature gemstones including citrine (which High Light calls “a stone of abundance”), labradorite (meant to channel intuition) and Herkimer diamonds (to amplify spiritual awareness), while gold pendants are adorned with flowers, eight-pointed stars or fruits that have various symbolic meanings. They’re engraved with a Florentine finish, a crosshatched pattern of hundreds of tiny lines that gives the metal a textured feel. Silk bracelets come with spell-casting instructions. For those interested in conducting their own at-home “energy cleansing,” High Light also offers Altar Kits complete with crystals, monastery candles and anointing oil. From $115, highlightrituals.com.


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Roatán island, about 40 miles off the Caribbean coast of Honduras, is known for its white sand beaches and excellent diving, thanks to its proximity to the Mesoamerican Reef, the largest barrier reef in the Northern Hemisphere. As of Oct. 8, the splashy new Kimpton Grand Roatán Resort & Spa may tempt even more sun seekers. Most of its 119 rooms — including the stand-alone bungalows with private plunge pools — offer sea views. All of them face west, optimizing sunset stakeouts. Interiors throughout the resort feature warm wooden finishes and décor from local artists. There’s also a 10,500-square-foot spa with a glass-bottomed infinity pool over a petrified coral reef, and a full slate of activities, including yoga classes, snorkeling and introductory scuba lessons. And for guests feeling too lazy to leave the resort, Kimpton’s daily social hour highlights local businesses like the Roatán Chocolate Factory and Roatán Island Brewing Company. From $300 a night, grandroatanresortandspa.com.


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Milk Teeth, the Los Angeles-based children’s clothing shop, has launched a collection of cardigans in collaboration with Capetown, South Africa’s Big Little Store. The hand-knit sweaters, made with soft, colorful wool, are available in a range of sizes that will fit newborns to 4-year-olds. Milk Teeth founder and former stylist Catherine Newell-Hanson (the sister of the T editor Alice Newell-Hanson) says the new collection exemplifies her “magpie” method of curation. She and her business partner Rebecca Calavan are drawn to eclectic pieces that tell a story, and these cardigans do: Each one is hand-knit by Janri Bruwer, a South African grandmother whose brand name is “Because I Love You.” Bruwer knits freehand, without using a pattern. Delicate ombres of purples and greens and playful geometric patterns are her specialty. In the soft hems and small buttons, you can see the artist’s — and grandmother’s — touch. As Newell-Hanson says, “There is something magic or alchemic about something knit by someone who has loved so many generations of tiny people.” Plus, Bruwer uses cotton yarn — which is just as hardy as sheep’s wool but softer and more breathable. From $58, shopmilkteeth.com.

Sofia Coppola is not only celebrating her new book, “Archive,” and her forthcoming biopic, “Priscilla.” This year also marks the 25th anniversary of Sofia Wine, the line of sparkling wines that her father, the filmmaker and winery owner Francis Ford Coppola, created in her honor. To toast the occasion, Sofia Wine has released two charms in collaboration with the Brooklyn jewelry brand Catbird — a can tab and a tiny wine bottle, both made from recycled 14-karat gold. It was a natural partnership: “We’re huge Sofia fans; we have mood boards with pictures from her films on our office wall as inspiration,” says Catbird founder Rony Vardi. The can tab charm in particular is a nod to the Sofia Mini, the canned sparkling wine that debuted in 2004. Both charms are designed to be slipped onto one of Catbird’s signature gold chains and can be worn on their own or, in true Catbird style, layered delicately with other dainty baubles. From $108, catbirdnyc.com.


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2023-10-05 16:47:45

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