By: Jane Ross
What was more perfect – the clear blue summer sky or the unspoiled beauty of the landscape at the Wine Talk/Meadow Walk benefit party sponsored by the Redding Land Trust on Saturday, August 27, at the Jones Meadow off Poverty Hollow Road? Some 80 guests at the inaugural event were met with a glass of the evening’s signature drink, a Meadow Mocktail, before ascending on the mown paths and circles of the 4.6 acre property, where hors d’oeuvres and drinks were served midway and at the summit of the rise. Given the warmth of the August afternoon, guests settled in the shade of a nearby grove to hear the featured speakers and to socialize.
In welcoming the crowd, Mary Ann Carman, RLT trustee and benefit chairman, mentioned two recent items of Trust news – its national re-accreditation and its financial help in securing with the Town a prime Redding property as open space. Next sommelier Codey Foster described the Spanish Roija wines being served to guests by Ancona’s Wines and Liquors, one of the event’s sponsors.
Following the brief wine talk, landscape architect Silvia Erskine and field biologist Laurie Heiss, both RLT trustees, described the plants and animals sustained by meadow environments – lands which are increasingly under siege from development and forestation. Offering samples from Jones Meadow, they noted that it is mowed only once a year, thus allowing for floral rebirth.
Bob Morton, author, editor and publisher who has lived beside Jones Meadow for the last 45 years, next recounted the history of the area, from the days when miners panned the nearby Aspetuck River (hence the name Poverty Hollow) to the gift of the meadow by its late philanthropic landowners Mary Carter Jones and Alfred Jones, the latter known as founder of the hedge fund. The house behind his home, Mr. Morton told the assembled gathering, was at one time rented by the chief art critic of the New York Times, John Russell, who described Jones Meadow and its inspiration with unmatched eloquence. Stating that he and his wife seldom went out, Russell wrote, “…whatever we want, we can see it from our window” – it is “a yearlong source of wonder and delight. Sloping upward, bordered by maples that stand out against the skyline, it is the very paragon and epitome of New England fields.” And the perfect site for a Redding Land Trust celebration.