Ruins. Restoration. Revitalization.
Last weekend, we stayed in Sharon Springs, NY. What an intriguing town for me as a designer. Much like at Christmastime when visions of sugar plums are dancing in children’s’ heads, visions of redesigning an entire town danced in mine. Historic properties, both residential and commercial, just crying out for love, care and restoration can be found at every turn. Sharon Springs is a mostly abandoned historic, resort and spa town (only about 500 people are full-time residents), that has been left partially decaying, with hauntingly, beautiful Victorian architecture sprinkled around a few restored properties from a slow grass-roots restoration effort sweeping the village. It’s part scary movie, part romantic love story. Driving through, it’s as if a bomb went off or some sort of plague hit, wiped everyone out, and the buildings were left to rot, and not just any buildings, gorgeous 19th century homes, mansions, inns, hotels and commercial buildings full of opportunity. It’s a historic preservationist’s (and a designer’s) dream running wild. While there are a small number of buildings that have recently been restored, many sit next to buildings that look like they could fall down at any minute. The potential for it to be spectacular is already there, and at one time, it was just that. If all proposed plans go through, it is a town on the verge of a major comeback, and as many of us travelers are looking for unique experiences away from the city, this is poised to be the perfect long weekend respite.