Ever wonder where “Starry Road Studio” is? Well the physical site lies in the hills of Southwestern NY, also known as the Southern Tier. My husband Don and I have spent the better part of the past decade building our little getaway cabin and are now preparing to add a new building for a dedicated studio. “Starry Road” is more than a physical site. The name also represents the creative life – the exploration of mythos, spirit, dreams, and of course, STARS. But I will leave that aspect for another time. For now, I thought I’d share a little background about the location and our plans for the studio.
First, to set the stage, here are a few images of the Totten farm (I’ve also heard it referred to as “Tottenshire”), where Don grew up and where his family have farmed for generations. As an Air Force brat with little notion of “roots”, the deep generational attachment of Don’s family to this place is both astonishing and wonderful to me.
The area where we have our cabin is very rural. We don’t see any neighbors or lights from our place up on the hill, and on clear nights the stars are brilliant. One of my favorite memories is of one summer night when the fields out front were full of fireflies and the sky above full of stars, it was as though we were sitting in an imax theatre with the universe all around us, the fireflies like twinkling stars below, and the milky way soaring overhead. Pretty cool.
The picture on the lower left is a spot known as the “old sheep barn” – it is a tumble of rugged old stones that once supported a barn for sheep. The lower right photo is the view from our cabin looking downhill toward the next hill in the distance where the farm house and barns are located, the main part of the farm. Looks pretty nice huh? This is summer. Winter is a WHOLE other story – very rugged and downright cruel at times.
Here we are building our cabin – we had some of the lumber milled from local trees. That’s me in the upper left photo (no I don’t look like this anymore – this was about 10 years ago when I was SO skinny). That’s Don and his nephew Drew in the lower right photo (Don STILL looks like this…grrr). And yes that is an african drum in the lower left photo – we did a lot of drumming back then.
A few views of the surrounding woodlands and hills… This part of the Totten farm – where our cabin is located – has always been known as “The Johnson Lots”. Nobody seems to remember why – maybe the name goes back to a family who lived there long ago. An old foundation of a house is located halfway down the hill next to freshwater springs. Who knows how long ago that house was occupied…? The spot where Don is walking uphill (lower right photo) is approximately where the foundation is located.