There are moments in your life that make you realize that time is a flat circle (True Detective reference). And for me one of those moments of clarity and appreciation of life’s little coincidences was on my recent trip to upstate New York. When I was younger, I would travel with my grandparents to upstate New York during the summer. It was the first place I tried my hand at ceramics as I fired my little pieces in my cousin Sarah’s kiln. And 20 years later, I was back in the same area with one of the most whimsical ceramics brands, MacKenzie-Childs! I’m sharing details on my trip to Camp Courtly Check in today’s full post.
Keep Reading A Trip with MacKenzie-Childs
Inns of Aurora
MacKenzie-Childs headquarters is located in Aurora, New York – population approximately 500 people! This little town is brimming with charm and beauty, and you can see in the photos above our accommodations at E.B. Morgan House, one of the Inns of Aurora. I started calling it our little sorority house because the seven of us would meet in the living room with our laptops, gather in the dining room for meals and talk like we were old friends.
On our first night in town, we were led in a floral arranging lesson with MacKenzie Childs vessels. I chose mine in Black Flower Market that I think pairs SO beautifully with Courtly Check. Our flower arrangements were placed around the inn for the duration of our stay for us to enjoy. I kept imagining how perfect it would be to enjoy that fireplace during the winter or curl up on the porch with a blanket during the fall!
Before this trip, MacKenzie-Childs was a relatively new brand to me. I didn’t have any pieces growing up like the other bloggers on the trip or any sentimental attachment to home decor in general. I recognized the black and white checked pattern, but I didn’t know the story or creativity behind the pieces. As we toured the MacKenzie-Childs farmhouse on our first day, it started slowly sinking in just how special this brand is!
The farmhouse is truly a magical place. It has the childhood imagination of Willy Wonka’s factory mixed with the whimsy of Alice and Wonderland. And you almost expect the furniture to start walking around and talking like Beauty and the Beast. I walked through each room multiple times, and something new would catch my eye every time!
Where the REAL Magic Happens
A giant barn on the grounds was converted into the production headquarters for MacKenzie-Childs and is where ceramic and furniture pieces are created by hand on site. On our tour of the facility, we walked through the start to finish process of how the products come to life. The extra care and steps that are taken to make each piece special and one-of-a-kind are truly amazing you guys! And not only that, the people behind each step are so inspiring and passionate about their craft.
We were also able to try our hand at clay formation and even painted our own coffee mugs using the same glaze and techniques as the in-house artisans. I had forgotten how much joy I get out of creating things with my hands! (This coming from a studio art major who spent a lot of time painting, drawing and creating.) It was also a reminder that imperfections are special and normal – which is why I’m excited to see my final coffee mug after it’s been fired in the kiln. Like I said, each ceramic piece spends a bit of time going through each process especially kiln firing, so the MC team is sending our mugs to us when they are ready! (I have a feeling that I won’t allow Jordan to drink out of it…)
Afterwards, we met with the creative team for a lesson in place settings. We learned how to incorporate our own plates and china with accent pieces from our favorite MacKenzie-Childs collections. Courtly Check and Morning Glory are my favorite ones to mix and match – and I’ve since ordered place settings of both to use in our home! (Photos to come!)
But it doesn’t end in the production studio you guys – there’s more inspiration all over the MacKenzie-Childs grounds. We walked through the beautiful floral gardens and the farm that houses the sheep, geese and even a peacock. We fed the sheep by hand and were accompanied on our grounds tour by Simon the goose. (That little house in the photos above is actually a house for the geese, y’all!)
It’s easy to see why someone would leave this place feeling so inspired and charged with creativity right? I’ve already started planning how to incorporate new MacKenzie-Childs pieces at home because now this brand is so incredibly special and meaningful to me. I’d love to hear if you guys have pieces from the brand or know someone who does. I’m currently planning some home content for fall and can’t wait to update you on which pieces I’m adding to the mix!
Thank you to MacKenzie-Childs for sponsoring such an unforgettable trip.
As always all opinions and styling are my own.