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How I feel after visiting Edgewood Orchard Galleries. Edgewood Orchard Galleries is one of my favorite places for a summer respite. The magic of it always pulls at me as I'm driving on Highway 42, just south of Fish Creek, and it's a lucky day when I have the time to pull into the gravel driveway and take a stroll around the grounds of this cherry farm-turned-art-oasis. Time seems to slow down when I'm at Edgewood Orchard, and I can feel myself letting go of my cares. The grounds of the Galleries are exquisite, with airy, light-filled barns full of paintings, sculpture and jewelry from some of the finest artists in the country. Now in its 45th season, Edgewood Orchard is nationally recognized as one of the finest galleries around. But despite their reputation, the vibe is relaxed and easy - a testament to owners J.R. and Nell Jarosh, and Nell's parents Anne and Minnow, who ran the gallery for years before the younger generation took over. The Fruit Barn Gallery, built in 1908. I visited the gallery this week on one of those fine spring days that make me remember why I wouldn't want to live anywhere other than Door County. The daffodils were blooming and the grass was a shade of green that only seems to come in early May. Freshly potted flowers dotted the perimeter of the two exhibit spaces: the fruit barn and the smaller more intimate courtyard gallery, where freshly brewed coffee was being served. The exhibit spaces are inviting, and I stopped to admire an oil painting of roses, a huge colorful pastel, and several pieces by Door County artists like Craig Blietz and Jim Rose. But the crowning glory of Edgewood Orchard, especially on a sunny spring day, is the sculpture garden, which features over 80 works of art. J.R. Jarosh, known to some as "Door County rock genius" has lovingly built a winding garden path lined with dry-stacked stone walls. "I add a little more each year," says J.R., "and what's really neat is that artists have started getting to know the space and creating works designed especially for the garden." The sculptures range from spectacularly detailed, such as an ornate metal "Gate to Nowhere," to deliciously playful - a giant fish overhanging the trail. Fountains bubble amongst the pine trees, and boxes of Door County limestone rocks, culled from the property, are labelled with the invitation "What can you create with a few stackable stones?" to inspire visitors to create their own sculptures.
In the sculpture garden. So what's in store for this season? "People love our featured shows," J.R. told me, "so we're adding three more of those this season." The galleries will also host two group shows, a trunk show and other events. But when I ask J.R. what he's most excited for the summer, he answers like a true family man: "We're grooming a new gallery dog," he says, describing the family's five-month-old yellow lab puppy. "She's showing great promise." And her name? Sunny. A perfect description of the way I felt after an hour at Edgewood Orchard. Edgewood Orchard Galleries are open daily from 10-5 through November 3.
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