Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pascoag Holiday Victorian Stroll-2010

On Saturday-November 27th, 2010,

We, docents from Hearthside joined with Burrillville Historical Preservation Society and Pascoag Fire District Hose No.1 to celebrate the beginning of the Christmas holidays.
Santa drove into the center of the town of Parcoag sitting up high on a beautiful decorated fire engine. You knew he was coming as you could here the fire sirens for miles. What a spectacular entrance for the kids to see and here.

There was  house-drawn hayrides, crafts and food vendors. We even got time to get in some Christmas shopping for some unique gifts. It was fun to see lots for people out with their families enjoying Christmas in their historic town.
We always go visiting our Pascoag neighbors that reside in the local nursing home and participate in their gingerbread house contest. We never get to meet the contestants for they are all in bed by the time we get there. Here are some of my favorites.
A Gingerbread House for a Cure of Breast Cancer.

Second choice.
Gingerbread House to Support our Troops!

There was so much more to see. I wish I had taken more pictures, but it is very difficult to use the camera when you step back in time.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Hearthside Featured in "Christmas at Historic Houses" book!

I have an advance copy of the book and it's gorgeous! I thought you'd like to get a sneak peak so attached is a copy of the Hearthside chapter. There are other photos though spread throughout the book in addition to this so we really have a large presence in it, along with the White House, Monticello, Mt. Vernon, Colonial Williamsburg, and Blithewold. There are lots of great decorating ideas in it! We feel very proud of Hearthside's inclusion in it, but especially for the volunteers, the friends of Hearthside, the decorators, who have make it happen!

Lincoln, Rhode Island
Christmas By The Hearth
W here could one sit beside a cozy fire on Christmas Day and be warmed by flames and flute-like music, both
emanating from the fireplace? Perhaps only one place in the world—Hearthside Homestead in Lincoln, Rhode Island.

“The draft of the fire causes the wind-driven Pandean Pipes,an extraordinary musical instrument built into the fireplace chimney, to produce clear musical notes,” says Kathy Hartley,founder and president of Friends of Hearthside. “Such instruments have been found in castle ruins in Europe, but it would be rare, perhaps impossible, to find them installed in a house anywhere other than at Hearthside Homestead.”
Why were the Pandean Pipes installed in the Hearthside parlor chimney? “Installing this unique musical instrument may have been just one more attempt by Stephen Smith, who built this house for his lady love, to give her the most wonderful house in the nation. To woo her with music, and live happily ever after with her at Hearthside,” she says. Alas, happily ever after was not to be. Kathy tells the story:
In 1810, Stephen Hopkins Smith of Smithfield, Rhode Island (which became Lincoln in 1871) set his heart on
marrying the daughter of a prominent Providence family.
She told him she had her heart set on ‘marrying well’ and ‘expected to live in the grandest house around.’
When Smith (affluent but not wealthy) won $40,000 in a lottery, he kept his windfall a secret and prompted by love, began building a grand house. As the story goes, one Sunday afternoon Smith took his buggy to Providence and invited the young woman to take a drive with him. They set out at a leisurely pace, eventually turning onto Great Road. As the crossed the bridge over the Moshassuck River, Hearthside came into view. ‘Oh what a beautiful house!’ she exclaimed. Smith’s hopes soared. Then she added, ’But, I could never live so far out in the wilderness!’ Smith turned the buggy around, returned to Providence, and never courted her again. He settled in a house down the street, and built a business (the Butterfly Mill, now the Butterfly House) across from Hearthside.
This sad story of love and rejection was cited in Ripley’s Believe It or Not, which referred to Hearthside as
The Heartbreak House.

Since it's completion in 1814, twelve families have lived in Hearthside. Most recently it had been the home of
Andrew and Penelope Mowbray and their three children, young Andrew (Drew), Sherry and Stuart. Theirs is a much happier version of Smith’s story. One day, Andrew drove Penelope past Hearthside. ‘Oh,’ she said, ‘What a beautiful house! And look it’s even for sale!’ Hearthside was home to the Mowbrays for 40 years.
The senior Andrew died in 1996, and Mrs. Mowbray sold the property to the Town of Lincoln. Now, under the stewardship of Friends of Hearthside, Hearthside is truly The House That Love Built.
The Mowbray’s love for the Christmas season continues at Hearthside today in special holiday events, beginning with the early December Candlelight Christmas Tour. Candles in the window guide guests to a hospitable house beautifully decorated by volunteers to evoke memories of Christmases past. “In keeping
with the candle-in-the-window to welcome travelers tradition,” says Kathy, “there is no admission fee. Instead, guests donate non-perishable food to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank.” Guides dressed in Victorian finery greet guests who stroll through elegant rooms, while a harpist plays seasonal music.

Drew Mowbray, eldest of the three Mowbray children and now residing in Germany, recalls to Kathy fond Christmas memories of his childhood years (1950s-1970s) at Hearthside.
The tree used to be put up in the parlor (the room with the Pipes of Pan).

One year, the Christmas tree was to the right of the fireplace, but most often it was placed in the corner next to the door going out to the front hall. We children were shoohed upstairs on Christmas Eve, but if someone forgot to close the door to the parlor below, and we lay down on the floor and peered through the banister we could sort of see a bit of the tree.We put out cookies and milk in the front hall or the kitchen for Santa. For a number of years, my father took the time and made his own Christmas cards, painted on canvas, and then printed up the cards at his business,Mowbray Printing Company. One of my favorites was
the one with Santa flying over the houses on Great Road.and Hearthside was shown in a “cut-away” view so you could see all the family inside—adults trimming the tree
and we kids sleeping upstairs.
My father fed an interest in collecting by giving me so many neat buttons or buckles from the Civil War that he had found during the year. I looked forward to these antiques and still have all of them. One year, I received a young boy’s Civil War uniform jacket, which I also still have.
Friends’ Christmas cards were hung on a cord across the fireplace mantle, and there were always electric candles put in the windows to make the house look so nice. It seemed that the snow was always very deep. We could slide from the little hill in the field behind the house all the way to the back steps.
In the 1960s, all our friends would turn up at the house, so it was full of long-haired teens. Good memories to say the least. We always had turkey. And eggnog—with something forbidden in it. The house was alive.
Sherry Mowbray remembers her father painting the scenes for the Christmas cards when she was a young girl in the early 1960s,” says Kathy. “She also fondly recalls how lovely the white candle-style lights in each window looked from the outside especially when there was snow on the ground; how it helped set the mood inside. Sherry liked to go around to each room and turn the candle bulbs on.
“Sherry told me, ’Our tradition was to cut our own Christmas tree—always getting one just a bit too big, even though the ceilings at Hearthside were quite high.’ Her favorite part of Christmas dinner was her mother’s apple pie,” says Kathy.

Dinner Menu for

Large Turkey with Homemade Stuffing
Creamed Potatoes-and-Onions
Yellow Squash
White Turnips
Tiny Peas
Old-Fashioned Bread and Butter Pickles
Large Pitted Black Olives
Small Green Olives
Cranberry Sauce

Candlight, lace, and a wreath dress up a Dining Room window with its handsome wooden shutters folded into the deep reveal of the 14-inch thick exterior cut-stone wall.
Wainscoting and the mantel in the Dining Room are made from old window shutters that were installed during the 1920s. The metallic gold of chargers and the russet colored cloth at table, and topiaries on the sideboard add holiday glamour.
Mowbray Every-Christmas

Apple Cider
Tea in the Pot
Homemade Pumpkin Pie
Homemade Apple Pie &; Extra Sharp Cheese

The House
Hearthside—built of fieldstone and trimmed with granite quarried from a ledge across the street from the house—is considered one of the finest examples of Federal architecture in Rhode Island. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A replica of Hearthside was displayed in the Rhode Island Pavilion at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis.
In 1905, the Talbot family named the house Hearthside because of its ten fireplaces. They named their handweaving business conducted there “Hearthside Looms,” and Hearthside became known throughout the country for the quality of the goods woven there. Hearthside has captured the hearts of those who maintain it as an important historic house museum and a vital link to Lincoln’s past, present and future. It welcomes all—especially at Christmastime.
The Gazebo, an anniversary gift from Andrew Mowbray to his wife, Penelope,

becomes winter garden sculpture when silhouetted against new-fallen snow.
cards are hung as ornaments on Christmas
trees in the Master Bedroom.

Kathy Chase Hartley, neighbor and childhood friend of the Mowbray children, recalls receiving original Mowbray Christmas cards.
Now these charming cards are reproduced for sale in the Hearthside Homestead Gift Shop.
I can still remember the excitement and anticipation I had as a little girl in the 1960s experiencing all the traditions of the Christmas season in my own home. To me, what was almost as exciting as counting down the days until Christmas by opening the little door on the Advent Calendar each day, was the trip down our long driveway to the mailbox with my mother. We would return home, sit down and open each envelope and look
at the holiday of Christmas trees, wreaths, Santa Claus, and latest photos of families and relatives…pretty typical holiday cards. But it was the Christmas card from the Mowbray
family that I would most eagerly await each year.
The Mowbray family card was so special. It was as though the card was made just for us! After all, it was a card with scenes from my own street, Great Road! Each year, the card was so different, receiving it was just like the surprise of opening a present. While all the other cards were set aside in a neat pile, the Mowbray card was given a special spot for display in our house, becoming part of the decorations of the season. Some
50 years later, we still have the cards!
The cards were the creation of Andrew Mowbray, who designed and painted each one as an oil painting on canvas and then had prints of them made into cards. He kept his paintings a secret.
Not even his family knew what the subject of the painting would be each year until it was completed and
he unveiled it to them.
My all time favorite card was the View of Hearthside. The cutaway view was like peering into a dollhouse—except this one was a real house, just around the corner from my house! And there was Santa Claus flying right overhead, probably right before he would visit me. I could see my friends in the card, Drew and Sherry
Mowbray tucked away in their beds upstairs. Their father was downstairs decorating the Christmas tree in the parlor, and their mother in the kitchen taking something out of the oven... maybe it was apple pie! There was even a cat in the house. I studied that card for hours it seemed. Hearthside always held a special mystique for me. This card was mesmerizing with this cozy scene. You could get lost in it, imagining yourself being
a part of that wonderful home on Christmas Eve. I remember the Skaters on Butterfly Pond, the pond across the street from my house! There were men, women and children dressed in old-fashioned clothes skating on the pond and looking so very elegant. I skated on that pond too, but their clothes were far different from my corduroy pants and ski parka. The women wore long skirts, hooded capes and fur muffs, and the men wore
fancy jackets and top hats. Even the kids looked dressed up in their Sunday best to skate in! Looking closely at the card, it was no wonder…the date is 1814. It is probably the way Christmas might have looked when the first family lived at Hearthside. I also liked the Great Road Christmas 1812 card, because it also had so many other houses and buildings along Great Road besides Hearthside. It was fun to look at it and guess whose house was where on the road, and whose house had not yet been built. It was yet another card to let your imagination take you along the journey up Great Road during the olden days, and bring you to stop at Hearthside to get warm by the fires inside. I never noticed until now that there was a mistake on the card. It
was in the Great Road sign where the “r” was mistakenly left out of “Christmas.” The discovery of it was
devastating to Andrew. From that point on, he quit the family tradition of having custom painted Christmas
cards, so the Great Road Christmas card was the end of an era. For me, waiting for Christmas to come never seemed quite the same again.
Hearthside’s Mowbray Christmas Cards Reproductions of these original Christmas cards by Andrew Mowbray are now available in the Hearthside Manor Gift Shop.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Beautiful Chase Farm Park!

Chase Farm HouseThe 1890 Chase Farm House sits at the entrance of the town-owned Chase Farm Park. The site of Lincoln’s last operating dairy farm, Chase & Butterfly Farm, the park contains 80-acres of picturesque hills and meadows depicting the rural character of the Great Road Historic District. Its idyllic setting is enjoyed by the public for walking, kite flying, fishing and sledding.
It also hosts special events such as concerts,


and Civil War Reenactments are held there as well.

Thomas Arnold originally purchased the Chase Farm land in 1661. In 1867, Benjamin Chase purchased it from Arnold to start a dairy farm. He constructed a large complex of barns to house the cows, but a lightning fire destroyed the barns in 1925 and resulted in the purchase of the neighboring Butterfly Farm. The Chase Farm; Butterfly Farms, with a herd of well over 100 cows, provided door-to-door milk delivery to area residents until 1965. Points of interest in the park are the Victorian farmhouse, the stone garage which was the original milking parlor, the community Butterfly Garden overlooking the original farm,and the hilltop reservoir.

The historic farm house is central to the other historic properties along Great Road. The Friends of Hearthside at the beautiful Hearthside mansion is leading an effort to reuse the farm house as a museum that would capture the story of dairy farming in northern R.I.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Deck the Halls of Hearthside.

Four Holiday Events Scheduled at Hearthside

As the holiday season moves into full swing, Hearthside is getting all decked out for our celebration of the history and traditions of Christmas.

This season, Hearthside will help spread holiday cheer with four public events, each with a different focus, giving visitors lots of opportunities to join us:

A Classic Christmas Celebration on Sunday, December 5th;
Step through the door and back to Christmas times of long ago.  On Sunday, December 5th,

our guides in period attire welcome you to tour the house at your leisure and enjoy beautifully appointed Christmas trees with delicate ornaments, gaily decorated mantels, a dining room elegantly appointed with gilded décor, garlands adorning staircases and doorways, and brightly colored poinsettia plants throughout. 
Festive holiday music will be provided by Liz Ammerman, our house harpist, and our pianist, Natalya Gonchavora.

  Be sure to bring the kids to see Santa, who will be visiting from 4:30-6:30 p.m.  and bring your camera!  He's the real Santa (just check his driver's license and credit says Santa Claus)!

The traditions of Christmas as we know today, and even Santa Claus, originated during the 1860s.  Yet, during that time we were in the midst of one of the most turbulent and significant periods of our nation's history, the Civil War.  With the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War beginning in 2011, Hearthside is kicking off this special year with A Civil War Christmas in the Camp, a look at how the holiday was celebrated by the soldiers in the camp.  

On Saturday, December 11th, several Civil War re-enactors will set up an encampment on the grounds of Hearthside.  In general, winter time was a time of military inaction during the Civil War, as the armies of both sides would hunker down in the camp to wait out the winter.  Santa Claus, as depicted by Thomas Nast in Harper's Weekly 1863, was quite patriotic, wearing a blue suit with stars and stripes on it.  The Harper's Weekly cover with the illustration of Santa Claus visiting the soldiers in a Union camp was designed with the hope that it might raise Union morale and had been ordered by President Lincoln.  Nast went on to draw many more Santa Claus illustrations, which became the image of Santa we enjoy today.

Civil War Santa Claus
The most treasured present a soldier could get was a new pair of socks, quite understandable since socks wore out and were always wet with the miles of walking through rain and mud.  At the Hearthside encampment, there will be a Christmas tree and woolen socks hung on pine roping.  And a Civil War Santa Claus, just like the one that Thomas Nast illustrated for Harper's Weekly, will be in the camp.

Visitors are invited to talk with the soldiers in the camp and learn how Americans celebrated Christmas during the Civil War. Smell the chestnuts roasting over the open fire.  Then all are welcome into the house to warm up and appreciate how Christmas on the home front might have been celebrated.  

Self-guided tours through Hearthside's gaily decorated rooms are offered while enjoying music played on the antique dulcimer. 

Hours are from 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.  No reservations required.  $5/adult; no charge for 16 and under. 

The Hearthside Gift Shop will also be open during the event.

Bring your child to Hearthside on Sunday, December 12th and make special holiday memories with traditional stories that will keep the magic in Christmas for both of you.  Gather around in the lavishly decorated Drawing Room for a reading of The Story of Santa Claus, a magnificently illustrated fable that explains how Nicholas Claus became transformed into Saint Nicholas, how he journeyed to the North Pole to set up a toy workshop, his relationship with the elves and reindeer, and how he came to embody the Christmas spirit.  And to complete the reading will be one of the oldest and well-known Christmas poems, The Night Before Christmas.  The jolly old elf himself, Santa Claus, will join in and visit with the children. 
 The Story of Santa Claus
Festivities include the reading, a sing-along of Christmas songs played on our antique piano, hot chocolate and cookies, Santa Claus and a small favor for each child.  Of course, a trip through the house to see all the decorations is also part of the event along with shopping in the Hearthside Gift Shop for a special gift!   Our special guest reader is Lincoln's most eloquent Charles Cox.  Seating is limited.  Two seatings offered: 12:45 - 2:30 or 3:00-4:45 p.m.  Tickets must be purchased in advance.

Wondering what to do once those Christmas festivities are over, or you have a house full of guests from out of town and are looking for a special night out?  Why not consider an AFTER Christmas visit to Hearthside to view the decorations before the season is over.  On Tuesday evening, December 28th, Hearthside will open its doors between 6 and 9 p.m. 
Visitors will be greeted by costumed interpreters

as well as beautiful holiday melodies played by the Christ Church Bell Choir
Guided tours through the house will be given, so you'll get a chance to learn about the legendary tales of Hearthside, all done by the soft glow of candlelight.

  Here's a great chance to stop by if you missed the earlier opening in December, Reservations are required for tours starting at 6:00, 7:00, or 8:00 p.m.  Limited capacity.  Admission is $5/adult; 16 and under free.  Call 726-0597 to reserve your spot.

 I hope to see you on these joyfullest occasions. Happy Holidays!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Providence Most Beautiful Victorian Homes and Mansions

I enjoy getting dress in my Victorian attire and strolling down some of Providence's historic neighborhoods. Just walking by and admiring these spectacular home is a true step back in time.

Governor Henry Lippitt Mansion
199 Hope Street  Providence

Edward Carrington House. 1810-12
 Providence, Rhode Island.
 This building currently serves as the home of Brown University's Alumni Affairs.  

This is the Aldrich House.1700's.
 Currently Museum of the Rhode Island Historical Society.
                    110 Benevolent Street, Providence, Rhode Island.  

Chancellor William Goddard House. 1822-1881.
 Brown Street (corner of George Street), Providence, Rhode Island.
This building currently serves as the home of Brown University's Alumni Affairs.

Applied Mathematics Building
George Street
Providence, Rhode Island

Ebenezer Knight Dexter House. 1800.
Angell Street, Providence, Rhode Island.   

Cooke and Angell Streets.
Providence, RI

 Brown and Power Streets,
Providence, Rhode Island.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Historic Town of Providence

Today is Veterans Day!
A celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. 
With my passion for history comes my interest in the Civil War and the brave veterans of that era.
Having knowledge of this I wanted to introduce my readers to our town.

Providence is my town. After dwelling here for over 20 years, I have studied the historic value of this town and it part in the War.  I feel I've enjoyed it's value more than the average person who was born here.

                                  The Rhode Island State House is at 82 Smith St, Providence

    Two famous Civil War cannon, both served by Rhode Island crews, are on exhibit in the lobby to the north entrance of the State House. “The Gettysburg Gun” is an exceptional artifact with a great story.
It was there at Pickett’s Charge July 3, 1863. A Confederate shell hit the muzzle, bending it and killing two officers. Despite the damage, the Rhode Island men tried to load the gun, but the ball stuck in the muzzle and was welded there by the heat. That damaged cannon is on exhibit with the ball still in place and with 33 bullet marks.

Another Rhode Island gun used at First Manassas (Bull Run) also is displayed in the hall with regimental flags.

I have been to see this amazing exhibit several times and still feel the power and living history in our Historic Town.
Self-guided tours  are on Mondays–Fridays from 9 am–3 pm. 
Guided tours are offered Mondays–Fridays at 9, 10 and 11 am, noon and 1 pm.
You will enjoy the tour and the beauty of this building.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It's Tea Time. Come join me for Tea!

I would like you to join me for tea.
I have created a network for tea lovers to socialize while enjoying their favorite tea.
You may join us and create your page any way you like, add picture of past event, post up- coming events or just say hi.
If you need help getting around the site, like starting discussions, forming your own groups, adding profile pictures or any tech assistant, I can be of help.
So, come join, enjoy and get creative!

Victorian Tea Society of Providence

  Tea with Lady Estelle at Hearthside House

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My Victorian Hostess Gown

Honorable Mention:

Costume Contest USA Entry 29.) Dress: Historic Hearthside House Hostess Gown Victorian Costume Contest

Victorian Dress Costume ContestComment by JUDGE Lisa Schnapp: 8/15/2010

"Lovely, glowing creation blended of soft, feminine hues. A stunning gown that embodies Victorian style femininity..."