Monday, August 08, 2005

An Unexpected Gift from my Husband

Today was very hot and muggy. Hannah went to rec and Gary asked me if I would work with him for a couple hours this morning because Chris wasn't able to. I told him I would and was pleasantly surprised to find myself in one of the most elegant homes I've ever been in! In Gary's line of work, I have seen some fabulous old homes but this one truly was the best so far! I wish I had a photograph of the outside and the grounds but here is a description from the website promoting their celebration.

"Old York Historical Society Presents:
River House Centennial Days
Come join in celebrating the hundredth anniversary of River House, the Newport-like mansion built in 1905 on the banks of the York River. River House is a private residence built by the widow of the rubber magnate B.F. Goodrich. The estate enjoys a fascinating history with many of its original furnishings and artwork still in place. In 2003, the property was one of the sets for the newly released HBO film Empire Falls."

"On Saturday, Aug. 13, the celebration begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. Enjoy guided tours of the first floor of one of the largest and most elaborate estates on the Maine coast throughout the day. Stroll River House's grounds, including the "white garden" which opens to an allee of trees and manicured lawns leading to one of the largest round saltwater swimming pool's in New England.

The gardens at River House were designed by noted landscape architect Arthur Shurcliff whose most recognized work was with John C. Rockefeller on the landscapes of Colonial Williamsburg. "

What a house! Stunning and magnificent... something to dream about. I could smell the rich wood, wool carpets and history just oozing everywhere. While Gary worked on the alarm, I was able to stroll freely around the house, enjoying all the beautiful antiques, paintings, furniture and views that this beautiful, old home had. I could picture a lovely lady in her white gown with a green silk sash strolling in the English garden terrace outside the library. Or a gentleman in a velvet smoking jacket, having a cigar with his feet crossed in front of him on a horsehair ottoman enjoying the waning sunlight in the parlor. There were 12 guestrooms, 9 bathrooms, a library, a billiard room, wine cellar, an elevator, and a dumb waiter. The kitchen had a 10 (!!) burner gas stove and 3 huge cast iron sinks. Seriously, you could've bathed in them.... that's how big they were! What a bustling house it must've been in it's day. Imagine a wealthy family arriving to spend the summer at the coast of Maine. Their fleet of servants would have had to arrive before them to open the house, clean and unpack everything and prepare the kitchen. When the family arrived, they would just begin their holiday at the sea. How enchanting.

I can't imagine owning a place like that and not wanting to share it's beauty. I'm glad the owners are opening it up for it's celebration.


Melody said...

Sounds gorgeous! My house just smells of stale food, dirty feet and teenagers!

Beth said...

We have something else in common... I have a passion for historic homes, the bigger the better. It's a dream of mine. I lived in one once, but hubby's desire to climb the ladder made us move and I haven't loved where I've lived since!

Sue said...

Lucky you! I wonder if Gary knew you would be delighted with that job, or he just got lucky on that one. Either way, what a great treat!

Lu said...

that sounds great!! my husband builds houses and it always depresses me a little to go and see the great houses that they build...and then come home to the crappy one we live

Julie said...

Oh how nice it is to dream right! Actually I know the York Historical House. We have friends that live down that way. And guess what...Empire Falls was filmed around here also...Skowhegan, Norridgewock, places very close to our hearts...
Great Post Sheri. I love reading you