Many of you know that my mid-week post usually comes out in the wee hours of Wednesday. But, this is a special post and so it took me much longer than I anticipated.
It almost always does. haha.
Two days ago, my darling professional musician-son, Cale Israel, treated me to a trip to Historic Deerfield Village.
As usual, I did no research. And, thus, had no idea what to expect. All I knew is that there would be some “old houses.”
And, actually, I’m glad that I did not do any investigating before going. Most of the photos I’ve come across doing research don’t do this place justice. I hope that I’m able to capture the glorious feeling I had walking around this amazing residential area.
Wait until you see! (no fair peeking) Plus, each house is also built on an exquisite piece of property featuring trees as old as the houses. (over 200 years old!) You’re going to see those too!
Old house + old trees = heaven for Laurel, and hopefully, you too!
So, before we feast our eyes on much of what I experienced, in Historic Deerfield, let’s go over a little geography, just to give you a sense of place.
Please note that all photos are mine, unless noted. Please feel to help yourself to a couple linking back to this post. And, as always please pin to your Pinterest boards for reference.
Above is a map of Massachusetts. It also includes all of Connecticut and Rhode Island. And, in the bottom left-hand corner, you can see New York City. Boston is the far right.
About 16 miles below Historic Deerfield is the town of Northampton, MA, where I’m currently living.
I also found a map of inhabited pars of New England in 1776 via the HDVillage website.
It looks like they kind of squished Connecticut and expanded Rhode Island. However, I love these charming old maps. Actually, I love all maps.
Historic Deerfield is in the northern area of the town of Deerfield, MA, and nestled between the Deerfield and Connecticut Rivers.
Originally, it was a vibrant agricultural region known to be devoid of rocks and, thus, highly prized.
The English wanted the land, but so did the French and the Native American Indians. Hence, a lot of fighting.
And, now for a map of our self-tour.
Our tour was mainly on the north/south Old Main Street. The path on the right covers more homes as well as a gorgeous private prep school, Deerfield Academy. We went there too.
I let Cale drive Quatti (my 17.5-year-old Audi A-4). We rounded the bend from Main St. to Old Main Street. (if you look at the top of the map) And, Cale parked on the road.
There were very few cars. Of course, that’s because aside from the residents, everything is closed.
And, that’s just the way I like it. Oh, it’s not that I don’t want to see what’s inside, but I usually lack patience for guided tours, unless the inside is AMAZING. We’ll get to that in a sec.
Our first home is welcoming us to Historic Deerfield.
I think I’m gonna like it here!
*As a quick aside, (and skip ahead if you’re not interested) before we get into our Historic Deerfield candy; two days ago, my MD prescribed a 3-week course of prednisone.
And, already, my burning hand itch/swelling is beginning to calm down a lot. I’ve never had anything like this before. I had resorted to holding an icepack most of the day and night. Thank you for your recommendations!
Interestingly, my hands didn’t bother me once during our tour on Monday. But, the air temp was in the low 60s, just cool enough to feel refreshing. But, not cool enough to feel cold with a sweater, scarf, and hat.
*The rest of the homes, museums, and buildings of interest will not be in perfect order.
Some buildings have one or two images and some many more. There are a lot more images than usual. This is vastly edited down, however. I just wanted to give a good feel for the homes and properties in the village.
Please enjoy the exquisite beauty, history, and magnificence of this slice of heaven in north-western Massachusetts.
Cale and I began our self-tour down Old Main Street, where most of the buildings are located. Historic Deerfield owns about 50 of the houses. The rest are private residences. And, of course, there are churches, a US post office, a hotel, and community centers.
Monday was THE day to go to Historic Deerfield. Both the rhododendrons and lilacs were in peak bloom. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a rhododendron this persimmon color. And yes, it is this vibrant.
The sky was perfect, mostly cloudy, but a few breaks of not super-strong sun for interest.
Old Deerfield had its start in the mid-1600s when it was strictly a farming community. Agriculture is still big throughout the entire Connecticut River Valley of Western Massachusetts. But, most of these homes were built in the mid to late 1700s in the Federal or sometimes called Colonial style. Many are in the saltbox style.
Salt boxes are characterized by a symmetrical and unadorned front, for the most part. And, then a distinctive deeply sloping roof in the back.
You will see just how closely these styles mirror their English cousin’s Georgian style.
After-all, the people building these homes were from England. And, you’re going to see why they call it “New England.”
Mostly, Cale. He was as patient as possible while I snapped some 180 photos.
The Historic Deerfield Village has a designated website with much more information than I can provide here. If interested, you can check it out here.
If you miss it now, there are more links to it.
We came across this gem early on our tour, and both Cale and I loved it. It is known as the Moors House. And, built c. 1848 in the Gothic Revival Style.
Twelve of the houses are used as museums of various kinds that hold tours.
You will see images of most of them. They depict different period rooms as well as how the artisans worked in the 18th and 19th centuries.
It is interesting to note that not all of the homes were first built on their current land. I’ll be pointing some of that out as we go along.
Most of the homes are clapboard and are painted in authentic colors and stains of the day.
While I certainly expected a lot of painted homes and most of them are. There are probably a dozen or so homes that are stained a deep brown. Or, gray-brown. And many of the houses are quite weathered. Apparently, that is appreciated in this historic designation.
The Sheldon House, built 1754-57, is an excellent example of one of the stained brown homes. This is not my photo, and I don’t know who took it.
However, the close-up of the front door is my image. Some of these photos almost look like paintings. As you can see, this house, is an example of a lot of weathering. It is a far newer photo than the one above it.
This is also my image of the Sheldon House taken from a side view.
By the way, Old Main Street is about a mile long. Therefore, Cale and I walked well over three miles.
The Dwight House built c 1754. This is one of the homes that was moved. Can you imagine what a job that was?
It was originally built in Springfield, MA, but when they were threatening to demolish it, in 1950, it was moved piece by piece to Historic Deerfield.
Beautiful colors and a rich pediment are striking over the entrance door.
The Joseph Stebbins House built circa 1772
A close-up view of the gorgeous front door area.
I also love the onion sconce. Here’s a similar one on Build.com Sorry, I don’t know where the one on the Stebbins House is from. Maybe do a Google search if you’re curious.
And, they can do a beautiful verdigris finish. I’ve ordered from them dozens of times since 1999. And, they’ve always produced a superior product. Plus, they’re super nice. Oh, and they’re about 90 miles away in West Rupert, VT.
But, look at this gem I unearthed.
A photo of Joseph Stebbins Home taken in 1888 – on old Main Street with a dirt road!
The Ashley House Front Door – is another one of the Historic Deerfield houses.
The Allen House is also one of Historic Deerfield’s designated homes.
It was built in 1734 and renovated in 1945. The Allen House served as the residence of Historic Deerfield’s founders, Henry and Helen Flynt. The Flynts purchased numerous houses along The Street between 1942 and 1962. The interiors of this house have been left as they were when the Flynts lived here. And, along with their outstanding collections of American antiques.
This image was taken from the Historic Deerfield website, and here’s why. (you can see the houses here.)
The Allen House is going through a little reno. And, no doubt put on hold due to the pandemic. This is my photo.
At 99 Old Main Street is a classic Federal home. I’m not sure of the exact dates because I could not find any information on this house.
99 Main St.Front Door- Historic Deerfield – photo: LBInteriors
Next up, is the Historic Deerfield Inn.
I took many photos of this iconic hotel.
Couldn’t resist a close up of the pink lilacs.
And, Cale couldn’t resist taking a pic of his Mama hard at work on her knees. NOW, I know why they were sore the next day! But, do I look like a tourist or what? And, yes, I’m still carrying my England Michael Kors bag everywhere I go!
I did not go inside the Inn. I imagine that it’s closed, anyway. But, I did find an image on Trip Advisor of the lobby.
So, what do I think?
I think you guys know me well-enough by now to know what I think. It’s American bastardization of Georgian styling, AKA: FUDDYDUDDY.
It’s not that it’s hideous. It’s just not right. I know my English friends are laugh snorting their tea right now. Please, I know. We suck.
First of all, no way in hell should there be wall-to-wall carpeting. There should be a wide-plank reclaimed (if not original) chestnut, walnut, or pine hardwood floor with a waxed finish. Pick one. And one or two beautiful Oriental rugs in rich reds, blues, gold, cream. The Heriz style will do.
No, it does not have to be like that. Although if it was, I’d be staying there the next time I come up here. haha.
But, please no matchy, matchy, ditsy brocades.
And, for God’s sake, what are those giant office-chair-type casters and trite damask fabric?
The window treatments were NEVER done like that in the 17th-19th century. NEVER. We went over that in great detail in this post.
I would add sconces with mirrored backs.
Those types of sconces (with candles, back then, of course) were typical for this period.
The other lamps need to go.
I would put up some gorgeous blue and white Chinoiserie table lamps.
Below is a mini widget with some ideas.
And a Chinoiserie coffee table in black. It could have a faint gold design, or not.
We need to remove the hideous office casters.
Then I would slipcover EVERYTHING in white cotton duck ala JK Place Capri. Or fine. It could be a performance fabric. But, slipcovers.
Yank those just plain wrong valances down. I know that some of you will like them. That’s fine. You can like them, but they don’t belong in this historic hotel.
I would probably do nothing. There’s a porch. Light control shouldn’t be an issue.
Okay. We need to move on with more of Historic Deerfield.
Shortly after that, we happened on the Historic Deerfield Village post office. It looks more like a small chapel to me with those lovely leaded glass windows. Maybe it once was!
Then, I saw it. What was it? You’re going to have to wait. That’s because we had to take a side road that went to Deerfield Academy.
Can I go here?
We passed a young gentleman who was pushing his young child in a cart. He pointed out that this was one of the dorms. And, here is a wonderful example of the period of a building and trim painted the same color. We talked about that in this post about exterior paint colors.
One of the many gorgeous buildings that make up Deerfield Academy, an elite prep school located in Historic Deerfield. It began in 1797. At that time, it was only a local school. But now it is both local and boarding.
At the end of the road is this lovely area. This so much reminded me of England. Below are the playing fields, and to the left is a cemetery. I believe that’s purely coincidental. ;]
You must be getting tired by now.
Here, let’s take a rest, okay?
No worries. I’ve saved some of the most beautiful properties for the end.
Williams House – Historic Deerfield
Originally constructed in 1730, the Hinsdale and Anna Williams House was extensively renovated to its present appearance in 1816.
Visitor’s Center – Hall Tavern – It was built in 1760 in Charlemont, Massachusetts and moved here (I don’t know when) And, it is classic Federal Architecture. I think this one if my favorite. I adore the purity of form and color.
Here’s another one. Obviously, I LOVED this home AND Property because I took many photos of it. And, it was only today that I realized that they were all the same home.
It’s THAT tree. I guess that someone has spent a fortune keeping that amazing specimen alive. Who cares that it’s perilously close to the house?
But all of it. The other trees, landscaping. That fence.
I couldn’t decide which one, so I did both. :] Actually, I wasn’t looking at the house at 64 Old Main Street this time, just the magnificent colors. And, THAT tree!!!
And, this one at 72 Old Main Street. Classic Georgian/Colonial. I don’t have any further information about this beauty. So, it must be a private home.
But, here’s what I saw in the distance before we turned to see Deerfield Academy and those houses.
I was captivated from about 400 feet away with this extraordinary shade of blue in another of the designated Historic Deerfield houses, known as the Wells-Thorn House.
When we came upon it, there was a young family strolling, and I couldn’t resist snapping them. There were very few people. Social distancing was not a problem in the slightest.
Yes, everything is that crooked. It looks like it’s time for a new paint job.
Interesting. I think that’s the exterior cellar door? I should know that. But, it’s not anything I’ve ever actually seen in person.
One of the parlors in the Thorn-Wells house. I’ve no doubt the color is historically accurate. It’s not my favorite. But, again, notice how everything is painted ONE color. Easy. However, also please note the perfect classical architectural proportions.
At some point, we saw this view with the bikes, and I thought it made a great photo.
This is the property from the last house before we turned around. I know, I know!
This was about the time that Cale had, had enough. But, we still found things we both loved.
Plus, he was happy that I was happy. How lucky am I!
And don’t you love his bright blue sweater against the sea of green?
When I look at this photo, I see God.
Cale’s been such a doll. We’ve spent more time together than we ever have and it’s been wonderful. We go grocery shopping, on walks. And, he’s cooked for me many times. Oh my. After living alone for seven years, it’s the most amazing thing ever.
Cale is an elementary school music teacher. And, while he still has a job, he’s working about a quarter of the time he was– from home, of course.
How lovely is this, in Historic Deerfield? I hope the cones are because they just seeded the grass.
As you can imagine, in the warm months and when the kids are in school, this place is teeming with PEOPLE.
So, if you live here, you have to get used to living in a fishbowl of sorts.
This place is in such good condition that I’m wondering if they just rebuilt most of it?
Cale noticed the gorgeous grillwork high up. I guess those are vents? Does anyone know?
It was about this time that so steeped in history, I fully expected Paul Revere himself to come galloping by on his horse.
Paul Revere’s Ride on April 19, 1775 – Charles G. Bus
I got a dude on a tractor with an apple in his mouth.
This house is actually near the house with the gorgeous property we saw without seeing the house. I know that because of the sign. Dangerous intersection. It made me laugh because I think I saw a dozen cars on the road the entire time we were there. But, I love how this image turned out. The house is reverberating on my laptop!
Or, maybe my eyes are going? Hang in there.
108 Old Main St. Historic Deerfield – looked up this quintessential old saltbox and actually found a real estate listing that appears to be current!
Well, some remuddling with the kitchen and bathrooms. And the heating system is not right. But most of the home is blessedly intact. Oh, haha! They say that the average price in the area is $234,900. What??? Sure.
What you see here is $234,900. haha
I know that because the historic Deerfield museum paid $2 million to acquire this house and land from the Creelman family, which had owned it from 1984 until Monday back in December 2018. They say that there’s an apartment in the back. I wonder if it’s still available?
Cale wanted to know what these flowers are. I told him that if I put it on the blog, at least five people will chime in with the answer.
Shortly before we parked, we saw this home built in 1827
The Wright House. Can you read the sign? There’s more information there.
And folks. We’ve reached the end.
I hope you enjoyed this and feel as transformed as I do for being there.