an afternoon in ipswich

October 8, 2012

Each year as the weather starts to cool down, I feel and an inexplicable pull towards the past. Perhaps it’s the season’s association with Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving, or Ichabod Crane and the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, but for some reason fall to me is the time of forebearers.

New England in particular, is the perfect place to indulge such a passion. And thus nearly every weekend in autumn I drag my family off in search of some, as-yet-unexplored, historical haunt.

This weekend found us beating a path north to Paine House in Ipswich. Despite the fact that I grew up in Eastern Massachusetts, I had never been to Ipswich. It’s an unbelievably quaint little town, on a river near the sea, full of houses that predate the Revolution. (The oldest I saw was 1639.)

Paine House, is one such residence. Built in 1694 by Robert Paine, this charming yellow saltbox is full of history. But what makes Paine House all the more unique, is that it is one of a few, even in New England, that still sit in its original pastoral setting. A pastoral setting, mind you, that is right on a stunning marsh.

Paine House in its stunning setting

fireplace in the upstairs bedroom

looking upstairs and downstairs

The clapboard facade of Paine House is a classic example of First Period (1620–1725) architecture. Inside the house has a central stair flanked by matching rooms, both upstairs and down.

The upstairs front hall creates an enfilade from bedroom to bedroom.

a downstairs hall looking into the “summer kitchen,” added later

The main room downstairs showcases the original plaster walls and post and beam construction.

period furniture downstairs

wonky hall leading to the summer kitchen (Photography in a house with no straight lines was both a delight and a challenge! And note the squash colored floor. The same as in my cottage kitchen floor.)

exterior with a view of the summer kitchen in the rear

Olie and Solvi on the field path

tag with Dad

house from the field

discoveries

salt marsh walk

Solvi in the salt marsh

flushing out snakes and grasshoppers

the back of Paine House

tree climb

Solvi, collecting chestnuts, on the wood path

milkweed!

Oliver in search of milkweeds

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