Bath Christmas Open House
By By CLAUD HODGES;Senior Reporter
Christmas from days gone by were imagined by many at the Bath Christmas Open House on Sunday afternoon.
And, she was right. As the sun was making its slow descent from the sky and the temperature was a bit cooler, more and more people were showing up for the open house.
This open house has been an annual event that continually attracts many visitors to the area. However, there are many local folks who come from year to year to get themselve into the Christmas spirit.
The Palmer-Marsh House was dressed in beautiful wreaths with fruit and berries on them and pine swags with yarrow in them on the mantles in the circa three-century old house.
Rooms throughout the house were adorned with decorations similar to ones that were thought to be there in the 250 years ago when the town was settling.
Accommodations at the Palmer-Marsh House in its history were probably envied by others in town. The house is one of beauty and was built with the strength to last into the current times.
The St. Thomas Church, the oldest existing church in North Carolina, was filled with visitors at the open house. The Beaufort County Choral Society, 50-members strong, directed by Laura Scoble, gathered in the altar area of the church and sang traditional and non-traditional Christmas songs.
The Choral Society is a non-professional group that anyone is welcomed to join. On Sunday, the singers played 15-minute sets separated by 15 minutes. It was a spirit-filled highlight of the open house.
New members are invited to join, especially men, because their voices are needed to enhance the music produced by the group, the director said.
From there, the visitor could walk to the Bonner House down near Bath Creek. While the house is not open now because of maintenance needs, the kitchen in the house’ backyard was open.
Gingerbread was being baked on an open fire in the kitchen like it was when the town was being established. Also on the grounds, apple cider was being made like it was made during the Christmas times of centuries ago.
Samples of the fresh-baked gingerbread and the fresh- squeezed apples were a delight to visitors. Many realized that sweets were a part of Bath settlers’ diets.
Touring back toward St. Thomas Church, one could pass the church, walk about a block and enter the Van Der Veer House.
While this house was decorated, it was not as popular as the other stops on the tour for the Christmas Open House. The Van Der Veer House is mostly a historical museum of Bath, with exhibits on the walls in its rooms, and does not lend itself to being dressed like the other historical structures in town.
For more photos by Kevin Scott Cutler (WDN Lifestyles and Features Editor) on the Bath Christmas Open House, see Section B, Page 8.