Colonial Christmas celebrated

Published 4:04 pm Tuesday, December 16, 2008

By Staff
Open house in Bathincludes decorations,cider and gingerbread
Lifestyles &Features Editor
BATH — Visitors strolled through the history-rich town of Bath Sunday afternoon, sampling fresh-baked gingerbread and homemade apple cider while enjoying the atmosphere of a Colonial-style Christmas celebration.
The occasion was the annual open house hosted by the Historic Bath State Historic Site.
The site’s three historic properties — the 1751 Palmer-Marsh House, the 1790 Van Der Veer House and the 1830 Bonner House — were decked out in the finest of holiday decorations. Again this year, the ladies of the Historic Bath Garden Club and a handful of other volunteers worked their magic.
Those volunteers worked throughout the day last Tuesday to get the site ready for the open house, according to Swain. Some fashioned clove oranges, others created wreaths from fresh greenery and still others put all the items into place, incorporating fresh fruits and dried flowers in the decorations.
Preparations actually began more than a week before the event. Swain, site assistant Henry Tripp and George Chisholm, a volunteer and owner of Garden Classics in Bath, scoured the area for fresh cuttings including boxwood, cedar and magnolia.
Preparation work on the houses began last Monday so that all was ready for the garden club members to do their part.
The decorations, gingerbread and apple cider were appreciated by the visitors, as was the musical entertainment offered by the Ad Hoc Players, comprised of Lorraine Hale Robinson and Don Shiffler. They performed music appropriate to the Colonial era, including selections from the Oxford Book of Carols and old English hymns, according to Swain.
Also on Sunday, St. Thomas Episcopal Church was open and decorated for the holidays and the Bath High School Preservation group hosted an open house. The Historic Bath Foundation sponsored a reception on the grounds of the Palmer-Marsh House, giving the community an opportunity to learn more about the foundation’s grants program and projects in the town, according to Swain.
A highlight of the day was seeing children visit the site and discovering a bit about the history of the area, Swain added.