Friday, June 6, 2008

Walk Through South Berwick History

Historic New England offers a walk through South Berwick history with a series of unique walking tours the second week in June.      
The series begins on Wednesday, June 11 with a Landscape and Garden Tour at Historic New England’s Hamilton House located on Vaughn’s Lane. Take part in a special opportunity to learn about the landscape and gardens at Hamilton House with Historic New England’s Piscataqua Region Landscape Manager Gary Wetzel. Imagine the changes in the land as wilderness yielded to a busy commercial waterfront, then to farming, and finally, to formal gardens. Learn about the flowers, trees, and other plants that surround Hamilton House and how Wetzel and his gardeners maintain the beautiful formal gardens. Tour begins at the Garden Cottage at 10 am. Historic New England members $8, non-members $12. Registration required.
In the afternoon, enjoy a walking tour of Sarah Orne Jewett’s former haunts. Explore downtown South Berwick with your tour guide and imagine what life was like during Sarah’s lifetime. Each participant will receive a copy of the new Sarah Orne Jewett Walking Tour brochure recently produced by the Jewett Eastman Committee. This wonderfully informative and easy to follow brochure is available for free in downtown shops and establishments and will serve as a jumping off point for the guided tour on June 11. The tour will include historic photographs, excerpts from Jewett works describing her beloved home town, and stops at places Jewett family members knew and frequented. The tour begins at the visitor center on the Main Street side of the Sarah Orne Jewett House at 1pm. Historic New England members $5, non-members $10. Registration required.
The Historic New England series of special tours continues on Saturday, June 14 with the return of the popular “The Way They Were” tour at Hamilton House. On this tour go behind-the-scenes of Hamilton House to learn about the daily routines of domestics, grounds keepers, and others who worked for families like the Tyson’s early in the twentieth century. See the fourth floor attic space where servants lived and enjoy the stunning view of the river from the rooftop skylight. Explore the grounds and discover where the chauffeur once slept. Tour begins at the brown garden cottage at 10:30 am. Historic New England members $8, non-members $12. Registration required.
Also on June 14 is a Burial Ground Walking Tour of the Oldfields Burial Ground located on Vine Street and the Goodwin family cemetery located on the grounds of the Hamilton House. Enjoy the fresh air and beautiful scenery as tour leader Dr. Neill De Paoli takes you on an exploration of the evolution of gravestone art and mourning practices. Read the long epitaphs of Jonathan Hamilton and his wife and seek out the headstone of a local woman kidnapped by Indians. Tour begins at 2:30 in the Hamilton House parking area. Historic New England members $8, non-members $12. Registration required.
For more information visit

Caption: The Hamilton House near Vaughn’s Woods (Courtesy photo)