Saturday, August 18, 2007

Ipswich Historic Houses

One month ago I toured the Great House on Castle Hill on the Crane Estate. I took the Ipswich Essex Explorer bus from the Ipswich train depot and then climbed the hill. The views from the English Country House fifty-nine room mansion were spectacular. Including Crane's Beach which at one time was owned by the same family as the Great House. Wood paneling and carving on the interior was imported from English homes and estates. It is one of many properties owned by the Trustees of Reservations .

Today I had an excellent guide for the Heard House, which is owned by the Ipswich Historical Society . While only about twenty percent of the objects in the house belonged to the family, it was more of a historical museum located in a Federal Period House. Of special interest were the China Trade Room and the Arthur Wesley Dow Gallery. One of the Heard sons dropped out of high school and was sent to apprentice in a trade in Boston. To his family's surprise he soon became a wealthy merchant buying and selling opium in the China Trade. A strange looking object that I could not identify in the room was a period opium pipe.

Arthur Wesley Dow studied in France in the nineteenth century and was one of the early instructors of Georgia O'Keefe. He was also Ipswich's best known artist. The influence of the impressionists on his work was apparent. The next room was the Ipswich Painters Gallery which also had some nice oils. Time did not permit a tour of the Whipple House accross the street.

The commuter rail was delayed for hours on the way back to Boston. So I took a bus to Revere and walked along the beach to Kelly's Roast Beef food stand. Their fried clams are famous and I ate them while walking to the the blue line T, which would take me back to Boston.


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