Happy Friday readers. It’s getting into the Holiday season, which officially starts for me, not with the masses of shoppers on Black Friday, but at the annul Christmas Prelude celebration in my home town of Kennebunkport, Maine. Kennebunkport is the #2 Christmas town in America according to HGTV’s Christmas Towns special… it is second only to North Pole, Alaska. I guess we’ll let Santa have this one, but Prelude is still #1 in my heart. Growing up, my Elementary School choir would sing at the lighting of the Christmas tree (topped with a lobster holding a star, NO JOKE!). This was exciting to me because we’d always be on the Today show the next day! As I got older, my High School’s chamber choir would stroll the streets singing carols all afternoon and lead crowds of tourists on a carol walk to the near-by Franciscan monastery for an outdoor church service.
During the mornings of Christmas Prelude, however, I would spend my time at the Nott House, an 1853 Greek Revival House at the head of the intersection of Spring and Maine Streets. This Temple front Greek Revival home is owned by the Kennebunkport Historical Society today, but it was originally built for the wealthiest man in town and then passed through the family until it was left to the Historical Society in 1983 by a descendant.
The Nott House is where I first fell in love with Preservation. When I was younger (middle school aged), I would get into costume and give first-person narratives from the perspective of people associated with the house. Some of my classmates and I were even in the newspaper for this a few times, dressed in our Victorian garb. As I got older and learned more of the history of the house, its furnishings and its occupants, I would give guided tours of the home, and even talk a little bit about the architecture of the home and the small additions the family made through the years (like the 2 story conservatory on the side of the home filled with windows).
The best part about the Nott House is how intact it is. It’s a veritable time capsule, with only the kitchen and bathrooms updated in the 1950s, but the rest of the house unchanged since the 1880s, right down to the hand-rolled French wallpaper in the stair hall and the heavy Grand Rapids furniture that was taken apart to fit through the small doorways and reassembled inside the rooms where each piece remains.
Christmas Prelude is something everyone should experience. I hope you might be able to make a trip this year, but if not, you can check out this clip!
Have a great weekend and Happy Prelude.