Ever since I was a little girl, I have been fascinated by the back story of items, people and places. I was constantly imagining what life was like for those who lived in the big old Victorian homes in my small, Central Massachusetts town. Or, while begrudgingly being towed around by my parents to antique shops, a sparkly broach would catch my eye, and I would wonder who it was originally gifted to, when they wore it and how it ended up for sale again.
I will never forget being mesmerized by a stack of 1920’s “Ladies Magazines” that I found in our attic when I was six or seven years old. I was transfixed by the fashions, by the editorial pieces, stories of the day, and the advertisements. After obsessively combing through the magazines, my dad put me and the magazines in our car and drove us down to the Historical Society, where we left them to be cared for properly and put on display. I remember feeling a sense of pride that I was helping to preserve a piece of history for some one else to enjoy.
I went through phases over the years after that, obsessed with Ancient Egypt, the Roman ruins in Italy, the Mayan Pyramids in Mexico – any civilization or story of a culture that left buildings or dwellings or simply pieces of their lives to be found hundreds of years later; allowing me to daydream about what happened there, and what their everyday lives entailed. It may have taken a recent obsession with Hamilton , but it suddenly dawned on me – how could I have so easily overlooked all the history sitting in my own backyard? How many countless times had I been to Boston, walked past the Old North Church and never went in, never really thought about what had happened in those places? I visited towns like Salem, MA and even during a recent trip to York, ME and “oohhed and ahhhed” as we drove past homes built hundreds of years ago – never stopping to take a photograph, visit the home (if possible), or find out about the history & inhabitants of the house. But I always wondered about it. My current mentality seemed so far away that little girl and her curiosities of homes, people and places – and so started The Historic New England Project.
A recent career change, while busy & hectic during the weekdays, now allows for weekends and holidays off, along with the ability to disconnect easier after 5 pm. I love taking photos, mostly of landscapes and nature, so I was looking for something to combine these two hobbies. I stumbled upon the Historic New England website – and then it seemed so simple. I have challenged myself to visit each of the 35 historical homes listed on their website within a one year time frame, while adding in some of the local homes and historical sites that I’m embarrassed to admit I have never visited in my 35 years of residency in Massachusetts. I have created this blog and an Instagram account to chronicle this project, and also to hold myself accountable to this challenge, all while sharing photos and knowledge along the way.
So, I hope you enjoy the journey with me – off we go!
xo – CLB
Disclaimer: I am in no way connected to the Historic New England organization, other than by purchasing a membership to their organization. I will likely be using historical facts found on their website, their printed materials available at each of the properties, and stories or information from their onsite guides in order to capture stories and facts that you will see here. I will reference concrete sources as I can. All photographs are taken by me, otherwise a source will be noted.