If you love old houses and are curious to see how modern families make historic homes work for a modern lifestyle, mark your calendars for a special event this weekend!
On Friday, June 22, and Saturday, June 23, Old York Historical Society will host its annual fundraising event, Open Doors of York - a walking tour that showcases homes and gardens in a different community of York each year.
This week we received the inside skinny from Old York’s executive director, Joel Lefever...
How long has Open Doors been taking place?
2018 will be our 4th annual home and garden tour! It draws between 600 and 700 visitors every year to explore homes in some of York’s most picturesque neighborhoods.
Over the past four years, we’ve explored neighborhoods from Lindsay Road to York Street.
In what neighborhood will this year's tour take place?
This year’s tour takes place in York Harbor, situated around the neighborhoods of Harmon Park and Moulton Park.
What drew you to this neighborhood?
Tucked between busy York Street and the York River, this hidden neighborhood is home to some beautiful houses and stunning water views. Settled in the 1700s, the fortunes of this neighborhood have fluctuated over the centuries. Once the site of a bustling commercial wharf, full of warehouses and shipping businesses, the area fell into decline in the early 1800s. But in the 1880s, wealthy visitors to the town transformed the area into an elite summer colony. Dilapidated warehouses were replaced with marinas and summer cottages in the grandest sense—becoming the neighborhood we now know.
As visitors, what can we expect to see?
The tour has a something for everyone—from historic houses, to modern family vacation homes. This blending of old and new is what makes York Harbor so distinct. It’s also what makes Open Doors stand out among home tours, allowing visitors to explore the myriad styles of houses in which people live here in Maine.
This year, our visitors will see four private homes, ranging from 18th-century colonial houses to grand shingle-style “summer cottages.” We are also delighted to partner with Historic New England to feature its historic Sayward-Wheeler House—and with York Harbor Inn, to open the 1730 Harbor Crest Inn (formerly known as the Henry Mercer Mansion).
This year’s homes are filled with layers of history and family memories, and evoke a sense of York Harbor’s heyday in the 1890s and early 1900s. From its idyllic grounds and gardens, visitors can enjoy stunning views of the river—and from one perfectly-situated porch, sip a glass of cool lemonade (We're especially excited for this part!).
Speaking of refreshments, is there anywhere else in the neighborhood to get a drink or a bite to eat?
Yes! There will be a tent in Moulton Park, where guests can enjoy a boxed picnic lunch provided by York Harbor Inn. Furthermore, attendees can also sip a cocktail and enjoy light bites on Chapman Cottage’s outdoor patio (which will open early at 2pm for Open Doors visitors).
Thank you for giving us the inside skinny on this year’s Open Doors of York home and garden tour, Joel!