Hearthside is open from March through December. Tours for the public are scheduled each month along with specially-themed events which help bring history to life. See our Annual Schedule of Events for current information. Docents in period attire provide guided tours as they interpret the entire house, including the third floor attic space where the antique looms which once produced fine woven products may still be seen. During the tour, learn about the history of the house and the Great Road, the families who lived here, and the unusual architecture. With an impressive collection of antiques and artifacts along with the costumed docents, family life in the 19th century is easily envisioned. Tours last one hour and admission is $8/adult; $6/seniors; $4/ages 10-17; under 10 and members of the Friends of Hearthside are free. Admission for special exhibits and events varies according to event.
Hearthside is the site of many different types of events throughout the year which have a specific historical theme. While some events are held annually, others may vary year to year in order to accommodate special exhibits at the Museum. The types of past events have included: Afternoon Teas, Early American Crafts demonstrations, Victorian Christmas Open House, and Victorian Mourning Customs. For antique lovers, Friends of Hearthside has hosted the Antiques Fair, held on the picturesque grounds of Hearthside, and Antiques Appraisal Day. Hearthside also hosts a full-scale Civil War Re-enactment on the neighboring Chase Farm property, which also features activities at the Museum. Be sure to watch this website for details and announcements of upcoming events.
There's no place like Hearthside at Christmas time. The house is decorated so beautifully that it is no wonder it was selected to be featured in two books about Christmas at Historic Houses. Each year, volunteers spend weeks decorating to transform the mansion back to a turn-of-the-century Christmas. Visitors to Hearthside delight in the magic of a traditional Victorian Christmas as they enter the house and are greeted by our volunteers dressed in period attire. Each room is elaborately decorated with Victorian ornamentation of lace and gold, festive garlands, and countless poinsettias and many special personal touches brought in by the volunteers from their own holiday collections. The festive atmosphere is enhanced with live seasonal music, homemade cookies, and a gift shop stocked with holiday gifts. A special children's holiday program is also scheduled each year. The amber glow of candlelight and the white lights of the gaily decorated trees add to the warmth of this beautiful home, making it a popular destination to visit after Christmas for candlelight tours during the vacation week before New Years. Click HERE for Photos!
It's a return to the gentle splendor of a bygone era at Hearthside, with spring flowers, elegant hats, delicate lace, dainty teacups and fancy finger foods as Friends of Hearthside hosts its annual Afternoon Tea in May. This event has become our most popular one, and always sells out so early ticket purchase is recommended. A different theme is featured each year, such as "the history of hats, the language of the fan, the language of flowers, the history of the parasol, etc. Prizes are awarded for most beautiful hats and raffle baskets are always a feature.
Tea has also become popular with the younger generation so Hearthside holds a special tea for girls and their dolls. The American Girl Doll Tea, usually held at the beginning of June, provides a wonderful opportunity for young girls to bring their American Girl dolls, sometimes even dressed in the matching outfits, to an elegant tea at Hearthside. They learn the social graces of afternoon tea, just as young girls would during the 19th century. Like the adult tea, there are raffle baskets and shopping in the gift shop as part of the event.Click here for photos.
The cannons thunder through the air, uniformed soldiers charge at each other while firing their guns, and in the end, bloodied bodies were littered among the countryside "battlefields" of Chase Farm Park . This has been the recurring theme during the Civil War Re-enactment held in Lincoln every two years for the past 20 years.
Hearthside has been used as part of the re-enactment in recent years and even turned into a field hospital by the soldiers. History lessons go beyond the battlefield to the encampments to learn what a soldier's life was like. President and Mrs. Lincoln have attended our events and interacted with spectators throughout the weekend, a Civil War Ball has been held, and a special exhibit of Civil War artifacts has been featured at Hearthside.
This signature event for Hearthside typically brings in over 3,000 visitors, with well over 300 re-enactors from all over New England and beyond participating in this living history event. The event takes place every other year, with the next Re-enactment scheduled to take place September 14-15, 2013.
The Civil War is also part of our programming each year, when we host the School of Instruction and Confederate Memorial Day, a kick off to the re-enactors' season at the end of April. We've also held Christmas in the Camp, a look at how Christmas was celebrated during the time of conflict. During the summer, Hearthside hosts the civilian re-enactors as they enjoy an old-fashioned picnic on the grounds and invite the public to partake in lawn games with them.
Click HERE for Photos!
Focusing on the forgotten crafts and chores of long ago, Hearthside has featured demonstrations of weaving, quilting, basket making, spinning, embroidery, stained glass, use of herbs, silhouettes, gravestone etching, stenciling, rug hooking, rope making, cooking over the open fire, washing clothes in a washtub, and blacksmithing. A country stand with hot apple crisp and hot cider on a crisp fall day, makes this a popular family day. Neighboring properties provided an opportunity for visitors to tour other significant historic sites, such as the Friends Meeting House,Eleazer Arnold House, and the Hannaway Blacksmith Shop. Click HERE for Photos!
Visitors to Hearthside love history and antiques, so in 2009 Friends of Hearthside launched a new event, the Antiques Fair. What better setting for browsing antiques than at a historic site that is located along one of the country's oldest and most scenic roadways in the state. The Fair, set on the picturesque grounds of Hearthside, featured quality antique and collectible dealers. Volunteers in period dress greeted the visitors to the Fair and provided history and tours. Blacksmithing demonstrations add to the antiquity of objects being shown. Another event was added because of the popularity of antique collecting and that was an Antiques Appraisal Day. In searching for answers to "What's It Worth?", people from all over the state carried in their precious keepsakes from grandma's attic to find out if what they had was truly valuable or something only of sentimental value. Click HERE for Photos!
Called "Great" because it was so much more substantial than other routes through the valley, Great Road was built in 1683 as the major thoroughfare from the Port of Providence on into Mendon, Massachusetts along the west side of the Blackstone River. With historic houses, farms and mills, the Great Road Historic District in Lincoln, Rhode Island, retains much of the Blackstone River Valley's early nineteenth century rural character. Through a collaborative effort, eight sites along Great Road will be open free to the public on special tour days. Take tours, explore the area, and discover what's so great about Great Road.
Tours are at Arnold House, Captain Wilbur Kelly House, Hearthside, Saylesville Meeting House, and Valentine Whitman Jr. House, the Blackstone Valley Historical Society at North Gate, the Hannaway Blacksmith Shop and history hikes from Gateway Park to Chase Farm Park. Visitors are invited to start their journey at any site, and pick up a "Passport to Great Road". At each site, the passport will get stamped. Completed Passports, whether done all on one day or over a period of time, may be brought to The Lodge Restaurant on Breakneck Hill Road and receive a free dessert.
Hearthside, and all of its volunteers, is draped in black, giving all who pass by the message that this is a house in mourning. The occasion is the funeral of former Hearthside owner, Simon E. Thornton, who died on May 2, 1873. His body was prepared at the house by the undertaker, who came with his equipment and a portable embalming table. The coffin was displayed in the Drawing Room where visitors would come and pay their respects. Following the ceremony, the coffin would be carried out of the house and into a waiting hearse to bring it to the gravesite for burial. In October, Hearthside is set up to re-create the Victorian mourning customs practiced during the time when Simon Thornton passed away. Each room in the house has displays of mourning clothing, jewelry, artwork, stationery displays, post mortem photography, and other funerary exhibits. A funeral ceremony concluded the exhibit, complete with an 1868 hearse.
Spirited Evenings at Hearthside
Everyone who visits an old house invariably asks the question "Is the house haunted?" Some have hinted that they have experienced strange feelings in one room or another, or heard noises while in the house alone. On occasion, we have hosted programs to explore spiritual happenings. Learn more!
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