Romancing the Writer at Prescott House

Romancing the Writer at Prescott House

Prescott House (7)
Prescott House viewed from the side garden

 

Some History:

Prescott House, originally known as Acacia Grove, in Starr’s Point, NS, is said to be one of the finest examples of Georgian Architecture in the province. It is a grand brick country home with beautiful symmetry that was built in the early 1800s. (Completion of the building is dated about 1816.)  

Charles Ramage Prescott (1772-1859) had the home built after amassing a modest fortune as a Halifax merchant in the Napoleonic Era through “trading to the Iberian Peninsula, the West Indies, and the Canadas; privateering on the south Atlantic; and trans-shipping British goods to the United States to thwart the embargo.”¹ In 1812, after the dissolution of his mercantile firm (Dec. 1811), Prescott removed himself from town, work began on Acacia Grove, and he became active in politics as well as horticulture.  He created orchards, built hothouses, and cultivated many types and varieties of fruits.  He is credited with grafting and testing 100 types of apples as well as 50 types of pears and plums.  He is also “credited with having introduced six of the ten varieties of apples, including the Gravenstein, which led the market during Nova Scotia’s heyday as an apple producer.”¹ In addition to the hothouses and orchards, Acacia Grove also boasted stables, barns, formal shrubberies, and flower gardens. “Acacia Grove was a true showplace and praised by such notables as Lord Dalhousie and Joseph Howe.”²

After Prescott’s death in 1859, the house was auctioned off, and though, at first, it was well-tended, eventually, it fell into disrepair until 1930 when Prescott’s great-granddaughter, Miss Mary Allison Prescott, purchased the home and began the work of lovingly restoring it. “Restoration took about 3 years and by the early 1940’s she and her two sisters came to live at Acacia Grove permanently. The house is furnished to reflect the 19th century with items collected by the Prescott sisters. They were fortunate to trace some original furnishings which belonged to their great-grandfather Charles.”³

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The Writer Connection
Prescott House 2 (17)
Donna Alward, Me, Michelle Helliwell

I recently had the pleasure of attending a Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada Writer’s Workshop, Romancing the Writer, at this beautiful home.  We sat in the back porch and listened to and participated in presentations given by award-winning and bestselling author Donna Alward and president of RWAC and historical romance author Michelle Helliwell.  We discussed topics such as nurturing our creativity, moving past fear and procrastination, and filling our writing process with joy.  

Prescott House 2 (6)
The view from my seat at the workshop. I got to spend all day peeking in the window to the library!

The event lasted all day and at luncheon, I was able to sit and walk in the small garden beside the house, and after the event, I was able to tour the house and take some pictures. ( Few of which you get to enjoy in this post 😉 ) 

It was a refreshing experience to be able to hear other writers express some of the same fears and problems that I face and to be able to share tips on moving past those fears and caring for ourselves so that we can produce our best work. There was even a short, timed writing exercise that may have produced a nugget of an idea for a future story.

Although I had not had an adequate amount of sleep the night before this event, I found myself feeling energized and renewed as I traveled the just over 50 miles of good road home.  (However, I was of very little good mentally that evening and slept excellently that night. 🙂 )

RWAC, of which I am a member, organizes many writing-related events. Some of these events are members only, but there are those, such as the one at Prescott House, which are open to non-members as well.

After a summer hiatus, our monthly members meetings with a workshop begin again on September 11. Then, on September 17, RWAC will be taking part in a local event called Word on the Street. (I will be there, giving away a few books, around noon.)  And, on October 16 at 2 pm, a public viewing of the film Love Between the Covers has been organized. Both of these events will take place at Halifax Central Library. Information about these and other events can usually be found on the RWAC Facebook page and/or website.

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  1. “Biography – PRESCOTT, CHARLES RAMAGE – Volume VIII (1851-1860) – Dictionary of Canadian Biography.” Biography – PRESCOTT, CHARLES RAMAGE – Volume VIII (1851-1860) – Dictionary of Canadian Biography. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Aug. 2016.
  2. “Charles Prescott.” Prescott House Museum. N.p., 17 Jan. 2013. Web. 15 Aug. 2016.
  3. “About Prescott House.” Prescott House Museum. N.p., 17 Jan. 2013. Web. 15 Aug. 2016.

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So that is part of what I did on my summer vacation. This was my first trip to Prescott House, but it will not be my last.  I love touring historic houses, and to find one whose owner lived and worked during the time that Jane Austen was writing and publishing is always a little extra special to me.

Now it is your turn:
  • Did you do anything special on your Summer Vacation? [Even if your summer was many months ago unlike ours in the northern hemisphere, I would still love to hear about it. ;)]
  • Are there any special places you love to visit?
  • What makes a museum or historic site extra special to you?
  • Do you love to learn or just relax when on holidays?

I’m looking forward to reading your comments,

Leenie

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12 Responses to Romancing the Writer at Prescott House

  1. I love that we do this weekend every year! 🙂 And that library is so inspiring. It inspired my first single title series with St. Martin’s. 🙂 And visiting years ago led to this workshop event, so I have a real soft spot for it. The clothing displays this year were amazing.

  2. How gorgeous! Thanks for sharing your summer holiday extravaganza with us, Leenie! I love love love old houses. I am fortunate to live in a Kentucky town that includes one of the oldest surviving buildings in KY. The Old Talbott House was built in 1792 as an inn and has consistently remained open and operating in one form or another, including as a brothel during the years Abe Lincoln (whose birthplace is about 15 miles from where I live) was know to visit the area. Let that tidbit stir up your imagination! A bullet hole from a gun in the hand of Jesse James is still in an upstairs wall, amongst other historical treasures. We also have Federal Hill built in 1812, the house best known as “My Old Kentucky Home” thanks to relative and frequent visitor Stephen Foster penning our State anthem while in residence in 1852. The mansion is now part of the state parks system, and fully restored to 1840s grandeur and filled with period antiques. I love history so having so much near by is wonderful.

    • Wow! Lots of interesting historical things to explore in you neck of the woods! That is one of the things I love about living in Nova Scotia…there is so much history here. I plan on sharing more historic visits with y’all as I get a chance to visit (or revisit) and take (more) pictures. 🙂

  3. Well, we all know that I introduced Rose to NASCAR on my summer vacation! LOL I love going to races and if I could afford it, I’d go every weekend. 🙂

    I do love museums and things, too. Places like Prescott House are high on my list. There are a couple museums in Youngstown that I have not visited in years but plan to this fall…the Butler Institute of American Art and the Arms Museum, which is next door to the Butler on Wick Avenue.

    The Butler I just adore. I was first introduced to Frederick Remington there, and possibly Georgia O’Keefe, whose art I love. The Arms Family Museum used to be the home of the Arms family (they were a pretty important family in the city, I think), and it has one floor with original period rooms. The upper and lower floors showcase prominent Youngstown families.

    What draws me to places like Prescott House and the Arms Museum is that they give us a glimpse into the past and what it was like…what it looked like, felt like, and smelled like…to live back then.

    In general, I like to relax on vacation, but unless it’s a race, I want to be visiting places and learning….places like Prescott House and the Arms Museum. High on my list of places to visit is the Gettysburg Battlefield. Someday I will get there. 🙂

    This was a great post, and I love, love, love the pictures you shared! What a beautiful place to have a meeting!! 🙂

    • You like racing? 😉 Haha! No one would ever guess.

      I love the way places like this give a glimpse into the past as well. I could just stay for hours and imagine the people eating at the table or playing with the children in the nursery. I did not get pictures of the third floor, but it had some lovely rooms that were used at one time for children as well and there was an open common area and at least one store room. No lights were on in the rooms when I was there. That is all natural sunlight. Very bright beautiful rooms…which makes sense since originally, the house would not have had lights 🙂 There are so many interesting historical places around Nova Scotia. I am sure I will share more in the future. (Oh, and I think the meeting is an annual event..so if you have a passport 😉 )

  4. I’m at the tail end of my degree so my summer was spent deep in accounting and economics capstone classes. I’m hoping next summer we can do something lovely. I love historic things and this tour would have been right up my alley. Thanks for sharing your pictures, they are fabulous!

    • Sorry you did not get to do anything lovely this summer, but I bet you are excited about being done with that degree! What an accomplishment! 🙂
      Glad you enjoyed the pictures. My husband and sons often laugh at me for the number of pictures I take when I go somewhere, but I so want to try to capture the experience. 🙂

Your thoughts are precious!