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
The Writer Connection
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.
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.
- “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.
- “Charles Prescott.” Prescott House Museum. N.p., 17 Jan. 2013. Web. 15 Aug. 2016.
- “About Prescott House.” Prescott House Museum. N.p., 17 Jan. 2013. Web. 15 Aug. 2016.
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,