2017-12-01 / Ticket

Celebrate Christmas at Nickels-Sortwell House in Wiscasset

The Times Record


Experience a 19th century style Christmas with a 21st century flair at Historic New England’s Nickels- Sortwell House this holiday season.

For the first time since 1956, the first floor of the Federal-style mansion will be decorated for the holidays. As part of Wiscasset Village's annual Holiday Marketfest, the house will be open to celebrate the season from noon to 3 p.m. Friday, December 8, through Sunday, Dec. 10.

The Garden Club of Wiscasset will transform a formal parlor into the setting for a late-19th to early-20th century family Christmas. Another parlor and the solarium will feature the designs of Datvik Deirkrikorian of Water Lily Flowers and Gifts. Michelle Peele Floral + Home Design will adorn the dining room for a holiday celebration.

The architectural details in each room include carved moldings and grand fireplaces custom-made, 200 years ago, by local carpenters for Captain Nickels’ showplace. Guides will be on hand with stories of the house and the families who lived here while visitors walk freely through the first floor.

Nickels-Sortwell House, at 121 Main St., began life in 1807 as the trophy house of shipping magnate Captain William Nickels at the height of Wiscasset’s fortunes as a thriving seaport.

After Nickels’ death in 1815, the house was run as a hotel until it was purchased in 1899 by successful industrialist and former mayor of Cambridge, Massachusetts, Alvin Sortwell, as a summer home for his large and active family. Sortwell’s wife, Gertrude, and daughter, Frances, restored the house over the years, decorating and furnishing it in the Colonial Revival style. The Sortwell family enjoyed the mansion as a private home and family gathering place until 1956, when it was given to Historic New England.

After touring the house, visitors can look for the one horse open sleigh in front of the Nickels-Sortwell House Barn, and then step inside for refreshments.

On Sunday, Dec. 10, children can visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Admission is $5 for Wiscasset residents and $10 non-residents; personal photography is welcome. For more details, visit WiscassetHolidayMarketfest.com.

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