Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Haliburton House

Working on: day off
Listening to: the air conditioner
Reading: Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell

Today I took the day off, watered the grass and fed the cats at the neighbours (along with the kids), and we packed a picnic and hit the road again.

This time it was to Windsor, and Haliburton House.

Thomas Chandler Haliburton is a Canadian icon, really. Throughout his lifetime he was a lawyer, judge, businessman, writer, and Member of the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly (our provincial governing body). The house was built in the 1830's and has had several owners who made additions and modifications, so what is there now isn't strictly Haliburton's. But there are some family items, and the "main" part of the house is what he would have lived in. It is not overly big for someone who raised eight children in it. It is certainly bigger than what it looks though, thanks to all the additions. It is lovely and has some interesting pieces.

I was enthralled by the bits of china displayed and the mismatched "Loyalist" china which was from various Loyalist families. Also spectacular was the bookcase. Not all the books were Haliburton's, but they were all extremely old. There were copies of Haliburton's very famous "The Clockmaker" which starred his well-known character Sam Slick. The book made Haliburton as famous as Twain for a while. I also saw copies of The Poems of Longfellow, Tennyson, and Godey's Book.

As much as I enjoyed the parlours and such I have to say my favourite room was the kitchen downstairs. There is the very large hearth and then a collection of implements used including candle molds, a butter churn, spinning wheel, loom, and butter presses which were lovely patterns. There was a cheese press and several other "gadgets" of the time.

The woman working there did tell us there are ghost rumours to the house. She told us this before we went upstairs to the attic. At the top of the third floor stairs, there is a section without windows so it was very, very dark. I got the willies. The girls did too but soldiered on up the ladder to the very top, empty but awash with sunlight. This picture is of the Master Bedroom which was HUGE and quite lovely.

I don't know about you, but a Haliburton sitting in his wing chair is slightly less daunting than a Haliburton in a third floor vacant dark room.
We ate a picnic lunch outside next to a huge chestnut tree and I had a nice chat with the two ladies working. Then the girls and I decided we'd try Shand House. Unfortunately there are precisely three parking spots and all were taken. There is no street parking either, so we decided to wait for another day. Windsor is only about 40 minutes, so I know there will be occasion to go back and possibly to visit Fort Edward at the same time. Who knows. Maybe we'll even do it next week. Or maybe we'll head somewhere else on the coast where it's cooler, although rumour has it the temps should be more moderate.

Whenever I feel guilty for not working, I remember that school goes back in so soon and we won't have these opportunities again for a while.


  1. So glad you're getting to enjoy some time with your girls. Those moments are so precious.

  2. Hi Donna. Never regret you precious moments with you family. You can never recapture them. Like you said the winter months are time enough to get cracking on the next wip. Take care. Caroline x

  3. Oh wow I love that bookcase!! Couldn't mail it to me could ya?