It is not Christmas in Salem yet, but this coming weekend marks the Christmas in Salem holiday house tour, now in its 32nd year. It’s hard to be objective when it comes to Salem, but I do believe that this is the best seasonal tour in our region. Christmas in Salem, which is sponsored by Salem’s venerable preservation organization Historic Salem, Inc., always includes a mixture of private homes and public buildings, all decorated for the holidays by local floral designers. It is designed to be a walking tour, focused on a particular neighborhood: the Common, North Salem, Derby Street, Chestnut Street. This year’s tour has a dual focus: “Rediscover the McIntire District”, which means it will be occurring right in my own neighborhood, and the colonial revival architecture of Boston architect William G. Rantoul (1867-1947).
The tour of 13 buildings, several of which are associated with Rantoul, will be held this coming Saturday, December 3rd, and Sunday, December 4th, with a special candlelight tour of 4 buildings on Friday evening. You can still get tickets online for the next day or so, but also at select locations around Salem this weekend. All the information you need about the tour and other holiday events in Salem is at the dedicated website. It doesn’t look like snow is in the forecast (a dusting would be nice), but the snow date is December 10th. The proceeds from the Christmas in Salem tour will be used for the ongoing restoration of Historic Salem’s headquarters, the Nathaniel Bowditch (Curwen) House on North Street.
Slightly embellished versions of an illustration from Sidney Perley’s History of Salem (1924), above, and Frank Cousin’s circa 1900 photograph of the Curwen House, below.