Topsfield Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by fdrich29
  • Things to Do
    by fdrich29
  • Things to Do
    by fdrich29

Most Recent Things to Do in Topsfield

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    Examine the details...

    by Pawtuxet Updated Dec 20, 2008

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    My friend Lombard, who is an historic architect, was instrumental in getting an unscheduled tour for us at the old house. He was immediately taken with the leaded glass windows which were fixed sash...casement style windows. Wonderful old iron hinges hold them in place. The earlier the house, the smaller the panes of glass. In this case, the house was built for a man of some means by the town and therefore the size of the glass panes may give an indication of that. These leaded glass examples came prior to our commonly found 12 over 12 wooden sash.
    The doors are batten held with cut nails wrought by the local blacksmith. Massive hinges hold it in place, and I loved the huge rock used for an indestructable door step.

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    Check out the Topsfield Antique Show

    by Pawtuxet Updated Oct 15, 2008

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    Topsfield held its first Antique Show on the Fair Grounds and it sounded like a terrific lineup so off we went for a little day trip.
    I always love these shows and generally come home with some little trinket but rarely do I fall in love with a larger, more pricey piece. This time it was different. As soon as I saw this old wooden trunk, I thought about how long I had searched trying to find an old Polish painted trunk. The dealer wasn't positive it was Polish, but figured Eastern European. She had been told that a young girl was brought to the states in the 1700's to work on a farm in New Hampshire. Supposedly she brought the trunk with her worldly possessions and the trunk stayed at the house in New Hampshire until the antique dealer came along about 300 years later. She had it examined by someone who thought it was Eastern European and had been painted several times over.
    As for the name painted on the trunk, someone has painted over it and distorted our view. The penmanship seems American and I wonder if someone wrote the woman's name without knowing the proper spelling. If she was a serf in Poland, it is unlikely she was literate and so her name could easily have been misspelled or phonically spelled.
    So.... I enclose photos of the mystery trunk for all of you to decipher. Have fun!

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    The 1600's kitchen

    by Pawtuxet Updated Oct 12, 2008

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    The kitchen of these old homes is always a fascinating place to study. Often referred to (erroneously) as the "keeping room", this was the heart of the home where most of the wife's time was spent..making candles, baking, cooking, spinning, sewing.
    In this kitchen, there was a great old side board w/ pewter and my favorite redware. Another picture shows the drop down rope tied bed which was stored neatly in an upright position until needed in the evening. By sleeping here, the residents could stay quite warm near the massive kitchen fireplace. Other rooms of the house wouldn't be as warm. It is possible that the bed was used for travelling visitors or that the house started with only one room.
    The fireplace dates itself with the beehive oven at the back wall of the hearth. Fireplaces were built this way into the early 1700's... although many women died when their long skirts caught fire as they tended the oven. The pots and tools were iron made by the local blacksmith.
    The back of the beehive oven is exposed and can be seen from the room on the opposite side. Ordinarily this wouldn't be within view, except that they are using the house as a teaching museum.

    side board w/ pewter plates and redware cups oven on the back wall back of beehive oven rope tied bed stored on the wall
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    Old barns

    by Pawtuxet Updated Oct 12, 2008

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    This wonderful old barn was originally part of another farm about a mile or two away. It was moved to this location to be restored and used in conjunction with the Parson Capen House. There was a yoga class taking place in the barn when we arrived. It is used for various purposes...handy when there is a fundraising event by the historical society. Rest rooms have been added to the barn as well.

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    Visit the Parson Capen House

    by Pawtuxet Updated Oct 12, 2008

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    FROM THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF TOPSFIELD
    "The Parson Capen House, built in the summer of 1683, for the Reverend Joseph Capen, is beautifully situated on a knoll adjacent to the historic Topsfield Common. The house has long been considered one of the finest standing examples of post-medieval domestic architecture in America. Parson Capen, a young Harvard graduate from Dorchester, was called to the ministry at Topsfield in 1682. Shortly thereafter, he married Priscilla Appleton, daughter of one of the wealthiest and most prominent citizens of nearby Ipswich. The house was built, possibly with funds from Priscilla's dowry, on a 12 acre parcel of land granted to Parson by the town. He served his congregation for forty years, including the period of the Salem Witchcraft Delusion in which Topsfield was actively involved. The house was acquired by the Historical Society in 1913, and is designated a National Historic Landmark. It is included as a site on the Essex National Heritage Area "Early Settlement Trail".

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    Topsfield Fair

    by fdrich29 Updated Oct 7, 2008

    The Topsfield Fair has been happening at the end of each summer since 1818 and their website states that it's America's Oldest Agricultural Fair. This was a yearly event for my family as Topsfield is relatively close to Gloucester. The fair exhibits many varieties of farm animals, fruits and vegtables, farming equipment, honey and the like. There are many judged competitions throughout the Fair. I always look forward to the Clydesdales pulling competition. There are also plenty of rides for all ages, carnival games and haunted houses. The Fair lasts for 10 days and starts the last weekend in September. St. Peter's Fiesta in Gloucester always meant the end of school and the Topsfield Fair started off the new school year.

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    Rooms to study

    by Pawtuxet Updated May 26, 2008

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    The chair at the dining room table was a gift from the minister to his wife and so it has been marked as such. Each piece of furniture was a bit of luxury in the early days... and when a man died, each piece was listed in his will as evidence of his worth. And I say "he" because only the men could own homes at that time.
    Many items of interest in these old rooms from the hand hewn summer beams (shown in butterscotch yellow) to the old spinning wheel (a necessity of the early years), and of course the prized grandfather's clock (likely brought from England).

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    Historic gardens

    by Pawtuxet Updated May 26, 2008

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    We love to garden and so of course we enjoyed the kitchen garden just outside the back door of the house. It was fenced with crude boards to keep the bunnies out of the lettuce. Herbs for cooking as well as medicine were grown in these kitchen gardens. They were divided in four sections by narrow brick walks to allow for tending the garden. The setting here was perfect.
    Other garden features included benches, a terrific sun dial on a granite post, and a wonderful old well with wooden lifting gear.

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    Topsfield Fair

    by Fewf Written Jul 31, 2006

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    The Topsfield Fair, which runs in early October, is a very cute country fair. It's a bit of a ripoff (admissions are from $10 to $12, parking is from $7 to $8, and then you have to pay for the rides), but it's a lot of fun. People from all over the county bring their old cars, barnyard animals, and giant pumpkins (there's a contest each year for the biggest pumpkin). Sometimes beekeepers will come with some hives and tell you about the bees and offer all different kinds of honey (you have to pay for the honey, of course). It can be a good time, but it's definitely not cheap.

    Gigantic Pumpkin Hallamore's 1950's truck runs just fine Hallamore Clydesdales Giant Pumpkins Aww

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    Bird Sanctuary

    by Fewf Written Aug 24, 2006

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    Bring feed. The birds in this beautiful section of woods will sit down on you and eat from your hand.

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    Bradley Palmer State Park

    by Fewf Written Jul 31, 2006

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    A very pretty area of woods and fields with nice trails, and a few streams with bridges over them. Great place to take a walk and relax.

    Late Afternoon at Bradley Palmer

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Topsfield Things to Do

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