Since we’re going to spend Christmas in Paris, I decided not to decorate our home for the holidays. I love my collection of ornaments; putting them out is fine, but putting them away afterward is (yawn) a real bore. Still, seeing all sorts of Christmas finery is one if pleasures of the holiday. So this weekend, we visited Castle Hill, a historical mansion in Ipswich, Massachusetts that does Christmas in a big way.
We were wowed from the moment we glimpsed the huge house at the top of the hill. Castle Hill, a 59 room mansion, was built in 1928 by the Crane family, of indoor plumbing fame and fortune. (My paternal grandmother was named Crane. Do you think they’ll let me move in as a long lost heir?) The Cranes used it as a summer home for just a few weeks each year.
While the house is truly splendid, we thought the commanding view down to the sea and salt marshes would have made even Louis XIV jealous. In fact, the dramatic setting reminded me of Vaux le Vicomte, a château that made Louis XIV so jealous that he took it for himself.
Inside, the house was decorated with a Twelve Days of Christmas theme. Our favorite two rooms were the richly paneled library, inspired by Seven Pipers Piping, and the apricot guest room, decorated with Five Golden Rings. But room after room was a genuine delight. Local florists demonstrated their talents with lush bouquets.
Une décoration de Noël (oon day-kor-a-see-ohn duh no-ell) means “a Christmas decoration.” If have a chance to admire the holiday décor at Castle Hill, I think you’ll be just as delighted as we were. We hope to come back in June to see the rose garden in full bloom. It’s perfect – decorations I don’t have to put away and gardens I don’t have to weed. Check out their calendar for a full listing of special events.