Given the area in Southern Massachusetts where my mother currently resides, it’s not uncommon at all for me to cross over state lines into Connecticut and visit small, quaint towns like Pomfret or Woodstock whenever I visit her. There’s a lot of great shops, places to eat, and breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside and/or historic architecture that New England is renowned for.
One such display of said historic architecture- a salmon-colored, gothic revival “cottage”- sits on the main throughway in Woodstock, Connecticut, and happens to be the only Connecticut property retained by the Historic New England Society (who maintain 38 properties and counting around the Northeast!)
It also happens to be one of my favorite buildings to gaze at whenever I’m passing through the area- and I finally stopped to snap some photos of it in it’s entirety this past weekend!
Roseland Cottage, named for it’s pink exterior- served as the Summer “getaway” home for silk-merchant-turned-influential-businessman Henry Bowen, his wife Lucy- and their ten (!!!) children. Built in 1846, the house was used by generations of the Bowen family until 1968 when it was eventually purchased by the New England Historic Society for preservation and restoration. During the height of it’s popularity- the property held extravagant events and parties for friends, family, business partners and political allies- including three sitting U.S. Presidents (Ulysses S. Grant, Benjamin Harrison, and Rutherford B. Hayes)– all of whom visited or stayed on the grounds with the family for various celebrations.
The Bowen family spared no expense when it came to decorating the house and making it the epitome of comfort and cutting-edge technology (for it’s time, anyway) for visitors- and what makes the cottage so special is that everything inside of it is original, having been left in the house at the time of it’s purchase or donated directly by the Bowens and their descendants. From the wallpaper to the custom-made china to the carpeting. All touring guests have to wear shoe protectors when walking around inside- that’s how old it is!
The cottage also features priceless pieces and one-of-a-kind-mementos- from a signed document to Henry Bowen from Abraham Lincoln, to the family safe that was converted into a bathroom vanity as it was way too heavy to move- to the oldest indoor bowling alley in the country, which is just a short walk from the main house. Every room had something unique and fascinating in it.
And the outside is, of course- absolutely stunning- with it’s huge windows, staggering cathedral-like peaks and intricate garden adjacent to the main doorway. Although the flowers aren’t in full-bloom just yet- they should be shortly.
And the New England Historic Society makes sure to have all sorts of fun events on the property- from their annual tea party for graduating seniors at the nearby Woodstock Academy to an Autumnal arts and crafts fair. If you’re ever in Woodstock, it’s a beautiful place to spend an hour or two- and I’m looking forward to returning so that I can see the foliage around the garden in the Fall!