No matter where you live in New England, you are within driving distance of a Carnegie Library. Still standing are 92 of the 95 from Norwalk, Conn., to Presque Isle, Maine, all donated by Scottish-American industrialist Andrew Carnegie. Of those, 68 are still public libraries and six are still college libraries. (Click here for a complete listing.)
The interior of Mount Holyoke’s Williston Library, donated by Carnegie, was designed to resemble Westminster Hall in England. Mount Holyoke has a beautiful campus worth visiting even without getting inside the library. Check the calendar here for a schedule of campus tours.
You can combine shopping with history by visiting the Abercrombie & Fitch outlet in Freeport, Maine. It used to be a Carnegie Library.
This week we wrote about the controversy that erupted in Greenwich, Conn., when the United Nations announced plans to build a new city in northern Greenwich and parts of Stamford and North Castle. Greenwich is a lovely suburb, with 34 sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including nine historic districts, an African Methodist Episcopal Church and a lighthouse. Even the Merritt Parkway is considered historic.
Greenwich offers parks, miles of walking trails, the Bruce Museum (closed Easter) and the Bush-Holley House and Museum (also closed Easter), once an art colony and now headquarters of the Greenwich Historical Society. For suggestions about what to do in and around Greenwich, check the Stanton House Inn blog here.
Saturday marks the birthday of an important New Englander: navigator Nathaniel Bowditch (1779). The Nathaniel Bowditch House in Salem, Mass., is a National Historic Landmark and one of Salem’s many magnificent Federal Style homes that you can see while on your way to the Peabody Essex Museum, open this weekend. The PEM started as the East India Marine Society in 1799, founded by sea captains and supercargoes who sailed beyond Cape Horn. Most would have been aided by Bowditch’s The New American Practical Navigator. The museum, which charges admission, is currently exhibiting paintings of the Isles of Shoals by Childe Hassam and “Asia in Amsterdam: The Culture of Luxury in the Golden Age.”
Looking for something to do with the kids? Old Sturbridge Village holds Maple Days this weekend, featuring the entire process from tapping the trees to eating the syrup. Click here for more information.
Looking ahead, the Wadsworth Athenaeum in Hartford will display jewels worn by the cast in Downton Abbey on Thursday, March 31. A lecture and jewelry trunk show will be with Andrew Prince, who created the jewelry pieces for Downton Abbey and The Young Victoria. Click here for more information.
On Saturdays in Hartford the Connecticut Historical Society is hosting a guided tour of a traveling exhibit of Beatrice Fox Auerbach's clothes. It includes more than 100 garments, shoes and accessories that once belonged to the woman who ran G. Fox. & Co. For more information, click here.