The Suzanne & Company Holiday House Tour is this Sunday, Dec 9 from 1 to 4pm and we've been hard at work to make this a festive, fun event! We've got a special gift for everyone who attends and will have live holiday music in select locations -- I can't wait! As I mentioned in my previous post, this year's tour includes one of my favorite Bedford homes, the former Fitch Tavern -- it's not to be missed! Here is some historical information on the house -- I hope to see you there on Sunday.
The former Fitch Tavern was one of three taverns in Bedford during Colonial times. It was the meeting place of the Lexington and Bedford Minutemen on April 19, 1775. After being alerted to the movement of British troops, they met for a hurried breakfast before marching to the North Bridge and joining the Battle of Concord, prompting their captain, Jonathan Wilson, to remark, "It's a cold breakfast boys, but we'll give the British a hot dinner; we'll have every dog of them before night!" The room that served as their meeting place still has the original paneling and looks much the same as it did in 1775, welcoming local re-enactors for breakfast each April before recreating the historic battle.
Lea Ann Knight and her family have lived in this historic home for the past nine years, and while they have re-done many of the rooms to accommodate modern family living, they have been careful to preserve the unique character of the house and as much of the history as possible, including the original structural footprint. The house has three different wings -- the initial structure which was built in the 1700s and served as Fitch's Tavern until late in the 18th century; the kitchen wing or "L" which was added in the 1850s to modernize the kitchen at that time; and the west wing added in the 1890s to house the Fitch law office and library.
Walks and Rides in the Country Round About Boston by Edwin M. Bacon, published in 1898, notes "this house was probably standing when the town was incorporated in 1729...and became a tavern upon its purchase by Jeremiah Fitch, Jr., in 1766." Expanding into the poetically-named Stone Croft Farm, the home was eventually relegated to the status of a summer home and remained in the Fitch family (and their descendents) until the 1950s. Since that time, two additional families owned this slice of Bedford history for approximately thirty years each until Lea Ann and her family became the fifth family in the tavern's history to live here. The first winter they were in the house, they participated in the Holiday House Tour. Since then, they have renovated the kitchen, working with Kevin Latady, a local architect specializing in historic homes, to maintain the Colonial feel while creating a worka ble space. They added large wooden beams from a barn in Vermont, a soapstone counter and wooden floors. The home is also the setting for the novel Fitch Tavern Tales #1: A Colonial Adventure written by Lea Ann.
Lea Ann is a long-time member of the Chamber of Commerce and is still working on her decorating plans, though with seven fireplaces, she promises many mantel decorations and abundant evergreens keeping in line with the look and feel of the house.
The tour includes four other homes throughout Bedford, highlighting the heritage and range of architectural styles represented here.
The Suzanne & Co. Holiday House Tour, Sun, Dec 9 from 1 to 4pm. Refreshments, raffle and holiday bazaar at the Congregational Church on Great Road from 1:30 to 4:30pm.
Tickets: $20 in advance ($15 for seniors, $8 for children), and $25 day of the event available at the New England Nursery (216 Concord Road), Great Road Gallery & Framing (363 Great Road), and online at bedfordchamber.org. Proceeds support the activities of the Chamber of Commerce, including scholarships awarded to local students.