As the 2013 Open Doors of Ipswich Tour gives visitors access to 10 beautiful, private homes, it will also provide them with a journey through history.
“We have houses representing every century since our country started being a country,” said Kathy Bruce, an organizer of the event, which benefits the visitors center at the Hall Haskell House.
All of the homes are different from last year’s tour, which renewed the Open Doors of Ipswich tradition after a hiatus of three years.
A tour like this is possible in Ipswich because it has more first-period homes — which were built before 1725 — than any other town in the country.
There are two of those on the tour, along with a home from 1727, another from 1818, and four that were built between 1903 and 1973.
Two more are contemporary, dating from 2002 and 2005.
“The newer ones are stunners in their own right,” Bruce said. “One is very distinctive for its design. (The owner is) a local architect and designed all kinds of cool details, not least of which is a massive limestone fireplace.”
The other contemporary home, on outer Linebrook Road, was also designed by its owners.
“The wood was taken off the lot, cut down as trees and used in their flooring,” Bruce said. “I think of them as a homestead-type place. They have chickens, do a lot of gardening, and put up food by canning and freezing.”
While the owners’ lifestyle is at home in the country, their house is not without comforts.
“They have a massive chef’s kitchen with an eight-burner stove,” Bruce said. “It’s got a lot of very neat features. A lot of the work they did is documented on a big table, with architectural drawings and photos.”
At the other extreme is the Caleb Kimball House on High Street, which is also known as “the house with orange shutters,” and where stepping inside is like traveling through time.