BATH — Like walking into a scene from a classic Christmas movie or a Norman Rockwell painting, last weekend’s Holiday Open House Tour of five bed and breakfasts brought the past into the present.
Along with showing how well the five businesses could deck the halls of some elegantly ornate 19th century architecture, the three-hour Dec. 12 event made money for two nonprofit organizations.
At $10 a ticket, the tour raised $1,440, which was split evenly between Main Street Bath and the Bath Area Food Bank, Main Street Bath Director Jake Korb reported Tuesday.
Participating B&Bs included the Mulberry House (formerly the Galen Moses House) and the Inn at Bath, both on Washington Street; the Benjamin F. Packard House on Pearl Street; the Pryor House on Front Street, and the Kennebec Inn on High Street.
“We love B&Bs; we often stay in B&Bs when we travel,” said Nancy Collins of Brunswick, as she toured the Benjamin Packard house with her husband, Jack. “It’s really fun to see the B&Bs all decorated.”
The Packard House, owned and operated for a decade by innkeepers Mark and Amy Hranicky, is named for a shipbuilder and founding member of Bath Savings Bank – whose logo bears the image of one of his ships. The house, which dates back more than 170 years, remained in Packard’s family until 1985, according to Amy Hranicky.
“The B&Bs used to do (open houses) on a more regular basis,” as a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity, she said, until about five years ago.
But at the request of Main Street Bath, the doors opened once again for this year’s holiday event.
Down the street, the Mulberry House was aglow inside and out, as Diane Racine welcomed visitors into the 1874 home she and husband Bill purchased a year ago, and directed them to a room filled with holiday refreshments.
After months of work, the B&B is set to reopen next year.
“As you’ll see walking around, it’s a place that needs to be shared,” Racine said. “It’s wonderful to have people see it. … We’re the stewards of it.”
Charles Outwin, a new Bath resident and professor at Southern Maine Community College, visited the Mulberry House with his wife Carolyn. They decided, after moving to the City of Ships from Cape Elizabeth, not to have any guest rooms.
Instead, they plan to direct people to Bath’s assortment of B&Bs.
“We knew that there were some wonderful inns and B&Bs here,” Outwin said. “And this is a tremendous opportunity to go and review them at a time of year when it’s not summer.”
“When our loving family calls, and says ‘We’re coming to visit,'” Carolyn Outwin said with a laugh, we can say, ‘Guess where you can stay?'”
A couple enters the newly renovated Mulberry House during a Dec. 12 Holiday Open House Tour of Bath bed and breakfast inns.
Jenny Verbiar of Lowell, Massachusetts, helps prepare the Benjamin F. Packard House in Bath during a Holiday Open House Tour. Four other bed and breakfasts participated in the Dec. 12 fundraiser.
Diane Racine, front right, welcomes Judy Stallworth of West Bath to the Mulberry House during a Dec. 12 Holiday Open House Tour of Bath bed and breakfasts. Racine owns the 1874 home with her husband, Bill, who greets another visitor behind her.