Historic Chestertown’s Victorian holiday extravaganza

CHESTERTOWN — Step back into 1840s London and experience the holiday season as Charles Dickens imagined it.

That’s how Main Street Chestertown is advertising its signature yuletide event, A Dickens of a Christmas.

The Friday-Saturday, Dec. 1-2 festival includes carriage rides, entertainment, a house tour,
food, book talks, merchandise and more.

This is the sixth year for the event. See www.mainstreetchestertown.org/dickens-festival.

On Friday, from 5 to 9 p.m. in the downtown Historic District, there will be food vendors, beer, wine and bonfires.

Musical entertainment will be provided by the Kent County High School Jazz Band, Garnet Elementary School Chorus, River Voices and a jam session from Dell Foxx Company to end the night.

Run Like the Dickens! 5K run/walk and kids fun run kick things off Saturday morning at 8 o’clock.

Afterward there will be children’s activities along Park Row, visits with Santa at his house in Fountain Park, a Victorian holiday tea, carriage rides, pony rides, a petting zoo, great food and drink, and live music all day with a finale featuring the Baltimore Pipe Band and The American Rogues.

Tickets are still available for the tour of six festively decorated historical homes from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Custom wreaths by the Chestertown and All Seasons garden clubs and live music complete the merry atmosphere of this distinctively Dickens event.

Printed here is a preview of the homes.

1. Washington College President Mike Sosulski and first spouse Cori Crane will welcome guests to Hynson-Ringgold House, home to the college’s presidents since 1944.

Built in 1743 and expanded in subsequent years, the home features a Greek Revival porch and a grand antler staircase. It is said that George Washington danced in the front room, aptly named, the Washington Room.

The house will be decked for the Dickens festival with several Christmas trees and holiday decorations throughout.

2. Once divided into three apartments, this single-family home was built in the 1890s and expanded three times during the next 50 years, and features an original working fireplace in the living room.

Sited on a deep lot with a driveway and an outdoor oasis in the rear yard, it is a picture of cozy privacy in the town’s Historic District.

3. Originally constructed for Benjamin Chambers, who served in the “Maryland Line” regiment in the Revolution then conveyed later to his son Ezekiel, this three-bay brick house was built between 1788 and 1790.

Festive holiday decorations including a 1920s train display and a holiday table setting with vintage china will accent the lovingly maintained historical features.

4. Built in 1881, this High Street home has been restored to the original splendor of its Federal architecture, including a James Harvey staircase.

Once serving as a funeral home and art gallery, it now is a modern residence filled with artwork and period details, including Dickens memorabilia that will be on display for the house tour.

5. The first use of the townhouse plan in Kent County in the post-Revolutionary period is the design of the Geddes-Piper brick townhouse in 1784, which features a beautifully restored Georgian entrance and the original basement kitchen.

It was once the headquarters of the Historical Society of Kent County.

Its new owners are renovating the building as a home.

The original kitchen and display of artifacts found on site will be included in the tour.

6. Dating from the 1890s, this historic home has been expanded and renovated through the years.

The new owners have added their own touches with updates to the primary quarters as well as a separate apartment available for short-term rental, along with artwork collected during their travels and pieces by local artisans.

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