Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Unacke House


A quickly purchased picnic. Chicken, brie & cranberry sandwiches, chocolate, clementines, interesting drinks and some "Argentinian Flame Grilled Steak" potato chips (really!). A wonderful location beside Martha Lake on the Uniacke Estate, makes for a great lunch. There are lots of gorgeous trails here and they are open year round.

After eating, we went for a tour through the house itself. One of my FAVOURITE places to visit. Built by Richard Uniacke in 1813. He was originally from Ireland and became the Attorney General of Nova Scotia. A big giant of a man at over 6 feet, he was considered to be a warm and likable person with progressive ideas.

He married Martha Bonner Delesdernier in May of 1775, the daughter of his employer, when she was only 12 years old!! She had her first child at age 14 and continued to have ten more! Four daughters and seven strapping sons. They lived in a large home on Argyle Street.
Sadly, Martha died after a long illness, on a cold February day, aged only 40. She and Richard did have a very happy marriage and he was devoted to her, remarrying five years after her death. It is said that he always spent the day of the anniversary of her death in quiet contemplation. Alas, Martha never got to live in this house:( She probably picnicked here with him, and maybe they had a small cottage to overnight in before it was constructed.

Loved this wee painting. Really exquisite. The house is full of the original furnishings and linens and dinner settings. The estate was left to his fourth son, a Minister who died without children in 1825 and then it passed on to other family members, the last of which was an old bachelor who left the entire house and contents to the Nova Scotia Government. ( thank-you!)

There were children and parties and good times in this house. Every room has at least two large windows letting the light flood in. There are also six large wood stoves and a giant one in the front hall. At the time they were very modern, just invented and visitors were curious to see them, most houses just had large fireplaces. They kept his home very warm and probably prevented it from burning down, a fate that many estates succumbed to.

The front hall was lit with whale oil lamps. A very expensive oil, but it burned brightly, slowly and had no soot. This is where the dancing was held and often dinner parties.

Richard's study and library and huge chair. Specially built for him. Here he read and considered the running of his estate, which comprised of hothouse, barns, dairy, ice house, billiards room, boat house, cattle, sheep, orchards, fields ... an idyllic retreat indeed.

The location of Uniacke House is halfway between Halifax and Windsor. Most of the gentry at the time had summer houses in Windsor but Richard, always one to buck the trend did not want to bother with an extra eight hours by carriage so built his home half way on the beautiful lake that reminded him of Ireland. He loved to watch the carriages travel back and forth to Halifax on the road in front of his estate and often had visitors popping by.
It really is a fantastic place to visit and I am sad that it is a place that not many people seem to visit any more. Sort of forgotten. There is also a wee tearoom downstairs. Great place to go for a hike and a day outside, even if you don't go inside the home. Only 40 minutes from Halifax.

10 comments:

Suzie Ridler said...

Beautiful photos and you did a great job telling the story of the property and the people who lived there. Nicely done! So glad we could go together and thanks again for the fantastic lunch, what a treat.

Karen said...

What a lovely place... and a delicious lunch!

Tvor said...

I am definitely going there this summer. I've been thinking of it recently and then you posted about it not long ago. These pics definitely make me determined.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Oh Martha, a mother at 14 -- talk about babies having babies. But those were the times. And dead at 40 after 11 pregnancies -- those were the times too. Probably just plain worn out. Makes you contemplate how reliable birth control has revolutionized women's lives.

Cindi aka Ericksoc said...

Hi, I found your blog through Tangie Baxter's Art Journal Caravan and I've just had a lovely time visiting. Your photos and artwork are amazing. I'll be stopping by again for more inspiration!

Sara said...

What a beautiful home - and great place to visit. I would think that more folks would go especially considering that there are trails there to walk...

Thanks for sharing - and I'll bet the chicken, brie, and cranberry sandwiches were really good. They sound like they would be.

Sandy aka Doris the Great said...

I haven't been there since the girls were little. But now you make me want to go again. (And bring Ritter chocolate and those awesome looking chips!)

The Words Crafter said...

This place is so lovely and you got such wonderful pictures...couldn't you just imagine living there...walking by the lake in the evening....sigh...

Lorelei Lane said...

What a lovely little spot for a picnic! And the house is just so dreamy! I can picture happy children there.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

The Uniake Estate is so beautiful, Shelagh. An interesting example of how life was lived in the past. I hope it is always preserved. I love visiting places like this.