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Norlands celebrates holiday 19th-century style

Bonnie Brown, owner of Shaky Barn Farm Gardens in Livermore, created the beautiful greenery that decorates Norlands for the holidays. She is assisted here by volunteer Sarah Delaney.

On Saturday, December 8, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Washburn-Norlands Living History Center of Livermore will celebrate the holiday in 19thcentury style. At the event, visitors will have the opportunity to tour the elegantly decorated Washburn Family mansion, built in 1867, and enjoy horse-drawn sleigh rides.

Also happening throughout the day will be 19th-century parlor games, stories, and craft activities in the cozy Washburn kitchen and lessons of the past in the one-room schoolhouse. Refreshments consisting of Norlands’ renowned wassail (mulled cider) and molasses cookies, made from scratch and cooked on the woodstove, will be served. Soup will be available for a fee while supplies last.

The center’s new barn will be open for viewing. The interior was just completed this year. Inside, visitors will meet pig and sheep Mary, Martha, and Caroline, who were named after the Washburn sisters. Jan Gill of Livermore will lead “pop-up” caroling throughout the day and music will be provided by the Spruce Mountain Second Grade Carolers and fiddler Don LeBlanc. 

Kids and adults can participate in a special Washburn-inspired Christmas Stocking Scavenger Hunt by searching for the twelve stockings hidden around the grounds. Match all twelve stockings with the correct Washburn family members for a chance to win a treat. A Cookie Walk fundraiser will benefit the New Barn Fund. For only $5, visitors may fill a bag with delicious homemade cookies to take home. Come early as this special fundraiser always sells out. 

Filled with unique and local treasures, the gift shop will be open to meet your holiday shopping needs. The shop features something for everyone, including pottery made by Sarah Delaney of Phoenix Pottery, Annie’s Homemade Soaps, old-time toys, books, prints, hats, stick candy, Norlands’ maple syrup and pancake mix, and more. Wreaths from Shaky Barn Farm Gardens will be for sale.

Visitors will leave with lasting memories of what Christmas was like in a simpler time in rural Maine. The joyous feeling of an old-fashioned Christmas will carry you through the season. 

The center is located at 290 Norlands Road in Livermore. Admission is $10 for adults and $6 for kids ages 12 and under; kids 5 and under will enter free of charge. A special $25 family rate, admitting two adults with two or three children, is available. Norlands’ members enjoy a 20% discount on admission.  

In case of bad weather, the event will be canceled by 9 a.m. on the day of the event. For updates, callNorlands at 897-4366 and listen to the outgoing message, check the Norlands Facebook page, or see

The Washburn-Norlands Living History Center is a multifaceted museum offering in-depth experiences of 19th-century life in rural Maine. Their mission is to preserve the heritage and traditions of Maine’s rural past, celebrate the achievements of Livermore’s remarkable Washburn Family, and use living history methods to make the values, activities, and issues of the past relevant to present and future generations.  

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