Olmstead’s Paine + novelist + kid + portraits = one glorious day in Waltham, MA

Yesterday was an insanely beautiful day in the Boston area – warm, sunny, mid-seventies with a hint of breeze blowing in the smell of Spring! To take advantage of this very odd, but lovely Boston spring weather, I grabbed my kid, home for Spring vacation,  and drove to Stonehurst, the Robert Treat Paine Estate, where I met up with fiction writer Jon Papernick in his hometown of Waltham, MA.

 

Stonehurst was designed by noted architect Henry Hobson Richardson and visionary landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, and it was completed in 1886 on behalf of Robert Treat Paine and Lydia Lyman Paine.

It is full of cavernous rooms full of beautiful mahogany carvings, eight-foot tall portraits of great detail, and furniture that looks as though the moment you’d turn around would surreptitiously slither away.

Of course Jon felt right at home among rooms full of books, and began chatting away with the caretaker as I clicked away, occasionally pulling a face and making me chuckle behind the camera.

 

Call me crazy, but when I visit old estates, I’m invariably curious about the bathrooms that were used back then. When I used to work at the George Eastman House, Mr. Eastman’s bathroom hadn’t been fully renovated for visitors, but as staff, we got to peek in. Here, my curiosity was assuaged by viewing an exquisite bathroom with a metal-lined tub with a carved wooden exterior.

Wandering the grounds and exploring the house, camera in hand, was the perfect way to enjoy the day.