In the late 17th century, Deerfield, Massachusetts was the northern-most town in the newly formed colonies, and was targeted in a major assault during the French and Indian wars. By late 1704, hostilities ceased and Deerfield began to flourish. Then and now, Deerfield was a combination of village and rural life. The same fields that were tilled centuries ago are still producing crops today.
Deerfield library – art, architecture and ancestry
Carefully preserved and authentically restored, Historic Deerfield is possibly one of the best documented towns in all of New England. Having relatives who settled in Deerfield in 1714, I was interested in researching to see what additional information I could find about the old homestead.
To their credit, the Henry N. Flynt Library is open year-round (Tues. – Fri.) and has a wealth of information about the town and its former residents. Within minutes we were looking through old manuscripts, court records and receipts. Holding a receipt that was 300 years old was quite the treat.
Center of Early New England Life
Across Main Street, you’ll find another gem of an institution – the Flynt Center of Early New England Life. One of only a few new-looking building in this historic setting, this 27,000-square-foot structure houses galleries and exhibitions that are as well done as they are fascinating. Of particular interest to me was the furniture exhibit. Not merely a collection of antiques, this Crafting Early American Furniture exhibit looks at the construction and design of historic furniture styles, deconstructing them in ways such that everyone could see the work behind the artistry. This particular exhibit runs through 12/27/15.
Other exhibits concentrated on diverse themes from colonial dress to powder horns. Upstairs in the “attic” were row after row of expertly displayed historical gems (toys, ceramics, chairs, weapons, etc.) each with an identifying number that could be further researched online. Very well done and very enjoyable, the center is open daily from 9:30 to 4:30 during the regular season, and on weekends only until April 18th. (Photography is allowed.)
Historic home and craft tours
Visiting as we did in February, we weren’t able to tour the historic homes which are open and available during the regular season. Normally, 12 homes (1730 – 1850) filled with furniture, textiles and art can be seen and all the tours start at the Visitor Center at Hall Tavern. [See the Historic Deerfield village map here.]
Deerfield Inn & Champney’s Tavern
One establishment that is open all year long is the Deerfield Inn and Champney’s Restaurant and Tavern. This historic inn and carriage house offers luxury B&B accommodations at reasonable prices and Champney’s serves three meals a day – fresh from farm to table. [Read our full review of Deerfield Inn here.] A member of the Distinctive Inns of New England, it is the only one listed as a National Historical Landmark. Hospitality is second to none and the food is fabulous – you deserve a visit here whenever you are in the neighborhood.
Additional nearby attractions:
Some recommendations from Jane & Karl at Deerfield Inn:
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