Another Gloucester Treasure-Beauport, the Sleeper-McCann Estate

Saturday, August 16, 2014
One of my long-time favorite warm weather destinations, most of which take me to the east coast, is Rockport, MA.   Just down the road from Rockport, also worthy of a visit, is one of the first English settlements in Massachusetts, Gloucester.  Gloucester is well known for it's commercial fishing industry.   It is also famous for its portrayal in the movie (and book) "The Perfect Storm".   Earlier in this blog I featured Hammond Castle, a must-see stop in Gloucester, but Hammond Castle is not the only "big house" in town.   Sitting atop a rock ledge overlooking Gloucester Bay is Beauport, now known as the Sleeper-McCann House.

Built by interior designer Henry Davis Sleeper, Beauport was Sleeper's summer cottage. Built in 1907, over a 27 year period, Sleeper continually made additions to his "cottage" which now consists of 40 rooms. Each of the forty rooms is distinguished by a historical or literary figure, theme, color, shape, or object. No two rooms are the same. Sleeper was an antique collector and was known as  "America's first professional interior designer".  After his death, Charles and Helena Woolworth McCann acquired the house and its contents. They preserved much of Sleeper's designs and decorations, but made some modifications, including adding their porcelain collection to the house. Their heirs donated the property to the Society for the Protection of New England Antiquities in 1947, who operate the property as a house museum.

The Sleeper-McCann House has been featured in many books and magazines, including House Beautiful, Country Living and Architectural Digest. It's easy to see why.  As you wander from room to room, each room you enter transports you to a different time and different decor.  While visitors to Beauport are not allowed to take interior photos, Beauport's Facebook page features many.  A link will be provided at the end of this blog.

Take a close look at the detail in every corner of this unique home, from the window shapes, to the chimneys (there are many), the bird houses and beyond.  Of particular note is how each room was carefully added to fit just perfectly in whatever nook would accommodate it.  Sleeper made no effort to make his home look as if it were designed and built from the original blueprint.

Take note of the chimney with it's four stacks diagonal bricks.

Glad I don't have to wash these windows.
Whether inside or out, where you can stroll through the gardens and enjoy a spectacular view of Gloucester Harbor, Beauport is a feast for the senses and well worth a visit if you're in or near Gloucester.  Beauport is open from mid-May-October 18th.  Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, $8 for students.    If you need a little more convincing that Gloucester and Rockport are worth the 4 hr. drive, visit my blogs featuring Rockport and Hammond Castle (links below) and watch for an upcoming blog featuring a bit of Gloucester.

Just us youngsters during our first visit in 2006.

Previous blogs on Rockport & Hammond Castle:

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