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Today’s JASNA Nova Scotia trip to the Blomidon Inn and Prescott House was wonderful. The weather was beautiful and so were the gardens, and it was fun to talk about Kim Wilson’s In the Garden with Jane Austen. Even so, I have to say that the highlight of the day for me was seeing my daughter’s delight at spotting three frogs in a pond at the Blomidon, almost camouflaged but not quite.

JASNA members from Halifax and Dartmouth met up with members from the Annapolis Valley and lingered for a while outside the Blomidon after lunch:

Eventually we exchanged Victorian architecture for Georgian, driving from Wolfville to Starr’s Point to visit Prescott House. The staff gave us a warm welcome and an informative tour, and surprised us by serving iced tea and cookies in the garden.

Prescott House, also known as Acacia Grove, was built as the home of Charles Ramage Prescott, a horticulturalist who was active and innovative in the Annapolis Valley’s apple industry from 1811. He lived in the house with his many children and his second wife, Mariah Hammill. (Just as Richard John Uniacke’s first wife Maria died before the family’s grand house was completed — which I wrote about here — Prescott’s first wife, Hannah Whidden, did not live long enough to move into Acacia Grove.) Here’s one of the acacias at the edge of the garden:

After Charles Prescott’s death in 1859, the house was sold and eventually fell into disrepair. Happily, a great-grand-daughter, Mary Allison Prescott, bought and restored Acacia Grove in 1931. Following her death in 1969, the house became part of the Nova Scotia Museum.

I have fond memories of visiting Prescott House on an elementary school field trip in the early 1980s. It looked quite different then, as you can see from the postcard that I glued into my diary after that visit:

Good company, good weather, good food, a good book, two beautiful houses, two beautiful gardens, and three fabulous frogs. Even though we didn’t devour any ice cream or knock down any pastry cooks, I think we can still echo Jane Austen’s “Beautifull Cassandra” and say, “This is a day well spent.”