STARRS POINT, NS - You might not associate a motorcycle group with a museum or strawberry social but at Prescott House, that’s about to change.
Prescott House in Starrs Point is hosting its annual strawberry social on the scenic museum grounds on July 15 from 2 to 4 p.m. Musical entertainment will be provided by the Forever Young Fiddlers and guests will be served strawberry shortcake. However, due to a shortage of staff and a lack of volunteer support, this year’s event almost didn’t happen.
There will be a new group of volunteers helping out by serving guests, clearing tables and washing dishes: members of the Gold Wing Road Riders Association (GWRRA). The GWRRA is the world’s largest single-marque organization for owners and riders of Honda Gold Wing/Valkyrie motorcycles.
There are four chapters of the association in Nova Scotia, which are part of the Canadian Atlantic District. The association fosters safe, enjoyable riding while also working to improve the public image of motorcycling.
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Prescott House senior heritage interpreter Margrete Kristiansen said the offer of help from the motorcycle association meant the difference between having the social or not having it.
She said people enjoy the atmosphere, sitting in the scenic gardens to enjoy strawberry shortcake and live music. Visitors seem impressed with the use of tea pots, cups and saucers as opposed to disposable dishes. She said many of the guests return year after year but it’s also a way to introduce new visitors to the museum.
“I think it’s a peaceful, tranquil place to be,” she said. “You’re not sitting in a pub on a main street or anything, you’re in the gardens and the birds are chirping.”
Prescott House Museum site manager Nancy Morton said plumber Ron Martin was recently doing some work at the museum and he asked about the upcoming strawberry social.
“I said we probably won’t be having it because we don’t have help,” Morton said. “He volunteered his motor cycle club.”
Martin and his wife, Ruth Foster, are GWRRA directors for the Canadian Atlantic District. For several years now, a group of motorcyclists from a GWRRA chapter in Halifax have been coming to Starrs Point for the social.
Morton said the event sort of ties two time periods together, as the museum’s namesake, horticulturalist Charles Prescott, would have had fiddlers entertaining at the house. The gardens reflect the influence of his great-granddaughter, Mary Allison Prescott, who later purchased and restored the home.
Morton said that, in the past, they’ve been blessed with good weather for the social, which is scheduled rain or shine. The main goal is for everyone to have a good time. The strawberry shortcake is always prepared on site and Morton usually bakes about 14 dozen tea biscuits for the event.
Tickets for the social cost $8 per person and include a tour of Prescott House. Guests are invited to bring lawn chairs to sit in the garden and enjoy a toe-tapping afternoon.
For more information on the GWRRA, visit www.canadianatlanticreigion.org/intro.html. For more information on Prescott House events, visit www.prescotthouse.novascotia.ca, call 902-542-3984 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
New senior heritage interpreter
Prescott House in Starrs Point has a new senior heritage interpreter but she is no stranger to the museum.
Margrete Kristiansen has been a heritage interpreter at the museum for a number of years but took over from Diana Baldwin, who recently retired, as senior interpreter this season. She said there are more duties involved but she is looking forward to the challenge and has been brainstorming ideas with site manager Nancy Morton.
“It’s a fantastic place to work, it’s my home away from home for the summer I guess you could say,” Kristiansen said. “Who would not want to work here?”
She said the work is quite varied, it’s a beautiful setting and she gets to work with great people. It’s fun to be able to put her own mark on things but Kristiansen said there is a learning curve involved.
She said she loved working with Baldwin and misses her. Baldwin brought an artistic flare to the museum but also took care of more mundane aspects such as keeping statistics. Baldwin worked hard to get the word out about museum events and to keep people coming through the doors.
Did you know?
- Prescott House Museum is open from June 1 to Oct. 6, Mondays to Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $3.90 for adults, $2.80 for youths and seniors, $8.65 for families and children are admitted for free.
- Prescott House’s 14th annual insect workshop Busy Bugs with Acadia University’s Dr. Todd Smith takes place Aug. 15 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. with a rain date of Aug. 16. It’s for ages five and up and the admission fee is $8 per child. Space is limited, so register in advance.
- The annual Romancing the Writer writer’s workshop hosted by published authors Donna Alward and Michelle Helliwell returns Aug. 18 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The admission fee is $20 and lunch is provided. Space is limited, so register in advance.
- Prescott House joined the Nova Scotia Museum family in 1973. Photos, scrapbooks, stories and news items from the past 45 years will be on display showcasing the evolution of the museum in an exhibit called “A Museum’s History” from July 15 to Oct. 6.
- The Nova Scotia Museum celebrates its 150th birthday in 2018. To mark the milestone, members of the public are being asked to help choose about 20 items from Nova Scotia in 2018 to add to a time capsule to be opened in 2068, the museum’s 200th birthday. For more information, visit https://museum.novascotia.ca/nsm150.