RANGELEY — The Rangeley Friends of the Arts Home and Garden Tour honors Rangeley’s history as an agricultural community and this year includes a home recently built to capitalize on the joys of living in the pristine north woods in the 21st century.

In its early years, Rangeley was accessed by dirt track traveled by horse cart or by the narrow gauge railroad. On Tuesday, Aug. 4, starting at 1 p.m., the tour will take participants to two of the original farms in the area, a beautiful garden and a modern home perched above the town and Rangeley Lake.

Dan Perkins’ gardens
A plumbing contractor by trade and quilter by avocation, Dan Perkins came into gardening naturally. As the grandson and nephew of Auburn florists, he spent many childhood hours working in the greenhouses of the family business. When the Perkins family moved to downtown Rangeley in the mid-1980s, alders and raspberries grew behind their home. Perkins bulldozed rocks and wild growth and began making plans for a garden. Paths and walkways were designed and the clay soil enriched. Flower beds were developed from stem cuttings and seed. The array of floral growth along the garden pathways evolves throughout the late spring, summer and fall. Early August offers the lush blossoms of mid- to late summer

Sunrise View Farm
Sunrise View Farm dates back to the 1890s. Once a dairy farm encompassing 500 acres, the land has been owned and farmed by some of Rangeley’s founding families. Names on deeds have included Nile, Garrigues, Toothaker, Oakes, Bubier, Brackett and Pawlowski. Since 1976, Priscilla and Brian St. Louis have owned this historic property, enjoying its buildings both as their home and the site of their florist, nursery and landscaping business.
A visit to Sunrise View Farm will include a tour of the 100-foot barn, the largest in the area still used for agricultural purposes. The barn was constructed of hand-hewn beams and lined with stalls for the farm’s dairy cattle. In the early 1970s, Maryiam Pawlowski used the upper level of the barn to house her dance studio.

New home with old-fashioned flair
Perched above Haley Pond is Diane and Eric Darnell’s newly constructed home built with old-fashioned flair. The great room offers lovely views of water and sunsets as well as many custom touches. The fireplace was designed with a massive rustic mantel made with lumber taken from the property. Be sure to notice the hand-cut plank flooring and trim boards that were also gleaned from this lot.
The back part of the house was built to look like an old, log homestead with the front section retaining a “new addition” feel. The home is beautifully decorated with primitives collected by the owners mingled with rustic furnishings and accessories from Welcome Home.

The Farmhouse Inn
The history of the Farmhouse Inn dates back to 1833 when John, James and Luther Hoar II began the purchase of land parcels from Squire James Rangeley. The Small House on the left side of the existing inn was built in 1833 using post-and-beam construction and horse hair insulation. A large barn was soon added adjacent to the Small House. In 1899, Nathan Ellis purchased the property from the heirs of Luther Hoar Nile II and operated a sheep farm until the land was sold to his son Lynwood around 1920. In 1903, Ellis converted the barn to living quarters, which came to be known as The Big House. The upstairs was built with 12 bedrooms to meet the needs of a growing family. Under the management of Ellis’ son, Lynwood, his wife, Marion Oakes, and their 11 children, the farm switched from sheep to dairy cattle. Holsteins grazed on the open pastures above the farm. Between 1943 and 1959, Lake View Farm (operated in partnership with his son Walter) was modernized and produced homogenized and pasteurized dairy products delivered throughout Rangeley, Oquossoc, Stratton, Eustis and Kingfield. In the ’60s and early ’70s, Lynwood Ellis raised beef cattle as a retirement enterprise.
Following the tour, a reception and silent auction will be held from 3:30 to 5:15 p.m. at The Country Club Inn The auction includes alpine and cross-country ski passes, pieces of art, gift certificates to local restaurants and many other items from local merchants. Tickets, $10, and maps are available at the Rangeley Lakes Chamber of Commerce. For more information, call 864-5364.

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