Dating back to 1755, Portland, Maine's Tate House Museum is the only existing example of pre-revolutionary architecture open to the public. In its heyday, it was the residence of Captain George Tate, a senior mast agent in the British Royal Navy, though it's now a museum, complete with period furnishings, an herb garden, and a gift shop.
This beautiful pre-revolutionary home provides an excellent introduction into what life was like in 18th-century colonial Maine.
Many visitors opt to go on one of the special topical tours offered by the museum, many of which are available with 24 hours' notice. One tour focuses on architecture, complete with a visit up to the attic of the house to see the rafters, while another takes visitors to the nearby Stroudwater Cemetery, where Captain Tate himself is interred.
Things to Know Before You Go
Tours start on the hour, with the last tour departing at 3pm.
The museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
There's a great gift shop selling books, candles, and mementos.
How to Get There
The Tate House Museum is located on Westbrook Street in Greater Portland, right on the edge of the Stroudwater Historic District and a few minutes from Portland International Jetport. It's about a 10-minute drive from the city center to the museum (via Interstate 295), or a 20-minute bike ride. Bus #5 stops here about every half-hour Monday through Saturday, with limited Sunday service.
When to Get There
The Tate House Museum is open June through the end of October. The best time to visit is during the summer months of July and August, when the weather is at its best. Springtime is also nice here when many of the flowers and herbs in the surrounding garden are in bloom.
The Tate House offers a handful of special events, including a 5k trail run and an annual Christmas party. History buffs won't want to miss the Tate House Museum's annual lecture series, which focuses heavily on local area history. Topics run the gamut from the Revolutionary War to English paper piecing quilting.