The Old Houses in Old America

I’m often asked about the best places that I visit through my job…

…its often the more understated destinations that I find more enjoyable.

Thanks to the contacts that I’ve made over the year, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to dozens of countries that I’d only ever dreamed of before. The nature of my job is a simple one, I’m hired to take photographs of beautiful houses, which are usually in far-off locations. I’m paid for my expenses, so I don’t have to worry about the air fare and I’m usually put up in a decent hotel.  I’ve sure come a long way from that dingy house in York, but its not the pre-paid flights or hotels that make me thankful for being in this line of work – its the moments in between.

Its the odd little corners of the world that are rarely seen or photographed – the lost moments in time that I’m fortunate enough to witness.

My most recent trip took me out to a corner of America that I had not visited before. Of course, this shouldn’t be surprising, after all, its a big country! My usual trips to America take me out to the major cultural cities: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco. Plush flats with views of the valley. Modern condos with infinity pools and ultra-chic apartments for start-up salary earners. Make your way out to the East coast, however, and you’ll find the architectural history of the country becomes instilled with the spirit of old America.

Established in 1638, Exeter, Massachusetts, is one of the oldest occupied settlements in the country. Although the small town of 14,000 or so people may have adapted to modernity somewhat (electrics manufacturers, Wall Industries, have been continuing the tradition of industry in the town), there’s an unwavering sense of heritage in this town, exemplified by the wide examples of wonderfully preserved historical homes.

Since the establishment of the town in the 17th Century, Exeter has played a key part in the shaping of American History (its been claimed that the town was home to the birth of the Republican Party). Like any town, though, it still had its humble beginnings.

The land was originally purchased by the Reverend John Wheelwright, who had been exiled from his previous home for attempting to spread dissident religious views that he had learnt from his sister, Anne Hutchinson, a prominent religious figure. The settlers in Exeter were a religious crowd who put great stock in their beliefs, so it only follows that a church would be one of the first buildings to be erected in the town. The First Congregational Church, built in 1870, still stands today alongside a dozen or so other fine historical buildings.

After spending a few days photographing some immaculately kept homes, I had a few days to myself to wander around this peaceful town.

Like many of the old towns in America, Exeter might not be the bustling hub of activity it once was, but what its lost in importance it has retained in cold beauty and cultural heritage.