EAST HADDAM — It’s a walk with a view and a holiday theme.
The mansion at Gillette Castle State Park is not open but members of the Friends of Gillette Castle State Park spent a recent weekend decorating the grounds and exterior of the late William Gillette’s mansion at 67 River Road, according to the group.
The group included Jack Hine, the park’s supervisor, and staff member Sarah Lucey, as well as Friends members Laura Borg, Lynn Wilkinson and Dorothy Millen. Borg purchased the decorations and donated them to the effort, the Friends said.
“Visitors may stroll about the grounds to view the decorations from 8 a.m. until sunset daily through Jan. 2, 2021,” the group said in a release. The property offers a sweeping view of the Connecticut River.
Harold ‘Tyke’ and Theodora ‘Teddie’ Niver also are expected be on hand Sunday afternoons during the holiday season to greet and entertain visitors while portraying William and Helen Gillette, the release noted.
Further, as the group notes, “the popular tourist destination is nestled atop the ‘Seventh Sister’ hill in the towns of East Haddam and Lyme along the Connecticut River.”
“William Hooker Gillette, noted actor, director, and playwright, built this one hundred and eighty-four acre estate, the Seventh Sister. The focal point of his effort was a twenty four room mansion reminiscent of a medieval castle,” according to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
“Purchased by the State of Connecticut in 1943 from the executors of Mr. Gillette's will, Gillette Castle and the adjoining property with its fine woodlands, trails, and vistas are now administered for the enjoyment of present and future generations,” the DEEP site notes.
The Friends of Gillette Castle State Park is a nonprofit, all-volunteer group dedicated to the preservation, conservation and educational activities of the building and its grounds, according to the group. More information may be found at www.gillettecastlefriends.org.