The Merry Sherwood Plantation is a stately, 3-storied home that sits proudly overlooking farmland off of Route 113 south of Berlin, MD. The home stands out on the lower Eastern Shore as being one of the most distinctive and personal interpretations of the Italianate style. The imaginative nature of many exterior and interior finishes of the plantation point clearly to the local vernacular expression of ‘high-style’ design.
On Thursday, December 15th, the Merry Sherwood Plantation inn keepers opened their heavy wooden doors to the public. The parking area, a cleared lot on the south side of the property, was overflowing with cars. More than 100 people entered the home to take a peek inside and see a building that represents a period from over 140 years ago.
The construction of the massive plantation home was completed in 1859. The home was built to encourage a courtship between a young local woman and a man trying to seek her approval. The plantation home was laid out and designed for lavish parties and for accommodating guests for a long duration. Meticulous detail went into designing, building, and decorating the residence in the 1850’s and those touches can still be noticed today.
During the holiday season, the pre-Civil War mansion reflects upon the Victorian era for spirited decorations that would astonish any decorator. The Victorian era was marked by romanticism, mysticism, changing social values, and an increase of peace, prosperity, and art. Every holiday season, bits and pieces of this long-gone era can been seen in downtown Berlin, MD during Victorian Christmas. Berlin was alive and thriving during the Victorian era in the United States.
Twin marble fireplaces flanked Santa and a large Christmas tree that was coated in ornaments. With several exquisite pier mirrors in the ballroom, it appeared as though there were at least a dozen trees in the room because of the endless reflections. The Victorian furniture and fine art was showcased beautifully next to wreaths and garlands covered in glittery floral picks, holiday ornaments, and rich ribbons. Traditional Victorian Christmas décor includes strung garlands, gingerbread men and marzipan candies as decorations, fresh cookies, pine cones and berry bunches; all of the above were noticed at Merry Sherwood.
Upstairs from the entry, ballroom, and dining room there are 8 separate bedrooms and bathrooms. Each room is decorated with differently styled Victorian antiques. The bathroom walls are coated with busy Victorian wallpaper, marbled floors, showers, and antique decorations to compliment the suites. A bathtub filled with fresh-cut holly branches was quite a site. The holly was trimmed from the trees that occupy the 18-acre Merry Sherwood property.
Deep burgundy, crisp cranberry, and cream ribbons were wrapped around the continuous mahogany handrail that rises three floors. Classic white icicle holiday lights covered the roof lines as large white spotlights highlighted hand-made wreaths placed perfectly to accent the architectural design of the home. A bright white light shown through the Gothic-Revival styled single, oak-lined, look-out that is nested above the third story.
Merry Sherwood is open to the public year round. The pre-Civil War mansion is one of the finest bed and breakfasts on the Eastern Shore. The home, that sits 200 yards from the highway, dominates the surrounding agricultural land and cannot be overlooked during the Christmas season. Santa definitely won’t miss Merry Sherwood on December 25th. The jolly soul can slide down one of the numerous chimneys and deliver gifts to the plantation's inhabitants early Christmas morning.
Other buildings in the Berlin vicinity are also decorated for the holidays in Victorian garb and open for tours. The Calvin B. Taylor House Museum and the Atlantic Hotel have scheduled open house times in honor of Victorian Christmas.