Massachusetts Attractions November 28, 2016
There’s No Attraction In The World Quite Like This One In Massachusetts
If you’ve ever perused a school library in New England, you’re likely to have come across the peculiar work of Edward Gorey. The darkly whimsical and often grim illustrations of this children’s author are unmistakable, and his home is unlike anywhere you’ve ever been.
Even if you have no clue who Edward Gorey is, this place is worth visiting once (or thrice) if you find yourself on Cape Cod. There’s really nowhere else like it.
The Edward Gorey house looks cheerful and inoffensive enough from the outside. It's only once you get a bit closer that you realize there's something rather odd about the place.
The Doubtful Guest topiary might be your first clue that something unusual is afoot.
When Edward Gorey died in 2000, friends discovered a house full of bizarre curios, a flock of suspicious cats and wooden floors that were literally buckling under the weight of 25,000 books.
His illustrations are humorous, gothic and often wickedly dark. Many of them feature children meeting macabre ends via fantastical creatures, or domestic capers gone awry.
Gorey’s famous book “The Gashlycrumb Tinies” begins with the couplet: “A is for Amy who fell down the stairs; B is for Basil assaulted by bears,” and goes on to detail the amusingly horrible deaths of twenty-six unfortunate youngsters.
Today, his home is a museum celebrating his life and works. Some of the items on display include Gorey’s cat-shredded divan, one of his raccoon coats and his odd pickings from local yard sales. Not to mention, a very curious, framed waffle.
Visitors can try their luck at the Gashlycrumb Tinies scavenger hunt, locating clues to gruesome deaths all over the estate.
You can also head out back, where some of Gorey's literary victims are interred.
The illustrator attended Harvard University in the 1950s, where he was known to wear a full-length sheepskin-lined coat, sneakers and stacks of rings.
Most of his works are set in the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Because of this, many of his fans assumed Gorey was British. In fact, he was American, and had only left the country once. Gorey spent most of his later years in Yarmouthport on Cape Cod.
There's a very lovely gift shop on the premises, where you can browse a variety of Gorey-themed knick knacks and many of the author's books.
Admission is $8 per adult, $5 for students and seniors, $2 for kids 6-12, and free for children under 6. You can opt for a guided tour of the place (highly recommended, since the curators know all sorts of interesting facts about the property and the author), or simply wander about by yourself.
Just where is Edward Gorey buried, you may ask? A portion of his ashes are actually behind maintained pending the death of his two remaining cats. Gorey wished to be buried with them in the yard of his former home.
The Edward Gorey House is located at 8 Strawberry Lane, off Route 6A on the Yarmouthport Common. For another interesting attraction in Massachusetts,
check out this charming gingerbread village.