TOWNSEND -- Laura Bradley, owner of the Spaulding Cooperage in Townsend Harbor, can make any space look inviting and create a wine and cheese buffet within 12 minutes. She did just that on Thursday, Oct. 18, just in time for preview night to begin at 6:30 p.m. Suddenly, holiday lights glowed in the windows of the Harbor Church, the music began and lamplight lit the way to the buffet of goodies and the start of this busy three-day event.

The Harbor Church, on Main Street, was built in 1853 as a Unitarian church but closed within a few years. It lay dormant until the town installed a community meeting house and theater two decades later. Today those wooden benches and folding chairs are still in place, and the church, owned by the town and part of the incomparable collection of historical sites and buildings in Townsend, is continuing to receive life support to keep it healthy.

A short walk away on the harbor and poised over the Squannacook River is the Cooperage, built in 1733 as mill for sawing wood. It was purchased by Jonas Spaulding in 1865 and was converted into a barrel-making mill and the six-sided cooper fireplace was added.

Laura Bradley's great-grandmother was Sarah Spaulding, the cousin of Jonas Spaulding.

Displaying homey furniture and nature-inspired smallwares were various dealers, which included Kris Voglesand of Cricket Acres Studio and the Barn Loft, Melissa Machotka, Pam Millette and Karen DiStasio.


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What lit up the space was the metal work of David Dawson, a 27-year old marvel of alchemy. His specialty is restoring and reusing anything made of out of metal. On display was a circa 1940s metal desk at standing height, which he rescued from a car repair shop. Buffed to its original metal color it seemed magically contemporary. A large metal funnel had been rebooted as a hanging lighting fixture, its electrical cord wrapped in burlap, and the bulb protector was a clever netting of chicken wire. His booth's showstopper was a glass-topped coffee table, which held old metal fan blades captive in the center. David is Laura's son and he can be contacted through her.

The Cooperage is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m and on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Enjoy the yearly holiday open house at on Nov. 10 and Nov. 11 (Veterans Day weekend). Call 978-597-2411. Laura Bradley is an accomplished decorator and welcomes complimentary consultations. She also purchases entire estates or single pieces of furniture. Her cell is 978-855-2299, or email her at spauldingcoop@yahoo.com.