Shipbuilder George Washington Bourne bought the brick Federal home that would become known as the Wedding Cake House (104 Summer St., Kennebunkport) in 1826, soon after marrying his bride, Jane. Retired and bored a few decades later, he began hand-carving decorations for the home modeled after the Gothic cathedrals he admired in Europe. One thing led to another, and before long, he had created a towered frosting of ornamentation that put the best dessert platters to shame.
Dubbed the “Wedding Cake House” after his death, the home has been an essential stop for tourists to Kennebunk for more than 100 years. The beauty of the house is ordinarily only viewable from the exterior. (You’ll have to park down the street in the designated lot and walk half a block for the photo-op.) For two weeks in 2005, however, the owner, Jimmy Barker, opened the house for an unprecedented benefit for hurricane victims, bringing inquisitive guests inside for the first time.
Visitors ooh’d and ah’d at crystal chandeliers and impeccable trompe l’oeil paintings. If this happens again, don’t wait to snatch up a ticket.