Built in 1813 by Asa Werden, the Marshlands estate is a striking example of traditional Loyalist architecture. The brick house has been recently revitalized with attention to maintaining many original features. The wide open rooms, original wood-burning fireplaces and wood floors give you the feeling of how life was once lived here.
The welcoming main hall leads into the spacious living and dining rooms, both ideal spaces for relaxing by the fireplaces, reading, or tickling the ivories of the baby grand piano. The modern, bright and very spacious kitchen features a soapstone wood stove, and the adjoining airy sunroom gives way to a panoramic view of the stream and woods, a fabulous area for you and your family to spread out.
Take the servants’ staircase from the sunroom up to the loft bedroom, which sleeps four. The three other bedrooms, all on the second floor, each sleep two, for a total accommodation of ten guests. Each room has its own charm; all overflow with natural light and have high ceilings and original wood floors. The master suite features another original fireplace and a very charming ensuite bathroom. The house has three bathrooms, two with showers and one with a stand-alone tub.
The grassy landscape around the house is ideal for afternoon picnics and walks. Bask in the sun or rest in the shade on the extensive decks that surround the newer addition of the house, which was built in 1857, or lounge in the hammock near the firepit, where you can enjoy bonfires in the evenings. Children of all ages will enjoy the tire swing!
The history of the Werden family lives on through the house, which still holds some of the original furniture. Originally from England, the Werdens moved to North America in the 1600s. Asa’s grandfather moved to Quebec where, in 1765, he acquired the Seigneury of Riviere-du-Loup and the Fief de Madawaska in the Gaspe. He later relocated his family to Connecticut.
As a young man, Asa Werden made his way to Canada. He began working as a tanner, eventually entered the timber industry, and began to buy real estate, where his fortune quickly grew. It is said that he could walk to Picton on his own land, and he owned all of what is now Whitby, Ontario.
Asa became a magistrate and then a member of the Parliament of Upper Canada — an important founder of Prince Edward County. He established a sawmill and a gristmill on what is now the Beaver Meadow Conservation Area, and in 1813 built this house for his new wife, Elizabeth Ellsworth, who was from the county. He was the largest landowner in the county and eventually built houses for all of his 14 children. One of these is the Millhouse, just minutes down the road.
After a long and prosperous life, Asa Werden died in 1866 and was buried on the property. At the time of his death, Asa’s estate was worth $250,000, a huge sum at the time. His remains were eventually moved to Glenwood Cemetery in Picton, a property donated to the town by Asa’s son Robert.
The County is a vacation mecca for all, be it a family holiday, a romantic getaway, or a best friends’ escape from the city. Wander through the many art galleries and see live music and theatre performances in various locales. Be sure to check out the festival and events calendar in the County to ensure that you don’t miss the showcase of celebrated local artists! Local wineries and breweries are blossoming all over the County and are gaining international attention. There are in fact over 35 wineries, most of which are open all year round for tastings.
Picton and nearby Bloomfield have a bounty of small shops carrying something for everyone. There is an excellent skate park in the heart of Picton for the days that the kids choose to take a break from the beach.
Farmers’ markets and a large selection of restaurants offer a wide variety of regional flavours and artisan products. Choosing where to dine is just another joyful addition to the days’ adventures.
Catering to lovers of the great outdoors, the County offers limitless opportunities for daytime excursions! Enjoy sunbathing and swimming at the beautiful beach of Sandbanks Provincial Park, only seven kilometres from Marshlands. Kayak, canoe or sail in Lake Ontario itself or on the inland waterways. Cycling, hiking, fishing … the choices are endless.