In the Nickels-Sortwell House front hall, floral designer Laura Tibbetts makes detailed notes for the seasonal displays she’ll create for tours during Wiscasset Holiday Marketfest Dec. 3-5. Courtesy of Marketfest

Wiscasset Holiday Marketfest open Dec. 3-5

WISCASSET – It was a morning of measuring and photos, stepping back to admire the banister curves, the handsome furnishings in the parlor, and the subtly colored wallpapers of the grand Nickels-Sortwell House overlooking Wiscasset Village.

Floral designer Laura Tibbetts, owner of Midcoast Blooms in Damariscotta, is preparing to adorn the house with seasonal greens for its holiday celebration. The historic Nickels-Sortwell House, built in 1807, is owned and managed by Historic New England and will be open for tours during Wiscasset Holiday Marketfest, Friday, Dec. 3 through Sunday, Dec. 5.

“We all need some brightness in our lives right now,” said Tibbetts, and she expects color to play a large part in the floral displays she creates for the house. The existing features of the house, she explains, will guide her creative decisions. As she studies the wallpaper in the front hall – in shades of blush and gray – the vision begins to coalesce as she makes her notes. She sees birch curls along the “exciting” curved staircase, and garlands with silver highlights that enhance the papered walls. There’ll be brightness, she says, “without going to heavy Christmas reds.”

By the time she leaves the house, Tibbetts has a well laid out plan for knowing where pieces will go. “Nothing should look out of place, and everything will be created for its specific location.” In the sitting room, she envisions a big, beautifully decorated tree “which will say home in New England for the holidays.” The room’s fireplace mantel, on the other hand, is very narrow and will require a non-traditional approach.

Tibbetts grew up on the family farm in central New York, so she’s been around growing plants her whole life. Although she spent 25 years working in corporate America, she finally returned to her roots as a flower grower in Maine. Tibbetts opened Midcoast Blooms in February 2020, just before the pandemic forced her to close for an unexpected hiatus. But growing flowers kept her busy during the shutdown until she reopened on June 6, 2020. During the downtime, she says, she specialized in the occasional “small weddings, elopements, and unusual events.”

In addition to being a Master Gardener, Tibbetts describes herself as a constant student who has learned from design mentors, observation, and travels. She describes her design style as European “with greens, twigs, branches, not just flowers.” And when she’s done with the Nickels-Sortwell House, “visitors will find inspiration for timeless, classic decorating,” which responds to the house and to the holiday. “Everything will be just right for the space.”

To make a reservation for a Nickels-Sortwell House tour and for information about other Wiscasset Holiday Marketfest activities, visit the web site,, and browse the Calendar. Wiscasset Holiday Marketfest is a partnership event of Wiscasset Creative Alliance and Wiscasset Area Chamber of Commerce.

Major sponsors for Wiscasset Holiday Marketfest are Carriage House Gardens, First National Bank, IndustrialME, J. Edward Knight Insurance, Midcoast Federal Credit Union, Norm’s Used Cars, Red’s Eats, Rock Paper Scissors, and Wiscasset Ford with additional support from BIRCH Home Furnishings & Gifts, Chewonki Campground, Old and Everlasting, and Sprague’s Lobster. For more go to