This lovely October I have had the pleasure of attending two historic festivals – the annual 1770s Festival at Lord Stirling Park in Basking Ridge, NJ and the annual Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm Harvest Festival.
The 1770s Festival happens each year on the first Sunday in October. I attended this year’s festival on October 2, 2011. The setting for the festival was on the grounds of Lord Stirling’s grand manor house and estate, originally constructed in the 1770s.
We had a long and interesting talk with a member of the Revolutionary War military detachment camp, who taught us all about the weaponry and methods of combat during the Revolutionary War.
Skilled artisan Homer Hansen demonstrated paper cutting techniques to achieve beautiful and intricate silhouette designs.
The Quiet Valley Harvest Festival takes place on Columbus Day weekend each year. The setting is a beautiful historical farm with buildings dating back to the late 1700s – 1800s. There is plenty of yummy food to eat at the festival…
…farm animals in their pastures (like the sheep above), barns (there were 13 three-week-old piglets in the barn with their mother this year), and petting areas…
…and demonstrations of many early American skills and crafts, including spinning, weaving, yarn dyeing, tatting, coopering, quilling, broom making, oak split basketry, outdoor brick bake oven, Dutch oven cooking, butter making, and rope making. I learn something new about these crafts every year.
As a follow-up to my post about the 1771 farmhouse I grew up in, I now present to you the outbuildings.
This was “the big barn,” with its saltbox style roof. An old man in the neighborhood remembered that this barn used to house a cider press that everyone would bring their apples to by wagon. Once the apples had been pressed into cider, he would deliver it back to the customers.
This was “the little barn.” (That’s me collecting Easter eggs in front of it, many years ago!) The closest door led to a storage area where we kept shovels, rakes, gardening tools and such. There was also a giant wood pile inside. The second door led to a former blacksmith shop. Inside, there was still a work table, shelving, and a blacksmith’s forge with an old bicycle wheel that turned the fan.
I couldn’t find any closeups of our outhouse (… except for one where it was in use at the time… ) so you’ll have to look for it in the far right of this photo of my Dad, a snowman that he and my Mom built, and our dog. The outhouse was a 4-seater, with two adult sized seats and two child sized seats.
Coming up in my next post in this series: pictures of the interior of our house.
This is the house that I grew up in. It was a 1771 farmhouse – the entire single-story section on the right was a huge country kitchen with a woodburning stove inside. That section also had a saltbox style roof, which you can see in the second photo below. The historical society told us that the front room on the left side of the house was once a midwife’s birthing room. The house is painted white in these photos, which is the color it was when my parents first bought it. I remember the house being the dark blue color pictured here that my Dad later painted it to.
Below is the back view of the house. That’s a grape vine in the foreground. The white door led into what later became the bathroom, so that wound up getting sealed shut and the steps were removed. In 1771, there of course were no bathrooms, just the outhouse, which was still standing on the property. When my parents first moved in, the bathroom contained only a toilet. There was no hot water or heating system in the house either. An elderly woman was living in the kitchen with the woodstove and a space heater.
Below is a side view of the back of the house. The barrel collected rain water that fell from the gutter.
Photos of the outbuildings will be in my next post.
… it was normal for children to go outside and play with a stick?
I feel very fortunate to have grown up during those times.
I have been scanning some photos from my parents’ old photo albums of the first house I grew up in – our 1771 farmhouse (that’s me in front of it in the photo above), the barns, and the outhouse. The photos are all that remain to remember them by now, as all of the buildings are now gone. I will share more of them in the coming weeks here.