As you can imagine, New York homes in the first half of the 1700s were teeming with self-sufficiency: chopping wood, smoking meats, sewing clothes, etc. Any light that was shed, not bestowed by the sun, was made by hand with crafted lanterns and dipped candles. And on Saturday, November 14th, when families step onto Locust Lawn Farm in Gardiner, they’ll step into that historic lifestyle.
Dawn Elliott, the site manager at Locust Lawn is an avid re-enactor, and brings her passion to work this weekend in celebration of St. Maarten’s Day. It’s a Netherlandish harvest season tradition that’s part Halloween, part Thanksgiving. With special funding from the New Netherland Institute in Albany
, which encourages groups to learn more about New York’s Dutch heritage, Locust Lawn Farm will open its 1738 stone house for fun, hands-on demonstrations in 18th century cooking (with tastings!), lantern making, candle dipping, and more.
“We’ve hired some great, professional re-enactors, who will impart to guests the lifeways of that period in time,” says Kenneth Snodgrass, the Executive Director of The Locust Grove Estate & Locust Lawn Farm. “Our goal is to give people a chance to sneak off the highway and get a better idea of how people in the Hudson Valley really lived and interacted with the world around them 250 years ago.” For kids, there’s really no better way to learn about history than to experience it with people who live it and make it fun.
St. Maarten’s Day Celebration at Locust Lawn, 436 South Route 32, in Gardiner, New York at the intersection of Route 32 and Dubois Road: Saturday, November 14th, 11a-4p; $8/person, kids under 6 are free.
Make a note: Locust Lawn in Gardiner is not Locust Grove Estate in Poughkeepsie, though they share management. As Snodgrass jokes, “The names have been confusing people for over 200 years.”
This is the first time Locust Lawn is doing a St. Maarten’s Day celebration and, if people like it, it might become an annual Hudson Valley tradition!