Tag: Halloween Events

Van Cortlandt Manor               5 Riverside Avenue       Croton-on-the-Hudson, NY 10502

Van Cortlandt Manor 5 Riverside Avenue Croton-on-the-Hudson, NY 10502

Van Cortandt Manor

5 Riverside Avenue

Croton-on-the-Hudson, NY  10502

(914) 366-6900

The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze

Open: See website for seasonal hours

Van Cortlandt Manor

My review on TripAdvisor (Manor and Pumpkin Blaze):

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g47560-d116391-Reviews-Van_Cortlandt_Manor-Croton_on_Hudson_New_York.html?m=19905

A trip to the Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-the-Hudson is an interesting step back into the Colonial history of this country. During the summer, there is an interesting walking tour of the home offered usually from the end of July to Labor Day. Then the house is closed to prepare for the huge ‘Pumpkin Blaze’ during the months of October and November and then the house is shut down until the spring.

The house tour is interesting because it shows the home as a working farm and place of commerce for the family. This was not a weekend home for the family working in the City but crops being grown for shipping, vibrant gardens that supplied the house and a small tavern for travelers along the Albany Post Road as well as a place for shipping goods down the rivers.

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Van Cortlandt Manor

The home is furnished in the most modern furnishings of the time and you can see how the house reflected the needs of the family at that time. It was more of a home than a luxurious place to entertain. The furnishes are practical, very in fashion of the time and nicely decorated.

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The Dining Room

The tour of the kitchens and storage areas show that even in what was the modern era was not such easy living without servants. The estate was somewhat self-contained with animals and provisions being raised on the land and there is even an area where fabric such as flax and cotton where spun and made into clothing.

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The kitchen dining area

The upstairs bedrooms show that the linens were under lock and key even with the servants and that the rooms were well-appointed and comfortable. A lot of the family heirlooms still reside in the house and it gives you a perfect look at what life must have been like when the family lived here.

Don’t miss the gardens as well. Some have been over-grown because of the lack of volunteers but still you can see the beauty of the flowers and trees around the house. The house sits right on the cross between the Croton and Hudson rivers and even though it is now grown in, you can see that the house stood at one of the busiest sections of Upstate commerce.

The Pumpkin Blaze-Hudson Valley Historical Association:

During the months of Halloween, there are thousands of pumpkins that line the walks and beautiful displays to see along the paths of the estate and the river. This event is sponsored by the Hudson Valley Historical Association and is one of their biggest fundraisers. Don’t miss this annual event every fall.

The Blaze is amazing!

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Some pictures from the MoMA Pumpkin Museum:

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Their version of “The Scream”:

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The Van Cortlandt Manor ablaze with lights and sounds

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Justin Watrel at the Pumpkin Blaze

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My Aunt and I at the Pumpkin Blaze

The History of the Van Cortlandt Manor:

By Royal Charter, Van Cortlandt Manor was originally a 86,000 acre tract granted as a patent to Stephanus Van Cortlandt in 1697 by King William III, stretching from the Hudson River on the west to the first boundary line between the Province of New York and the Colony of Connecticut, on the east, twenty English miles in length by ten miles in width in shape nearly a rectangular parallelogram forming, “The Manor of Cortlandt”. The massive holding was acquired by direct purchase from the Indians, in part by Stephanus van Cortlandt, a native born Dutch gentleman of New York and in part by others whose titles he subsequently bought, this tract together with a small tract on the west side of the Hudson River opposite the promontory of Anthony’s Nose, which he also purchased from the Indians.

The Manor House was built sometime before 1732 but was not any owner’s principal residence until a grandson, Pierre Van Cortlandt, moved there in 1749. At the time the manor house was on a 1000 acre portion of the original tract.

Pierre brought his family to the estate in 1749 and established the manor into it most vibrant days, according to some. During this period, the manor was operating an apple orchard, dairy farm, a bee house, a kiln, a tavern and a carpenter and blacksmith shops. Van Cortlandt Manor was a self-sustaining community while Pierre and his family resided in the estate. At this time, tensions leading to the Revolutionary War were building and the manor would become a place of wartime retreat. Pierre side with the colonies and the manor was used to assist the Continental Army, using its resources to make food and supplies. Pierre was involved with military legislature and his son Philip was a soldier for the Continental Army. Eventually Pierre and his family vacated the manor in the thick of war. The manor was ransacked by the British Army and left in poor standing. Philip, becoming a brigadier general by the war’s end, returned and along with his sister, Catherine, brought the manor back to working order.

Van Cortlandt Manor became an essential stop on the route from New York to Albany in the years that followed the war. The mills were once again thriving and provided the community and travelers with food, supplies and lodging. Pierre and his wife did not return until 1803 once the manor was in full working order again. The manor was passed down in the family until it was sold to a non-relative, Otis Taylor in 1945. By this time, the property had lost its luster and was not the flourishing estate it had once been.

In 1953, John D. Rockefeller Jr. purchased the property and began restoring the manor to previous prominence. In 1961, Van Cortlandt Manor became registered as a National Historic Landmark.

Disclaimer: This information on the history of the house was provided by Wiki and I give them full credit on the information.

Places to Eat:

Located in the ShopRite Mall next to the Blaze:

New Happy Garden

440 South River Side Avenue

Croton on the Hudson, NY  10520

(914) 271-7888/8268

https://www.menupix.com/westchester/restaurants/3212099/Dong-Happy-Garden-Menu-Croton-On-Hudson-NY

Open: Sunday 12:00pm-9:00pm/Monday Closed/Tuesday-Saturday 11:00am-10:00pm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g47560-d4616434-Reviews-Dong_Happy_Garden-Croton_on_Hudson_New_York.html?m=19905

The Schoolhouse Museum-Ridgewood Historical Society 650 Glen Avenue Ridgewood, NJ 07450

The Schoolhouse Museum-Ridgewood Historical Society 650 Glen Avenue Ridgewood, NJ 07450

The Schoolhouse Museum-Ridgewood Historical Society

650 Glen Avenue

Ridgewood, NJ  07450

(201) 447-3242

RidgewoodHistoricalSociety@Verizon.net

Open:

Thursday and Saturday: 1:00pm-3:00pm

Sunday: 2:00pm-4:00pm

Fee: Donation $5.00

TripAdvisor Review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46772-d10353516-Reviews-Schoolhouse_Museum-Ridgewood_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

I have visited this interesting small history museum a few times and they do a wonderful job in presenting their displays with interesting facts catering not just to a local crowd but anyone interested in history and events.

Ridgewood Schoolhouse Museum

The one-room schoolhouse, built in 1872, operated as a public school until 1905. It was part of the district school system formed in 1864 or 1865, which was geographically defined rather than by township. It was operated as School District No. 45. When the towns incorporated in 1894, that district system was dissolved and the school became part of the Ridgewood school district.

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The Ridgewood Schoolhouse Museum’s permanent collection

Tradition has it that the original land grant to the Dutch Reformed congregation from Pierre Fauconier and his daughter, Magdalena Valleau, stated that room should always be given upon the church land for a school. We know that a small school building opened in 1785. A second stone school was built in 1820 and eventually replaced by a frame structure in 1845.

Eventually the present schoolhouse was built in 1872 at a cost of $4600.00. It is likely that other schools existed on the church property from the time the church was built in 1735 to 1785, for the consistory assumed responsibility for education and the exact time when that responsibility was handed over to the public is not known.

The large bell summoned children from miles away to school each morning. The original belfry is gone but the bell stands in the entryway. It was used in other schools and a church after the school closed in 1905 but was returned to the historical society in 1977.

The original entry was divided into separate entrances and cloakrooms for boys and girls. The potbelly stove is original as are the windows and the two central lamps. The black boards around the room have been removed except for one behind the teacher’s platform.

When the Historical Society started the museum, the privy building was attached to the main building to provide more display area. In their special display area, they have an exhibition space for farming and a local comedian.

In April 2018, they have a very interesting exhibition call “The Thread of Life” which tells the story of families progression in home life from the end of the Civil War until the beginning of the Depression and times changed between the Civil War and WWI. Between the Victorian Era, the sinking if the Titanic and the devastation of WWI, the baby boom of the teens and the ‘Roaring Twenties’ with the stock market built changed the attitudes and the way of life for an entire generation until the Great Depression put a halt on it. You can see the changes of behavior in the displays of clothes and household decor. It is an interesting display.

They also have an ongoing exhibition of farm equipment and a continuation of their “Farming in Bergen County” exhibition that just closed before this show. Also, see their ‘Halloween Cemetery Walk” in my blog, “MywalkinManhattan.com” entry “This is Halloween” Day Ninety-Six, October 31, 2017. Don’t miss it this year!

Don’t miss the “Here comes the Brides” exhibition that just opened up in May of 2019. It shows the history of formal wear for weddings along with accessories, menswear, invitations and even cakes toppers.

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‘Here comes the Bride’ Exhibition 2019

In July of 2020, as Phase Three of the Opening in the State of New Jersey, the Museum is now open from 2:00pm-4:00pm for viewing with a new exhibition “A” is for Artistry: Celebrating Centuries of Art, Artists & Creativity”. The exhibit is a combination of local donated art and heirlooms from Ridgewood and the surrounding towns.

The Exhibition “A is for Artistry”

There are interesting displays of early photography and portrait painting as a way of preserving a persons’ image for the future. The use of oil painting, tin and then photo ‘sittings’ came in vogue as the technology changed.

Portraits were the form of imagetry before photography was invented

There was an interesting display of Children’s toys from the handmade farm toys of clay and corn husks to the fancier toys of bisque and cloth when imports and specialty toy stores were created for children’s playthings. They even had a collection of the famous “Punch & Judy Dolls”.

The Punch & Judy Dolls at the “A is for Artistry” exhibition

Another standout of the exhibition was the display from General Westervelt, a local citizen of Bergen County whose shipping expertise helped the North during the Civil War. His use of navigation and sailing was a detriment to the South and there was a $1000.00 bounty on his head. He died during the Civil War.

Don’t miss their ‘Cemetery Walks’ during the day. I took one recently at the old Dutch Reformed Church and we discussed the history of the church, the location of the old church versus the building of the new one, which is why the cemetery looks the way it does and the locations of the tombstones as well as how time and advancement in carving went from sandstone, which fades and chips over time when to the production of granite and marble for future tombstones.

The cemetery is filled with names famous and prominent in Bergen County and North Jersey history which includes participation in the wars and the building of Bergen County including the Westervelts, Van Riper’s, Haring’s, Zabriskie’s, Terhune’s, Demerest’s, Blauvelt’s and Tice’s families. It is an fascinating place to learn Bergen County history and its development.

Ridgewood Cemetery Tour

The Cemetery Tours that take place the week before Halloween are interesting as well. The paths of the Valleau Cemetery in Ridgewood are lined with candles and you follow the path with the town historian who takes you on a creepy tour of the famous dead residents of Ridgewood. These include prominent athletes, business people and local laborers. You pretty much tour about a third of the cemetery as you move from one tombstone to another met by costumed actors, who they themselves have to sit in the cemetery in the dark waiting for you. That is a horror movie into itself.

The best part of the tour is you are greeted at the museum with a tour of the museum and a table laden with fresh apple cider and cider doughnuts that make the perfect refreshment on a cool fall evening. Make sure to take the 7:00pm tour when it is dark out and make the reservation well in advance as these tours fill up fast.

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Taking the Cemetery Tours is interesting!

Don’t miss their upcoming tours for Halloween, Christmas and their new exhibition, “The Thread of Life” on the changes of Society in local history from Victorian Age to Jazz Age.

Please check out the museum’s website for all their very original special programming.