Tag: NY Historical Sites

Mesier Homestead & Museum-Wappinger’s Falls Historical Society           2 Spring Street      Wappinger’s Falls, NY 12590

Mesier Homestead & Museum-Wappinger’s Falls Historical Society 2 Spring Street Wappinger’s Falls, NY 12590

The Mesier Homestead & Museum-Wappinger’s Falls Historical Society

2 Spring Street

Wappinger’s Falls, NY  12590

(845) 632-1281

Open: Sunday 1:00pm-4:00pm

Fee: Donation Suggested

https://www.wappingershistoricalsociety.org/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g48799-d16919924-Reviews-Mesier_Homestead_and_Museum-Wappingers_Falls_New_York.html?m=19905

 

I visited the Mesier Homestead recently and toured the home with a local docent. The home to four generations of the Mesier family,  the house is decorate with furnishings from the Victorian era and shows life as it may have been in the late 1880’s.

There are reproductions of family portraits in the Living Room and hallway, a formally set Dining Room for dinner showed the family’s status in the community. By the amount of space available for living and entertaining with the separate rooms for use in the home it showed how times were changing with the affluence of that time.

The second floor tour is a view of the slave quarters and the two family bedrooms. What I thought was interesting on the tour is how the family had to co-mingle in the bedrooms because of the amount of children in the family and how mom and dad were not always alone.

There were many family items in the house like clothing, children’s toys and playthings and items for recreation like bikes,  ice skates and musical instruments of a time before TV, movies and radio. There were also items for spinning and making clothes.

The tour guide also noted the drafts in the house before insulation was put in and the conditions of the time with weather effecting living conditions inside with drafts in the winter and heat in the summer through the roof plyboards. The tour takes about an hour.

Recently the house was decorated for the Christmas holidays with garland, holly and fragrant oranges that once masked the household smells. They also gave the house a festive fragrance. These popular tours last through the holiday season.

Please check their website for a list of their activities.

 

The History of the Mesier Homestead:

The Mesier Homestead and surrounding property was sold to the Village of Wappinger’s Falls in 1891 with the understanding that it forever be known as Mesier Homestead and Mesier Park. The Wappinger’s Historical Society acquired full custodianship of the Homestead in 2007 and through ongoing fundraising efforts has been able to restore the Homestead to its present appearance.

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The Mesier Homestead at Christmastime

The History of the house:

The house itself is part of the ‘Rombout Patent’ of land that had been bought by the Dutch from the local Indian tribes by three prominent Dutch families. This section of the property was bought by Nicholas and Adolphus Brewer and contained 750 acres of land around the Falls area and they built the first stone house in the village near present Mill Street. In 1742, the Brewers built a mill on the east side of Wappinger Creek.

Nicholas Brewer built the Mesier Homestead, which he sold in 1777 to Matthew Van Benschoten who in turn sold it to Peter Mesier, a merchant from New York City. In May 1777, soldiers and local residents attacked Peter Mesier’s house in Wappinger’s Falls, disputing the price of tea for sale in a small store inside the home. Mesier was a merchant from New York City and a Loyalist. The angry mob struck Mesier, beat his slaves and drank wine stored in the cellar. They also took the tea and left a small amount of money behind. The house was in the possession of the family for the next four generations (Wiki).

The organization’s goal for 2020 and beyond is to restore the original 1741 building so it can be a showcase of our Colonial history. Your membership, gifts and in kind donations will help us maintain and restore this jewel of Wappinger’s Falls.

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The Mesier Homestead at Christmastime

The Mission of the Wappinger’s Falls Historical Society:

The Wappinger’s Historical is dedicated to preserving and promoting the history of the Town of Wappinger, the Village of Wappinger’s Falls and neighboring communities and to maintain the custodianship of the Mesier Homestead.

When you are a member of the Wappinger’s Historical Society, you help:

*Preserve and expand our archives, collections and library to actively chronicle the life of our hamlets, village and town for future generations.

*Develop and implement programs and exhibits so that people of all ages can better understand their connection to history.

*Safeguard our architectural heritage of the 1741 Mesier Homestead.

(This information was taken from the Wappinger’s Falls pamphlet and I give them full credit for it)

Wappinger's Falls Historical Society

The Mesier Homestead

 

 

Boscobel House & Gardens  1601 Route 9D Garrison, NY 10524

Boscobel House & Gardens 1601 Route 9D Garrison, NY 10524

Boscobel House & Gardens

1601 Route 9D

Garrison, NY  10524

(845) 265-3638

http://www.boscobel.org

Homepage

Open: Sunday-Monday 9:30am-5:00pm (closes 4:00pm between November and January 5th) The house is only open between April and the beginning of January.

Fee:  Adults $18.00/Seniors $15.00/Children (5-18) $9.00/Children (under 5 years old) Free (This is for house and Garden/Garden tours are different and depend on the season. Please check the website)

My review on TripAdvisor:

 

I recently visited the Boscobel House and Garden for their Christmas decorations and for a tour of the house at the holidays. Like most houses of its time period (the house was built in 1806), it was Post-Revolutionary War and the decorations would not have been that lavish as in the Victorian times.

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The Grand Foyer at Boscobel

The house was tastefully decorated with garlands and mistletoe along the archways inside the foyer and with holly and mistletoe inside the house. Some of the tables were set for afternoon tea and entertaining in the Reception Room and there was a small table Christmas tree which were just coming into vogue after the War of 1812. The Reception Room was also set for entertaining as would be done in the holidays months in the later 1800’s.

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The lights of Boscobel during the holidays

Our tour guide, Sam, was fantastic and I hope when you tour the house he is your guide. I was impressed with his knowledge of the house and of the Dyckman family. I had not realized that they were related to the Dyckman Farmhouse family in Inwood (See my review and write ups on the Dyckman Farmhouse here on VisitingaMuseum.com and MywalkinManhattan.com).

He told the story of the man who had the house built, how he made his fortune, how he died young and then his son and his wife dying around the same time and the son-in-law squandered the fortune with a series of bad investments and the house was foreclosed. It sat empty and was falling apart until a group of local citizens saved it.

The house is now back in its full beauty and furnished in period furnishings to reflect the time that the house was built. The tour takes you through the main foyer which you would have been received in and there would have been dancing here with a band at the top of the steps.

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The Drawing/Receiving Room at Boscobel

We next viewed both the Drawing/Music Room where Mrs. Dyckman would have received guests and where informal entertaining would have happened. There was also musical instruments and player music boxes on display.

We then toured the Library area with books that were brought in from England and furniture that had been custom made for the house.

We crossed the foyer again and entered the Formal Dining Room, where the table was set for a holiday dinner. The candles had been lit (they were electric) and the room had a warm glow to it. The windows must have let in natural light so earlier meals must have been quite nice when in the summer months the sun shined inside the room.

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The Dining Room for the holidays at Boscobel

There was custom made china set on the places and there was family silver next to it. The side boards were made by Sheraton and the cut glass had been imported from England.

We then toured the back areas of the Butler’s Pantry where all the food would have finished and plated. The room had all sorts of gadgets to keep the plates warm and where all the silver and china would have been kept.

We then toured the upstairs bedrooms, where we learned the family would have ‘camped out’ in for the cold winter months. I was surprised to learn that the whole front of the house was closed off and the upstairs bedrooms would have been sealed off with fireplaces to keep them warm and the cloth hangings around the bed to keep out the drafts. Both mother and son’s bedrooms were nicely furnished with period furniture.

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The bedroom at Boscobel

Our last stop was the kitchen in the basement back area of the house where all the food would have been prepared and brought up to the Butler’s Pantry. There were all sorts of kitchen equipment for roasting, baking and boiling. You could tell that it was not easy work cooking these elaborate meals without the modern conveniences that we take for granted today. These cooks had a tougher time with the stoves and fireplaces as a source of cooking.

What I thought was a nice touch at the end of the tour in the kitchen area was that Sam served us cold apple cider and small gingerbread men which I thought was special keeping with the house’s tradition of a place of entertainment. I thought it was gracious and very much welcome.

It really was an interesting tour and I will have to return in the summer months.

 

History of Boscobel House & Gardens:

States Morris Dyckman was a descendant of a German-Dutch family whose roots in New York stretched back to 1662. During the American Revolution, he was a Loyalist serving as a clerk in the British army’s Quartermaster Department. In 1779, he accompanied his quartermaster superiors to England and for the next decade he rebutted the government allegations that the quartermasters had engaged in profiteering. (As the keeper of the department’s ledgers, he well knew how they had fattened their purses, assets Dyckman’s biographer James Thomas Flexner). The officers were eventually cleared, largely because of Dyckman’s testimony. They rewarded him with an annuity.

Dyckman returned to America in 1789 after a general amnesty of Loyalists had been declared. Five years later, he married Elizabeth Corne, a member of a distinguished New York family and 21 years his junior. Dyckman returned along to England in 1800 to settle problems with the payment of his annuity. The trip lasted nearly four years but was a success. He returned a rich man worth more than seven million dollars today. Before he left England, he bought many items for the house including silver, china, glass and books for his library.

The architect for the house was unknown but records show that Mr. Dyckman had some influence in the design of the house. Mr. Dyckman died in 1806 at age 51 and the house had only had the foundation finished at time. His 30 year old wife, Elizabeth finished the house in 1808 with the help of her husband’s cousin, William Vermilyea. She furnished the house and added to its inventory. She and her son, Peter lived in the house upon finishing it. She lived in the house until her death in 1823 and her son, Peter died the following year in 1824 at age 27. The house stayed in the family until about 1899 and then was foreclosed on. According to the guide, the house had not been updated at that point and was falling apart. The house had a series of absent owners over the next few years and then sat empty. It was bought by Westchester County in 1924 and the grounds were turned into a park.

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Boscobel House & Gardens in winter

In 1945, the park was acquired by the Veterans Administration for a hospital and the owners took care of the exterior for a time. By 1954, the house was considered an excess on the budget and was being sold for $35.00 for demolition.

The house was saved by Historian Benjamin West Frazier and some friends of his who raised about $10,000 to have the house moved and dismantled to save ‘this treasure’. The house was stored in pieces until 1955, when Lila Acheson Wallace, the co-founder of Readers Digest became involved in the project.

She purchased the land that the house now sits on and devoted her time and money to have the house restored and worked with the curators of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she was a donor to help restore the house into its period design with landscaped gardens and period furniture. In 1959, she commissioned the firm of Innocenti & Webel to create the gardens that surround the house. The house opened to the public in 1961.

(This information was taken from the Boscobel Museum Booklet and I give them full credit for the information)

 

Clermont State Historic Site               County Route 6  Germantown, NY 12526

Clermont State Historic Site County Route 6 Germantown, NY 12526

Clermont State Historic Site-New York Parks & Recreation

Route 6 (Off Route 9G)

Germantown, NY  12526

(518) 537-6622

https://parks.ny.gov/historic-sites/16/details.aspxhttp:/clermontstatehistoricsite.blogspot.comwww.friendsofclermont.org

https://www.friendsofclermont.org/

Open: April 11-October 31 Wednesday-Sunday 10:30am-4:00pm/November 1-

December 22/Saturday & Sunday 10:30am-3:00pm

Please call in advance due to seasons and weather conditions

Fee: Adults $7.00/Seniors and Adults $6.00/Children Under 12 and Members Free

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g47780-d263704-Reviews-The_Clermont_Mansion-Germantown_New_York.html?m=19905

I enjoy coming up to Germantown to visit the Clermont Mansion at any time of the year especially at Christmas time. The old mansions of the Hudson River Valley show their real beauty at this time of the year.

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The Clermont Library decorated for Christmas

Walking around Clermont is like walking through a history book. To think you are walking around the very rooms that family members who wrote the Declaration of Independence, were Governors and Ambassadors from our country and who owned most of Upstate New York lived is really incredible. The Livingston Family did so much for the United States in the formation of this country is a testament to the family.

The tour was wonderful because of the one on one conversation I had with my tour guide, Molly. We started in the entry hallway where the family hang many of the family portraits and the long hall lead to wonderful views of the Hudson River.

The next room decorated for the holidays was the Music/Withdrawing Room with more beautiful views of the river and a very interesting clock on the mantle that there are only two in the world. This clock represented the first balloon launch in France and this was the clock where the balloon went up. In France was the other clock with the balloon going down. I thought that was pretty interesting.

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The Balloon Clock on the mantle decorated for Christmas

Our next stop was the Library which seemed very homey and relaxing. It looked like a room that a family would want to spend their time in after a long day. The windows faced the river and the formal gardens at that time and let in a lot of light. The room was decorated with a elegant tree and looked like the family was ready to walk in and join us for the holidays.

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The Library of Clermont

Next it was off to the formal Dining Room where the portraits of Margaret Beekman Livingston (a VERY distant relative of mine by marriage) and her husband, Robert Livingston hung. She had saved these along with the grandfather clock before her first house was burned by the British during the war years. It was set for Christmas lunch when the family would dine together.

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The Clermont Dining Room is very elegant at Christmas

We also toured where the food was prepared and prepped from the kitchen to the Dining Room, which was all done in organized fashion. I was told by the tour guide that for the most part the family lived her year round unlike some of the other mansions who only lived here during certain times of the season.

We took a walk upstairs to see the upstairs bedrooms and see where the third Mrs. Livingston lived. I thought it was interesting that she had two beds in her room in which neither was big enough to accommodate her.

Then it was back down to the formal hallway for the end of the tour. The one thing I have to say about Clermont is that it looks like someones home not some grand mansion like the Mills or Vanderbilt mansions that looked like they for a moment time or only for a season. This family lived here all the time.

I will have to come back to see the gardens in bloom during the Spring and Summer.

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The home in all its beauty

 

The History of Clermont:

The name Clermont derives from “clear mountain” in French and was inspired by the view of the Catskill Mountains across the Hudson River from the estate.

The estate was established by Robert Livingston following the death of his father, the first Lord of the Manor was inherited by the eldest son, Philip Livingston, 13,000 acres in the southwest corner later named Clermont was willed to Robert. The original house was built around 1740.

Robert Livingston of Clermont died on June 27, 1775 and the estate passed to his son, Robert, who was known as ‘Judge Livingston’ to distinguish him from his father. Judge Livingston was a member of the New York General Assembly from 1759 to 1768, served as Judge of the admiralty court from 1760 to 1763 and was a delegate to the Stamp Act Congress of 1765. He married Margaret Beekman, daughter of Colonel Henry Beekman. Their son, Robert R. Livingston, later known as “Chancellor”, served on the committee that drafted the Declaration of Independence. Judge Robert died about six months after his father, on December 9, 1775.

Burning and  Rebuilding:

In October 1777, British ships sailed upriver from New York City in support of General John Burgoyne who was north of Albany. That same force had already stormed two forts in the Hudson Highlands and burned Kingston, New York. Major General John Vaughan led a raiding party to Clermont and burned Livingston’s home because of the family’s role in the rebellion. Margaret Beekman Livingston rebuilt the family home between 1779 and 1782. Robert R. Livingston became the estate’s most prominent resident. Chancellor Livingston administered the oath of office to President General Washington, became Secretary of Foreign Affairs and negotiated the Louisiana Purchase.

He also partnered with Robert Fulton in 1807 to create the first commercially successful steamboat on the Hudson River, the North River Steamboat (later known as the Clermont) which stopped at the house on its inaugural trip.

The home’s final Livingston owners were John Henry Livingston and his wife, Alice. They added to the home and greatly valued the homes important historical role. The Livingston’s built second mansion on the property known as Arryl House, which burned down in 1909. The ruins of Arryl House are still visible at the south end of the property. Alice Livingston was responsible for creating many of the landscaped gardens that are continued to this day. Following John Henry’s death, Alice turned the Mansion and property over to the State of New York in 1962 so that all the people of New York could enjoy it.

The house is now a New York State Historic Site and was designated a United States National Historic landmark in 1972. It is a contributing property to another National Historic Landmark, the Hudson River Historic District. Although locate in the town of Clermont, its mailing address is in the nearby town of Germantown.

(This information is a combination from the Clermont Website and Wiki and I give them full credit for this information. Please check the website above for more information on the site and its activities through their Friends site.)

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

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.

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. Don’t miss this annual event every fall.

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The Pumpkin Blaze is amazing!

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.

 

 

 

 

Fort Delaware  5516 NY Route 97 Narrowsburg, NY 12764

Fort Delaware 5516 NY Route 97 Narrowsburg, NY 12764

Fort Delaware

5516 NY Route 97

Narrowsburg, NY  12764

(845) 252-6660

https://delawareriver.natgeotourism.com/content/fort-delaware-museum-of-colonial-history-narrowsburg-ny/del1b250d73b4094e445

http://sullivanny.us/Departments/ParksRecreation/FortDelaware

Open: Last Weekend in June until Labor Day Weekend (repairs will be made on the facility after that until next year) Friday-Sunday 10:00am-5:00pm (last tour at 4:00pm) and Monday (Labor Day) 10:00am-5:00pm

Fee: Adults $7.00/ Seniors (62+) $5.00/ Children 4-12 $4.00/Veterans with ID and Children under 5 with adults Free. Special rates for school groups and group tours

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g48227-d3386995-Reviews-Fort_Delaware_Museum-Narrowsburg_Catskill_Region_New_York.html?m=19905

 

Fort Delaware is a recreation of an old fort that used to be located on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River. It is a great place to take children who like to learn from ‘hands on history’ and watch Blacksmiths, Candle makers and farmers wives perform chores and show the way of life at a time before the Revolutionary War.

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Fort Delaware

According to one of the actors I was talking to who was the Blacksmith, this type of fort would not be one people would have lived in full time. It was meant more for when the Native Americans would have attacked the settlement, which he said only happened once and for the most part the settlers and the Native Americans got along well.

As you tour the fort, you will see all the things that were done to support the settlement from  raising poultry and cows, candle stick making, the process to weave wool and flax from the raw materials, to weaving and spinning yarn to the process of making clothes and the work of the Blacksmith in making nails, axes and shoeing for horses.

Inside each of the little cabins, it will show the life inside and outside the fort at that time period including living quarters, a small school, workman’s shops and where the members of the fort did their business for trade. You can also walk the outside  decks that overlook the river to see how the gunneries worked and where the munitions were held.

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The cabins inside the Fort

You can see the entire fort in about an hour and for small children, I think they would find it fascinating. For teenagers, unless they like history, I don’t think they would find it that interesting.  Leave yourself about an hour for touring.

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The inside living quarters

 

History of the Museum:

The Fort Delaware Museum is a recreation of the original fort and was built in 1957 by James W. Burbank, the second Sullivan County historian. Burbank was fascinated with the history of the settlement which at the time was called Cushetunk. He was influenced by the Davy Crockett craze at the time in the 50’s and wanted the fort to be a money making venture. He added things like pillories and stocks which were popular at the time. He ran Fort Delaware from 1957 to 1970 when he sold it to the County. The County of Sullivan runs it under the Department of Parks, Recreation and Beautification (History of Fort Delaware-RecordonLine.com)

History of the Fort:

(From the County of Sullivan Parks & Recreation Department)

Much attention is paid to the people who settled the main cities of New York but those who decided to take on the wilderness are often forgotten. At Fort Delaware, the daily life of the wilderness settler is explored through exhibits, crafts, demonstrations and tours. The Fort is a reconstruction of the original frontier settlement of the Cushetunk settlement on the Delaware River, with its stockades and stout log homes, which offered the only protection from hostile Native Americans and later English troops. The Fort consists of a small settlement entirely surrounded by high log walls or stockades. During your visit, you will see the blockhouse (where arms and ammunition were stored), settlers cabins, a spinning, weaving and barn loom area, blacksmith shop, candle-making shed and much more. Period-dressed interpreters demonstrate 18th century life skills, including: cooking, baking bread, animal care, dipping candles and the firing of a 1/2 pound British swivel cannon.

Background of the Fort:

Fort Delaware is a representation of the first white settlement on the Upper Delaware River called Cushetunk. Today’s Fort represents the development of the settlement over a thirty year period. The original settlers were farmers who came primarily from Central Connecticut and were of English descent. They were searching for more land because it had become too crowded in Connecticut to suit colonial farming techniques. A group of Connecticut men formed “The Delaware Company” and became proprietors. In the traditional New England way of land distribution they owned the land and either sold or leased it to farmers moving into this frontier, these proprietors moved their families to the frontier and never sold their land. The Delaware Company purchased land from the Lenape Indians, with the first deed signed in 1754.

The land purchased was a 10 mile long strip along both sides of the Delaware River (situate in modern day New York and Pennsylvania). Procedures for filing land claims were very different in the 18th Century. Also at that time, the States of Pennsylvania and New York were engaged in a boundary dispute , disputes of other colonies really didn’t matter much to those early Connecticut farmers, so they claimed the land for Connecticut! They called their community “Cushetunk”. To those white settlers, it sounded like what the Lenapes were calling the place. KASH-ET-Unk or “a place of red stone hills”.

By 1760, there were thirty cabins, a gristmill and a sawmill. Each spring saw the arrival of more people willing to hack a new life out of the frontier. These people faced hardships they probably never conceived of in Connecticut. Indian attacks, the remote wilderness, rough winters and the possibly that farming this land would not sustain them. They came into the area during the French and Indian Wars (1755-1763). In 1761, a stockade was erected around three homes to serve as protection for the entire settlement against attack. In 1763, the settlement was attacked by a Lenape war party. The lower part of the settlement was destroyed with no known survivors. By the time the war party moved up the settlement, people had gathered into the Fort for protection. The attackers were held off with two casualties among the settlers.

It is this Fort, which is represented today at Fort Delaware even though it was known as “the lower fort” during the 18th Century. Another Fort was situated in the upper part of the settlement. The Fort was never used as a Military post, only for civilian protection. In 1764, a rafting business was introduced into the community and became very successful. It brought cash into the community on a steady basis and Cushetunk experienced a lot of development. In the years between the French and Indian Wars and the American Revolution, the fort was abandoned as the threat of Indian attack decreased and people began building what they called “fair houses”. The period of the American Revolution (1775-1783) was a turbulent time for the people of Cushetunk. Generally, the inhabitants were “Tories” (or those who were loyal to the Crown). However, there were also a handful of patriots or Whigs as well.

As time went on neighbors became hated enemies. Many residents of Cushetunk took up arms for the British and Continental armies. Some fought with local militias. In some instances families were torn, brothers fighting on opposing armies. There were many occurences in the settlement of neighbors (who once depended on each other for survival) fighting, looting and even murdering each other. Some of the Patriots from the settlement fought not far from their homes at the Battle of Minisink on July 21, 1779. After the Revolution, the Patriots returned victorious to reclaim their land and many loyalists left to settle in Canada. Today the descendants of these early settlers can still be in the area.

(This information on the history of Fort Delaware and the settlement was taken from the County of Sullivan Department of Parks and Recreation and I give them full credit on the information. Please see the attached website for more information on the Fort).

 

Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden 421 East 61st Street  New York, NY 10065

Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden 421 East 61st Street New York, NY 10065

Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden

421 East 61st Street

New York, NY  10065

(212) 838-6878

Open: Tuesday-Sunday-11:00am-4:00pm

Fee: Adults $8.00/Seniors & Students $7.00  Donation

http://www.mvhm.org

Home

TripAdvisor Review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60763-d309468-Reviews-Mount_Vernon_Hotel_Museum_Garden-New_York_City_New_York.html?m=19905

I had come across the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum when I was walking East 61st Street and went to take the tour of the building ($8.00). It is a one hour (or more as I there for almost two hours but I was by myself) tour of both floors. The upstairs is the sleeping rooms, the ladies parlors where female guests would enjoy tea, games, music and reading. The main landing was for dancing and for gatherings.

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The Ladies Palour at the Mount Vernon Museum

The main floor was the Men’s parlors where there is a bar and two rooms for male activities such as cards, gambling and reading. The main entrance was used as the dining room for dinner (our lunch), which was the biggest meal of the day served around 2:00pm.

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Dinner time at the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum

The tour guide went over what would have been served, menu’s and meal times. Dinner would have been served at 2:00pm, tea time would have been around 4:00pm-6:00pm and Supper around 8:00pm. The tour of the kitchen show preparation of foods, recipe books and all kitchen equipment including the stoves and baking materials.

If you like the history of “Old New York” and like old homes, hotels and buildings, this is a very interesting tour that deals with the City’s growing middle-class and the new ‘leisure time’ that was coming with the changes in the work week. There are many pieces of period furniture all over the building that show the growth of affluence of the time.

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The Mount Vernon Hotel Museum in the Summer months

Don’t miss the formal walled in garden in the back. It is a place of relaxation from the rest of the city. There are stone walk ways and landscaped gardens as well as an herb garden. The building is owned and maintained by the Colonial Dames of America.

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The walled gardens

I revisited the museum for the holidays and the hotel was decked out in garland and holy based on the decor traditional for the Revolutionary War era Christmas. The archways and tables were lined with greenery and the tables were loaded with oranges plunged with cloves to give the homes at that time a rich citrus smell.

The downstairs dining table was set for a Christmas meal of wild turkey, mock turtle soup, and apple and pumpkin pies. This would have been served in the afternoon as the main meal while it was still light out.

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Holiday goodies at the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum getting ready for the holidays

There had been a light snow while we were touring the hotel so when we visited the gardens, it really did have that Christmas feel to it with that light snow all over the pine and the bushes.

During the time of the Revolutionary War and afterwards, homes were not as elaborately decorated as they would have been during Victorian times after the Civil War. Homes were lined with greenery that would have given the home the fragrant smell of pine and strings of cranberries and popcorn would have been used to decorate mantles.

The hotel was getting ready for one of its many special events during the holidays so there was a lot of commotion going on downstairs.

It is a very festive looking place for the holidays so try to tour it when it is open in the month of December.

 

What is the Museum:

Constructed in 1799 as a carriage house and converted into a ‘day hotel’ in 1826, the Museum transports visitors back to Mount Vernon Hotel, a 19th Century country resort for New Yorkers escaping the crowded city below 14th Street.

Recognizing the building as one of the few remaining 18th century sites and the only surviving day hotel in New York City Historic Landmark in 1967, added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and accredited by the American Association of Museums in 1983.

History of the House:

The Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden presents the period of the Mount Vernon Hotel which operated from 1826 until 1833.

Constructed in 1799 as a carriage house for a 23 acre estate and converted into the Mount Vernon in 1826, this stone building sits on land originally owned by Colonel William Stephens Smith and his wife, Abigail Adams Smith, the daughter of John Adams.

This fashionable country resort was popular among New Yorkers who wished to escape the hustle among the bustle of the city, which at that time extended only as far north 14th Street. The Hotel advertised “free from the noise and dust of the public roads and fitted up and intended for only the most gent respectable” clientele. In those days, one could take the stagecoach or steamboat up to 61st Street spend the day at the hotel sipping lemonade in the ladies parlor or playing cards in the gentlemen’s.

In 1833, the house became the home for three generations of a New York City family. In 1905, as the area became more industrialized, the building was purchased by Standard Gas Light Company (today’s Con-Edison). The Colonial Dames of America, a woman’s patriotic society purchased the building in 1924 and did an extensive restoration to the structure, the Colonial Dames opened the site to the public in 1939. The building endures as a rare reminder of an important era in New York City’s history.

What the organization does:

*Welcome 5000 school children annually in grades-pre-K through high school for field trips.

*Summer History Weeks for children ages 6-12

*A Summer High School Internship for 15 students to support college readiness skills and career exploration.

*Two summer Hearst Fellowships for undergraduates or graduate students.

*40+public programs each year, including:

-monthly free Storytime

-monthly Lunchtimes lectures

-holiday programs, garden concerts, hands on craft and cooking workshops.

*Temporary exhibitions on facets of life in early 19th century NYC, some promoting local contemporary artists.

*Special programs for individuals with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.

*Outreach programs to schools, senior centers and homeless shelters.

*Themed group tours focused on 19th century food, decorative arts or literature.

*Three options for team building events.

*Two free admission days: Smithsonian Museum Day and Open House New York.

Programs are made possible in part by the support of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and Council Member Ben Kallos, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, the Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Rosenthal Foundation and the Michael Tuch Foundation.

(Mount Vernon Hotel Pamphlet)

The Colonial Dames of America:

With these words, spoken in April 1890, Maria Denning “May” Van Rensselaer imitated what was to become the oldest colonial lineage society for women in the United States. The Colonial Dames of America. Its mission is to preserve historic sites and objects, award scholarships, educate the public about American history, inspire patriotism and promote fellowship among its members.

(The Colonial Dames of America information).

 

Locust Grove Estate                                    2683 South Road (Route 9)    Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

Locust Grove Estate 2683 South Road (Route 9) Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

Locust Grove: A National Historic Landmark

2683 South Road (Route 9)

Poughkeepsie, NY  12601

(845) 454-4500

http://www.lgny.org

https://www.lgny.org/

Open: Seasonal-See Below

Visitor Information: The gardens and grounds are open year round from 8:00am to dusk, weather permitting.

House Tours: Offered May through November, daily from 10:00am-5:00pm and weekends in April & December. Groups tours by appointment.

Visitor Center: Open January through March, weekdays from 10:00am-5:00pm. April through December daily from 10:00am-5:00pm.

Fee: Adults $12.00/Children (6-18) $6.00

TripAdvisor Review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g48443-d263920-Reviews-Locust_Grove_Estate-Poughkeepsie_New_York.html?m=19905

 

Overlooking the Hudson River, the 180 acre Locust Grove Estate includes an Italianate villa designed in 1851 by architect Alexander Jackson Davis for artist and inventor Samuel F. B. Morse. The estate, with miles of carriage roads, landscaped grounds, historic gardens and Hudson River views, was preserved as a museum and nature preserve by the Young family, whose collection of art and antiques is exhibited in the mansion’s 25 rooms.

I have visited the house twice for Christmas with the mansions elaborate but tasteful displays and once in the last fall when the foliage was in full peak. The house is an interesting example of turn of the century architecture and innovation of both the Morse and Young family’s love of Locust Grove. Each added their own touch to the house.

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Locust Grove in the Fall/Winter months

During the Christmas holiday season, the house is beautifully decorated both inside and out for the holidays, with a formal tree in the back Living room, smaller trees and garland around the house on the first floor and smaller trees with presents in the bedrooms and in the Billiards room.

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The Living Room at Locust Grove for the holidays

The Dining Room was set for an formal Christmas lunch with the family’s best china, crystal and silver and had displays of fruits and desserts that would have been served during the holidays. The Morse family spent their holidays in New York City so it would have been the Young’s who spent their holidays here.

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The Dining Room set for Christmas lunch

The house had been added onto twice from the small cottage that had been built by the second owners, the Montgomery family. The back tower and wings were built by the Morse family and the formal dining room by the Young’s for their growing family.

Our tour guide, Ethel, did a nice job interpreting how each family would have used the house and for what occasions. The Young’s lived here full time until the last owner, Annette, died in 1975 and the Morse family used it as a summer retreat until Samuel Morse died in 1872.

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The view from the back of Locust Grove to the Hudson River

The house is tastefully furnished both in turn of the last century decor and some more modern pieces. The grounds in the spring and summer months are in full bloom and in the fall awash with colors from the trees.

Also, don’t miss visiting the small museum of Samuel Morris’s paintings and his development of the telegraph system, where the patents is where most of the family fortune came from. Mr. Morse was an artist, educator and inventor and his life’s work is displayed in the galleries.

The History of Locust Grove:

Locust Grove has an interesting history. The estate was first owned by Henry Livingston Jr. when he purchased the property from his father in 1771. The estate was such named because of the black locust trees that grew on the property. After his death, the estate was sold to John and Isabella Montgomery who built the original cottage on the estate. Mr. Livingston’s home had been torn down by this point.

The main house at Locust Grove is a villa in the Italianate style designed in 1850. Morse had recalled the elegant villas that he had visited years earlier in the Italian countryside and he sketched towers, windows and floor plans. Construction on the villa, sited on a dramatic bluff overlooking the Hudson River began in 1851 and was completed the following year.

He continued to expand the cottage and the gardens during his time and the family continued to use the house as a summer retreat and living in the winters in their brownstone in Gramercy Park. After Mr. Morse’s death, the family used the house occasionally and then sold it to one of their renters, the Young family.

William and Martha Young added modern amenities to the house like central heat and running water and updated the bathrooms. They added the new dining room and guest bedrooms in the new North Wing of the house. They also brought with the many family heirlooms and their decorative art collection which is still on display in the house.

After their deaths, the Young’s children, Annette and Ennis worked to preserved and restore their family’s homes in here, in New Haven, New York City and Ulster County. After the death of her brother in 1953, Annette Young continued to live at Locust Grove and began donating to museums the art, land and historic houses she inherited so that they would be protected. When she died in 1975, she established a not-for-profit foundation to ensure that Locust Grove with its collections and archives would be protected. The house is now available for touring and for weddings.

(Locust Grove History and Wiki: I give both organizations full credit for this information)

 

Location: Locust Grove is located on Route 9 in Poughkeepsie, NY, two miles south of the Mid-Hudson Bridge or 11 miles north of Interstate 84.

Disclaimer: this information is taken from the Locust Grove Historic pamphlet. The site is very interesting and should be added to your list of ‘must sees’ in the area. Please call the site for more information.