Monday, February 22, 2010

On This Day in 1732...

George Washington was born.

In celebration, the Bergen County Historical Society held a Country Ball Sunday in River Edge, NJ, complete with music, refreshments, and merriment. The suggested donation: $7 for adults, $5 for children, free for members (individual membership is $20 annually).

While it is important to look forward with a hopeful heart, it is also vital to embrace our history. "There is no death in remembrance," reflects Sarah Carrier Chapman in Kathleen Kent's The Heretic's Daughter.

Music was described as being used to lift melancholy. That is universally true then and now.

What is Anne Enslow (pictured with Ridley Enslow) playing? A limberjack.

Some young historians, with some very modern footwear, were on hand.

The assortment of historical-themed coloring books, $3.95 each, seems like a whimsical way to draw children into history.

A limberjack in the gift shop.

Refreshment time. Cherry pie seemed fitting for this event.

How about a mug of hot cider? Just ask the regal barman.

Decorations in the tavern seating area.

Look out the window and observe modern life. Reflect on what your life would have been like if you lived in Washington's time. Would you want to live in a different time and place than now?

Some very vegan footware: these wooden shoes were worn.

A rare white oak dugout canoe.

You can tour several buildings, but I felt truly transported in time when I stepped into this one: the back kitchen.

Come inside.

Meet the charming cooks.

Think you have a hard time cooking? Try cooking out of this dutch oven.

How does tea and biscuits sound?

The smell of the onion bread was making my mouth water. An apple pie was ready for the oven, and soon would nourish some lucky souls.

Learn more about upcoming events, including a History Cafe on the Lenape New Year and Pinkster Fest, a colonial celebration of spring. Seek out your local historical groups.

Visit to learn more about George Washington. Watch videos on the site if you don't have cable.


ConsciouslyFrugal said...

There's a cooking show on PBS where this (British? Australian? Can't quite figure it out) guy cooks colonial to early post-revolution recipes using the tools of the time. It's absolutely fascinating. Naturally, I can't remember the name of the show!

Thanks for the visual tour. I absolutely love this stuff! Granted, I romanticize a "simpler" life like a moron, but I do manage to appreciate my running water and flush toilet. :)

Catherine @ The Vegan Good Life said...

Thanks for the comment! I love this stuff too. I do wish I could turn the clock on some things, like people talking non-stop on cell phones and celebrity reality shows.

There was a CBS Sunday Morning story on how we romanticize certain periods (that piece was about the 1950s). But someone pointed out if you were in a certain minority group (i.e., gays) society is more favorable now. I think we can view any period with pro’s and con’s. All human experiences are flawed.

I'll have to look out for that cooking show. PBS did a fascinating show called Frontier House which took three families in 2002 and had them experience life in Montana in 1883. That's my kind of reality show. It’s available through Netflix, and some libraries own copies too.

Chessbuff said...

Right in my town, and I didn't even know about it. Shame on this history buff. Was this held at the Von Steuben house? I take my Fidelma out there for a walk sometimes, peer through the windows and maybe see a colonial era ghost. It pleases me to know that my house stands on a continental army campground although that seems sacriligious. A stone's throw away is the hill on which, local history claims, Washington watched from atop his horse the continental army cross " New Bridge. "

Catherine @ The Vegan Good Life said...

It was held there. They have many events coming up (this was only my second, the first was the Pinkster Fest: pre-blogging days). It’s nice that this local history is preserved in the middle of all of the homogenized malls/restaurants of Bergen County. People take recreational shopping to an Olympic sport level.

I so love the aesthetics of these colonial homes. What a lovely place to walk the dog.

D. Powell said...

Thank you for taking and posting the great photos of the event. We had a very nice turnout.
My husband and I (both vegetarians since before meeting in 1975) have been involved at the site since coming to live (16 yrs) in the Steuben House in 1981 as part of the position there.
Our great challenge now is to get a museum building for the BCHS collections (4,000+ objects) built on BCHS land at New Bridge.

Catherine @ The Vegan Good Life said...

You're very welcome. Thank you for allowing the public to experience such a wonderful event and for your efforts in preserving our history. I look forward to attending more, and will be mailing in my membership dues this week.

I wish you the best of luck with the museum efforts.

ConsciouslyFrugal said...

Oh, I looooooooved Frontier House! Why can't we have more reality shows like that?

What was most striking about the show was the follow-up afterwards. I remember one guy who lived in New York (it was one of their many era-specific reality shows) saying that he was surrounded by millions of people in NYC but felt far more alone than he did with just a handful of show participants. And remember the rich family from Malibu? The girls felt the house was too big and cold. Ohhhh, so telling.

Catherine @ The Vegan Good Life said...

Wasn't it Jackie Kennedy who came to New York City to be alone? I work in NYC, and confirm most on the street seem to be in their own universe.

I do remember the follow-up and how bored the children were when they were in that huge mansion back in California, and how dissatisfied many were with modern life. It seems so many of us are on a path toward simplicity.

The Farmer's Wife was also an interesting look at a family in Nebraska (also in some libraries or Netflix).

These shows offer so much more than the fare on tv now. Today it seems to be about ridiculing people and taking joy in people's shortcomings (which we all have). It's embarrassing for the people on the show and those watching. The Kardashians drew 5 million viewers recently. A sad state of affairs.