Sunday, September 6, 2009

Philipsburg Manor, Day Trip fom NYC to Historical Hudson Valley Sites Part II

We started our great daytrip from Manhattan on Metro North Railroad to Tarrytown Station where we took a 6-minute taxi ride to the Philipsburg Manor Visitor's Center (directions). Map is below.
 [In Part l, we toured the nearby Rockefeller Estate at Kykuit (HHV Sites Part I, previous post). -- See the next post, Van Cortlandt Manor, for the 3rd site.]
Caveat: You will not get your 10,000 steps/5miles this day unless you walk from the station or get in some good walking at your home-end to clock the miles on the old pedometer! Your on your honor here for walking to build bone density and weight control.

 Here we experience the life at Philipsburg Manor of a pre-Revolutionary Loyalist family.

Cross the bridge from Philipsburg Manor Visitor's Center to a colonial-era milling and trading complex owned by Anglo-Dutch merchants, rented in small plots to tenant farmers and run by slaves. The grist mill is at the left, main house, center, and barn, right.

This working, waterpowered gristmill (animation) still grinds out the cornmeal and whole wheat flour that you can buy in little burlap sacks.

A period-costumed interpreter explains the mechanics of the grindstones.

The gristmill, with it's several grind stones, was the responsibility of Caesar, one of the slaves listed as property of Adolf Philipse.

The manor house was built in 1740 and was used by Adolf Philipse for occasional visits up from his home in NYC to oversee the accounts. The Philipse family were Tories, or Loyalists against the American Revolution. After American Independence, the Philipses were forced to leave the property and return to England.

The barn, typical of a new-world Dutch construction, was actually moved down from another site. It was used for many farming needs, but least of all for housing animals which were kept outside most of the year.

The stalls below the hayloft were used for agricultural chores and storing farm implements.

The two barred stalls were the only ones fitted out for animals. The rest were occupied by barrels, yokes, wheel barrows ...

There is an art to pitching hay...

The vegetable crops, like these pea pods, were hung to dry from the rafters.

Flax was pulled by the roots from the ground and stored in bundles above the barn ceiling to dry. Then it was rippled and retted and hung from the rafters to be combed.

A costumed interpreter demonstrates the process of pulling, carding and spinning wool.

A second, smaller barn housed the sheep. There were 27 lambs born this season, 13 of which were sired by one heck of a ram.

The celebrated ram leads his family out for a breath of air.

Moo. That's goodbye in dairy country. Next week, we're traveling up the Hudson to visit Van Cortlandt Manor and experience the life of a patriot family in early America.