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Weekend Journey Through The Past Features Free Historic Sites Tours & Activities

Don’t miss Somerset County’s 8th Annual Weekend Journey through the Past, an opportunity to step into and experience the past.  Twenty-four historic sites countywide will be open free to the public of all ages on Saturday, Oct. 12, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 13, from noon to 4 p.m. 

“Weekend Journey has become a traditional fall event here in Somerset County,” said Freeholder Patricia Walsh, liaison to the county Cultural & Heritage Commission.  “The Board of Freeholders is proud to cosponsor this annual program and we thank our many historical societies for interpreting their historic sites, as well as planning and offering many exciting activities at each location.”

This annual autumn weekend features interpreted tours led by costumed docents; special collections and exhibitions; period military drills and encampments by living-history re-enactors; open-hearth cooking; colonial tavern life and games; traditional blacksmithing; 19th-century firefighting wagons and apparatus; antiques sales; craftspeople demonstrating period decorative crafts; live theatre and period music performances; genealogical resources; participatory colonial dance instruction; daily chores of 18th-century life; military history; demonstrations; local history videos; antique cameras and music-box collections; interesting architecture; and much more.

For those who enjoy a challenge, an educational and fun detective investigation activity for kids and the entire family will test your powers of deduction to solve 24 mysteries.  Last year’s initiative, What in the World is That …?  will be featured again to encourage a shared multi-generational outing for parents and grandparents alike, sharing stories and experiences about “the old days” with their children and grandchildren as they enjoy traveling from one historic site to the next. 

One unique item from the past will be featured, displayed and identified, along with its description, at each of the 24 participating historic sites during this year’s event. As a rookie detective enlisted to investigate, you are assigned to reveal the true identity and function of each mystery item.

In advance, download and print an “Official Investigative Task Booklet” from the event website at www.SCHistoryWeekend.com  Next to the name and town of each participating historic site you’ll find a small photo of a mystery item you are assigned to identify. After carefully examining the photo, write down in your booklet what you believe the item is.  Once you do that for all pictured items, take your task booklet, along with a pencil, and go to as many participating historic  sites as you can on Saturday, Oct. 12, and/or Sunday, Oct. 13, searching the premises to locate the mystery item.   Once you find it, read the posted information identifying and describing it to see if your powers of deduction were correct, and rate your final rank as a weekend detective.

For the tech-savvy and those who prefer to go paperless, you also can view each mystery item from your smart phone at www.SCHistoryWeekend.com prior to visiting each participating site, or scan the QR code at right.  Though you won’t have a booklet to record your guesses, you and your family or friends will have fun challenging each other to guess each item’s identity in advance before you walk through the door to discover the item’s true identity, or confirm that you guessed it correctly when you arrive. Enjoy your quest!  We are all looking forward to your visit.

This annual collaborative heritage tourism program is an initiative of the Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission in partnership with 24 historical societies or municipal historic commissions and committees, as well as participating fine and performing artists. For more information, contact Pat McGarry in the Cultural & Heritage Commission office at (908) 203-6020.

For more details about the Weekend Journey event, visit www.SCHistoryWeekend.com Free printed guides and maps with directions from site to site will be available at each participating site. See below for a list of this year’s participating historic sites:

2013 Participating Historic Sites / Locations
For directions, visit www.SCHistoryWeekend.com
N = Northern Somerset County

C = Central Somerset County

S = Southern Somerset County

  1. The Brook Theatre/Brook Arts Center, Bound Brook (C)

2.     Codington Farmstead, Warren (N)

3.     Elm Street Bridge, between Hillsborough & Branchburg (C)

4.     Frelinghuysen (Gen.John) House/Raritan Public Library, Raritan (C)

5.  Griggstown School House, Franklin (S)

6.     Kennedy-Martin-Stelle Farmstead, Basking Ridge (N)

7.     Kirch Ford Terrell House, Warren (N)

8.     Millstone 1860 Schoolhouse/Millstone Borough Hall, Millstone (S)

9.     Mount Bethel Meeting House, Warren (N)

10. Old Millstone Forge Blacksmith Shop & Museum, Millstone (S)

11. Old Presbyterian Graveyard, Bound Brook (C)

12. The Presbyterian Church at Bound Brook (C)

13. Relief Hose Company No.2 Firehouse, Raritan (C)

14. South Branch School House, Branchburg(C)

15. Abraham Staats House, South Bound  Brook (C)

16. Andrew Ten Eyck House, Branchburg (C)

17. United States Golf Association/ Frothingham Mansion, Far Hills (N)

18. Jacobus Vanderveer House, Bedminster (N)

19. Van Horne House, Bridgewater (C)

20. Van Veghten House, Bridgewater (C)

21. Vermeule Mansion, North Plainfield (N)

22. Wallace House, Somerville (C)

23. Washington Rock State Park, Green Brook (N)

24. Wyckoff-Garretson House, Franklin (S)