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

26 Sites Open Free to the Public

Don’t miss Somerset County’s 9th Annual Weekend Journey through the Past, an opportunity to step into and experience the past. Twenty-six historic sites countywide will be open free to the public of all ages on Saturday, Oct. 11, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 12, from noon to 4 p.m.

The Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission welcomes three new participating historic sites this year – Duke Farms’ Coach Barn in Hillsborough, Somerville Fire Museum and Nevius Street Bridge in Raritan and Hillsborough – and welcomes back the Boudinot-Southard-Ross property in Bernards, which was on hiatus for several years.

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; traditional blacksmithing; 19th-century firefighting wagons and apparatus; antiques sales; actors portraying historical figures; craftspeople demonstrating period decorative crafts; live staged theatre productions; period music performances; genealogical resources; silent movie by the Garden State Organ Society at the historic Brook Theater; daily chores of 18th-century life; military history; demonstrations; WWII home front; Central Jersey transportation; New Jersey’s 350 years of history, highlighting the Revolutionary War; local history videos, including one about the Millstone Valley Scenic Byway; demonstration and talk about Native American skills; interesting architecture; and much more.

“Weekend Journey has become a traditional fall event here in Somerset County ,” said Freeholder Patricia Walsh, liaison to the county Cultural & Heritage Commission, which initiated the event in 2006. “The Board of Freeholders is proud to cosponsor this annual program and we thank the many historic societies and municipal historic commissions for interpreting their historic sites, as well as planning and offering many interesting activities at each location.”

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 26 mysteries.

“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 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.

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 challenged 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. 11, and/or Sunday, Oct. 12, searching the premises to locate the mystery item (look for the Sherlock Holmes silhouette sticker). 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 who prefer to go paperless, you 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 upon arrival. Enjoy your quest!

This annual collaborative heritage tourism program is an initiative of the Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission in partnership with 26 historical societies or municipal historic commissions/ 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 comprehensive 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 the weekend of the event. See below for a list of this year’s participating historic sites:

2014 Participating Historic Sites / Locations
For directions, visit www.SCHistoryWeekend.com

N = Northern Somerset County

C = Central Somerset County

S = Southern Somerset County

The Brook Theatre/Brook Arts Center, Bound Brook (C)
Boudinot Southard Ross House, Basking Ridge (N)

3. Codington Farmstead, Warren (N)

4. Duke Farms’ Coach Barn, Hillsborough (S)

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

6. Griggstown School House, Franklin (S)

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

8. Kirch Ford Terrell House, Warren (N)

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

10. Mount Bethel Meeting House, Warren (N)

11. Nevius Street Bridge, Raritan/Hillsborough (C-S)

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

13. Old Presbyterian Graveyard, Bound Brook (C)

14. The Presbyterian Church at Bound Brook (C)

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

16. Somerville Fire Museum, Somerville (C )

17. South Branch School House, Branchburg(C)

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

19. Andrew Ten Eyck House, Branchburg (C)

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

21. Jacobus Vanderveer House, Bedminster (N)

22. Van Horne House, Bridgewater (C)

23. Van Veghten House, Bridgewater (C)

24. Wallace House, Somerville (C)

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

26. Wyckoff-Garretson House, Franklin (S)