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DayTripper: Historical Village at Allaire
A realistic look into 19th Century living...The Historic Village at Allaire offers a realistic look into 19th Century living, and there is no better time to experience this nationally and state registered historic area than in December, when you and your family can get a first-hand look at a 19th Century Christmas.
Named for James Peter Allaire, owner of the property and a major industrialist in the 1800’s, the Historic Village has continued to be a testament to his strong Huguenot philosophy of free and equal education and his conviction that “life is a learning experience and each person has the right and ability to strive to be the best they can be through education.” Allaire had a reputation for honesty and integrity and was known for his acute attention to detail, and he demanded perfection from all who contributed to the success of his Allaire Works. He made a place for himself (at the age of 35) in the annals of marine history by producing more than 50% of all marine engines and operating the largest marine engine shop in the country by the year 1820. He also laid the foundation for the transportation network stretching from Charleston to Boston and held the U.S. government contract for mail service between New York and Monmouth County. There is much history to be learned on these premises – about this man and about how people from all walks of life lived during that era. A visit to the Historic Village is sure to be fun and educational for everyone.
Right now, during the holiday season, is the perfect time to start familiarizing yourself with the history and excitement of the Historic Village at Allaire. The celebration begins the weekend of December 6th and 7th with Christmas at Allaire, which celebrates the old world traditions in a big way. Back in the day, the Howell Iron Works, located on the Allaire property, employed people of diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and the celebration of the season at the Historic Village reflects the contributions made by the developing American culture of that time. You can wander through thestreets, which are decorated in all their holiday splendor, and absorb the community’s atmosphere as it was in the days of yore. Carolers stroll the streets throughout the weekend, setting the holiday tone and filling the air with the Christmas spirit, while special programs featuring period music are held at the Historic Christ Church. Don’t forget to take some time out to view and admire an extensive display called “Christmas Trees Through the Ages.”
Your day continues with more fun for the family, including Mummer plays, puppet shows, hearth cooking, cider pressing, storytelling, and children’s games. You can also watch demonstrations by the Village craftsmen,whose skills include blacksmithing, carpentry, and tinsmithery, to name a few. Ask at the gate about tickets to a very special treat – a ride in a horse-drawn carriage. That is sure to get everyone in the holiday spirit!
If you are looking for a more organized day to introduce your family to an old-fashioned holiday, mark December 13th on your calendar; this is when Christmas truly comes alive with the magical Holiday Candlelight Lantern Tours. The Village Museum is decorated with an authentic look and feel. Period-costumed interpreters will lead tour groups through the lantern-lit, holiday-ornamented streets and explain, in detail, the various holiday customs of that time.
As you approach and walk through the Village Bakery you will be greeted by the wonderful aromas of freshly baked gingerbread and hot mulled cider. Continue through the streets until you reach the Carpenters’ Shoppe, where you will see the carpenters using the expertise of their trade to create wooden toys just like the ones the children of the 1830’s used to play with; children today may find they can have just as much fun as those youngsters by getting back to basics and enjoying these same toys.
Next, you’ll take a glimpse into the 19th Century home of the Howell Works Company foreman. The design is simple, yet it is tastefully decorated for the holiday according to local customs of that era. From there you will move on to the Carriage House and Stage Depot where you will enjoy the unique experience of feeling as if you have stepped into a scene by Currier & Ives as you view the collection of 19th Century carriages and sleighs. This is truly awe inspiring and not to be missed. Just around the corner is the Gardener’s Cottage, replete with holiday decorations and crafts made from materials provided by Mother Nature. The final stop on this tour is the “Big House,” the actual home of James P. Allaire. Here you will get a taste of how the holiday season was celebrated by a family of means.
Of course, a trip to the Historic Village would not be complete without a visit to the General Store Museum Gift Shoppe, where you may choose to purchase a “genuine” article as a gift; perhaps one of those wooden toys will catch your eye or one of the delectable treats from the bakery will get your stomach growling or you might want to add a 19th-Century-type ornament to your tree or collection.
Although the holiday programs are limited to these specific times and dates, the Historic Village is open for your enjoyment at other times, and Allaire State Park has many other activities and facilities to experience throughout the year. The Historic Village at Allaire also has an outreach program geared toward students from kindergarten through eighth grade as well as a library. Allaire is also home to the Arthur Brisbane Continuing Research Center, dedicated to the Howell Works and the other former owner; the Center houses exhibits dedicated to the vision for historical education and preservation. Some of the other attractions and facilities of Allaire State Park include the Pine Creek Railroad and the Nature Interpretive Center, as well as trails, camping, fishing, and picnic areas, a playground, canoeing and kayaking, bird watching, and cross-country skiing. There is even a local militia unit that demonstrates formations and drills that were used in post-colonial New Jersey.
Check out the website for more details and information on all the opportunities available to you throughout the year, and explore this exciting and interesting historic area and park located in our own backyard!
Historic Village at Allaire
Farmingdale, NJ 07727
Admission and Schedules:
Christmas at Allaire
Saturday, December 6th and Sunday, December 7th, 12 pm – 3:30 pm
Adults – $6
Children 5 to14 – $4
Additional fees apply for Horse and Wagon Rides
Adults — $7.50
Children under 12 — $5
Holiday Lantern Tours
Saturday December 13th and Saturday December 20th, 5 to 8 pm
Admission: $15 per person
90 minute tours leave every 15 minutes
(advance purchase required)
North via the Garden State Parkway
Get off at Exit 98 and follow the signs for Route 195 West (toward Trenton)/Route 34 North. Merge onto Route 195 West and go about 2.4 miles to Exit 31B (Farmingdale – Allaire State Park), exiting onto Route 547 North. At the first traffic light (0.3 miles) turn right onto Route 524/Allaire Road and proceed straight for 0.7 miles to the entrance of Allaire State Park/Historic Village on your right.
North via the South State Parkway
Get off at Exit 98 and follow the signs for Route 138 and Route 195 West (toward Trenton). Merge onto Route 138 West; Route 138 will become Route 195 West. Take Route 195 West about 2.4 miles to Exit 31B (Farmingdale – Allaire State Park), exiting onto Route 547 North. Proceed as above.
Take Exit 7A and merge onto Route 195 East (toward Belmar/Shore Points). Go about 26.1 miles to Exit 31B (Farmingdale – Allaire State Park), exiting onto Route 547 North. Proceed as above.
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