NJ Living History Farms: Milk, Churn, Pick, Plant and Learn!
If your child thinks corn originates at Stop n’ Shop, eggs derive from cartons, and doesn’t know if bacon, ham, or both can come from the same pig, it’s time to visit a Living History Farm! These farms offer a glimpse into life on a farm in simpler times, and give kids the chance to try their hand at everything from bottle-feeding lambs and gathering honey, to collecting sap and harvesting ice.
Although the majority of events and activities take place Spring through Fall, some farms stay open year-round, and since the chores change with the seasons, there’s reason to return again and again. So gather up the family (but leave Fido at home–dogs aren’t allowed) and head to the countryside for some farm fun.
Howell Living History Farm (Lambertville)
Farming began on this site in the 1730s, and today offers visitors a huge array of opportunities to experience over 250 years of New Jersey farm life. Pitch in with daily chores including feeding and watering animals, mixing animal feeds, and collecting eggs. Participate in a walk-in Children's Craft program most Saturdays. Coming up in June, Hog-slopping, Haying, Dairying and Old-time baseball! Also check out Howell's summer camp opportunities.
Saturday Hours: 10am - 4pm, programs from 11am - 3pm (A calendar of Saturday events is available on the website.) Sunday Hours: Noon - 4pm, April through November for self-guided tours only. Weekday Hours: 10am - 4pm February through November; Tuesday - Friday (Closed Mondays) Closed on Mercer County holidays. FREE admission and parking. Small fee for some craft programs. Call 609-737-3299 for more information.
Fosterfields Living Historical Farm (Morristown)
This 200-acre National Register Site offers a full immersion into turn-of-the-century, 1920's farming methods and life. Not a replica, Fosterfields is a working farm, using the tools, techniques, and materials of a turn-of-the-century farm. Staff dress in period attire, acting out the lives and roles of Foster family members, domestics, and farm laborers, performing a daily regimen of chores (such as churning butter, cracking corn and feeding chickens); and raising livestock and crops by historical methods. The farm also contains two dwellings open for tours: an elegant Gothic Revival mansion and a farmhouse. Seasonal events showcase the draft horses, carriage driving, planting and harvesting.
Check out the new exhibits, "Letters to Emma" showcasing the letters written to Emma Thompson Foster from 1860 to 1880 and "The Transportation Exhibit" where you can see Caroline Foster's Rockaway carriage and her 1922 Model T.
Historic Cold Spring Village (Cape May)
More than just a farm, Historic Cold Spring Village is a full-blown, Early American open-air living history museum with twenty-six restored antique buildings housing historically-clothed interpreters ready to educate young ‘uns about the lifestyles, issues, trades and crafts of yesteryear. The Village brings to life the day-to-day activities of villagers living in South Jersey during the “age of homespun.” (1790-1840).
An activity area allows kids to try on costumes, participate in hands-on crafts and play games. Or if they’re getting antsy, they can run through the 22 acres of shaded lanes. Bring your wallet for this one–the kids’ll want sweets, treats and wooden toys from the Country Store; and you’ll be yearning for the artisan-made items at the Village Country Store including bowls, mugs and containers; and ironware like horseshoes, hooks and broom-holders.
Open 10am-4:30pm weekends beginning Memorial Day Weekend through late June, then Tuesday through Sunday until Labor Day weekend and weekends until mid-September. Admission $8/Adults, $6/Kids.
This weekend, May 28-29, is Cold Spring's "Village Sampler Weekend" with FREE admission! Call 609-898-2300 for more information.
Historic Longstreet Farm (Holmdel)
This farm re-creates the sights, sounds, and smells of rural Monmouth County in the 1890s, including the breeds of animals and crops raised. Like other living history farms, interpreters in period dress show both daily and seasonal agricultural and domestic activities, including sheep shearing, spring planting, and ice cutting. There’s also a Harvest Home Festival and a Victorian Christmas complete with sleigh rides.
Loads of FREE weekend activities allow visitors to pitch in: milking a cow, playing 19th century games, grinding corn for animal feed, and wood stove cooking.
Catch the "Decoration Day" celebration this Memorial Day from noon to 3pm, in honor of the Civil War tradition of decorating the graves of fallen soldiers.
Open daily year-round from 10am-4pm. From Memorial Day through Labor Day open 9am-5pm. Weekends and holidays, noon-3:30pm. FREE admission and parking. Call 732-946-3758 for more information.
For full coverage of apple picking, pumpkin picking, strawberry picking and farm fun info in the tri state area, check out our Pick Your Own Guide.