A weekly column by Catherine Dugan. This week: Candelight Walk at Cold Spring Village
On an autumn night, when all of nature conspires to force you indoors, lingering outside feels decadent. Visiting a place at dusk that you normally see only in daylight adds to that forbidden feeling, like you’re staying out past curfew. And when that place is suggestive of other lives and other times, it’s even more delightful. The Candlelight Walk at Historic Cold Spring Village gives you that feeling.
This event is a fundraiser for the Village, but the $25 admission fee feels like a bargain. Touring this otherworldly place after hours is magical; you’ll feel like a guest in the early 1800s, the “age of homespun.” Luminaries lead you to the Welcome Center, where your visit begins. Start here with wine and cheese. Other houses in the village offer chili, chicken wings, pulled pork and beer. Desserts served in the Pavilion cap off the evening. Music contributes to the festive mood, but nothing interferes with the history lessons.
Historic Cold Spring Village is a recreated village with period buildings relocated to the site from other locations in Cape May County and the surrounding area. Costumed interpreters, including artisans like a blacksmith, basket weaver, printer and bookbinder, bring the town to life. Farm animals and gardens help to supply the households with the raw materials rural families needed. On this chilly evening, the lack of modern insulation is apparent, and the fireplace feels cozy. It’s a reminder of the deep freeze to come, the 40 cords of wood it would take to keep the chill of winter away, and the hard work involved in cutting it all by hand. No wonder families were large!
Maryellen Norton, a member of the Friends of Historic Cold Spring Village, participated in the Candlelight Walk along with friends Sue Graves and Marie Pagliuca. They munched on popcorn from the schoolhouse, feeling grateful that the teacher couldn’t catch them talking and hang them up by their braids. They were part of an enthusiastic crowd of supporters who enjoyed the evening, proving that this attraction, located three miles north of Cape May, is worth visiting again and again.
Historic Cold Spring Village is closed for the season, except for special events. For example, you can celebrate Wassail Day on December 4, when admission is free. There will be holiday sing alongs and a visit from Father Christmas. The Country Store, which features items like dunce caps and quill pens (perfect for playing school) is open weekends until December 19. Some Country Store items are also available online at www.hcsv.org.
Next week: Take a House Tour