This past weekend, my family and I took a little day trip back in time. Not far from where I live in Rochester, NY, there is a jewel known as the Genesee Country Museum. Situated on 600 acres of beautiful farm land in Genesee County, NY, it’s a collection of the art and architecture of a long-ago era—beautiful old houses that have been moved and lovingly restored, right down to the last detail, complete with furniture and accessories accurate to the period in which the structure was built.
Think Williamsburg VA on a smaller scale. Or, as I like to think of it, Disney World for the history buff, LOL.
Since the gates first opened to the public in 1976, it has been my favorite place in the whole world. It’s like stepping into another time.
Once inside the gates you’re greeted by the great meadow, a curving slope complete with bandstand that serves as an amphitheater for events held at the museum throughout the year, from a Highlanders Bagpipe march, to a nineteenth century circus or Fourth of July celebration. This day it would serve as the battlegrounds of Gettysburg for a Civil War reenactment. (Never mind that little person scaling the barrier—he’s with me.)
But the first order of business was to visit the 19th century village—sixty-eight restored and fully furnished buildings (the oldest home was built in 1797). An old country store; a ladies dressmaking shop, doctor’s office, a law office, a pharmacist, bookseller, printer, a blacksmith, tinsmith, cooper, a gunsmith, wagon maker and opera house are all part of the village. For most of the businesses, you can walk right in and browse, others have a waist-high Plexiglas door to keep you from going inside.
My favorite, by far, has always been the Livingston-Bacchus house.
This beautiful Greek revival structure (and I regret that I didn’t take any pictures of the inside; I wasn’t thinking about a blog, just enjoying a day with my family and thinking how much my Victorian sisters would love this place!) always seems to set my imagination wild. The gardens as well make me think about the hero and heroine who might slip outside on a warm summer evening for a romantic embrace in the gazebo.
I know what my hero and heroine would be doing out here!
To read more about the Livingston Bacchus house,
Not far from this beautiful home is another favorite, the Hamilton House. (below)
This is one of the few homes where you can actually head upstairs and look around. Again, I wish I’d had my head on straight, LOL, I’d have taken more pictures. These homes are every bit as breathtaking on the inside as they are on the out. For more information on the Hamilton House, click here http://www.gcv.org/attractions/historicVillage/villageHomes/Hamilton.shtml
The Octagon house scared my kids, LOL. They thought it looked creepy. But I think it’s a stroke of genius in architecture and wouldn’t mind living in one myself. http://www.gcv.org/attractions/historicVillage/villageHomes/Octagon.shtml
After a folk music revival at St. Feehan’s Catholic Church we watched Confederate troops march into the village and returned to the grassy meadow for a picnic lunch and re-enactment of Pickett’s Charge in the round. By the end of the day, I think a true interest in history was sparked in both my young sons—the oldest was impressed with the soldiers and battle, the youngest with how people lived in “the olden days.” They both want to know when we can go back again.
All in all, despite weather that switched from skin-soaking rain, to heat and humidity that had sweat dripping down our backs, it was a great day for a trip back in time.
For more information on Genesee Country Museum, visit http://www.gcv.org/index.shtml