Take advantage of the numerous and varied historic events taking place throughout northern New England this summer. Through July 31: Art of Homesteading Exhibit
in Tamworth, New Hampshire. Learn how early homesteaders lived and worked. www.remickmuseum.orgThrough Sept. 20: The Life and Times of Congressman Robert Smalls Exhibit
at the Museum of African American History in Boston. Find out how three enslaved men and their families escaped on a Confederate ship during the Civil War. www.maah.orgThrough Oct. 30: "True and Honest Before the World" Exhibition
at Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, Mass. Part of their 50th anniversary celebration, this event features thirty celebrity curators. www.hancockshakervillage.orgJuly 17: Cherryfield Historic House Tour
in Cherryfield, Maine; Visit private homes, churches, and other historic buildings at this Cherryfield-Narraguagus Historical Society event. www.cherryfieldhistorical.com.July 24-25: Soldiers Atop the Mount.
This living-history weekend at Mount Independence State Historic Site includes demonstrations of military tactics, camp life, colonial crafts and cooking, and much more! www.historicvermont.org/eventsJuly 25: Shipbuilding Odyssey at a Brick Store Museum
in Kennebunk, Maine. Learn about Kennebunks' interesting shipbuilding past. www.brickstoremuseum.orgJuly 29: By the Light of the Silvery Moon.
Learn about the magic of moonlight in Vermont at Hubbardton Battlefield State Historic Site. www.historicvermont.org/eventsJuly 30-August 1: Rockingham Old Home Days.Event features an annual pig roast, sidewalk sale, face painting, antique truck show, Roaming Railroad, and food court.
www.villagesquarebooks.com/rockingham-old-home-daysJuly 31-Sept. 30: George Washington Carver Exhibit
at the Museum of Science in Boston. www.mos.org/exhibits_shows/current_exhibits&d=4421August 1: Hike into History.
Walk in the footsteps of soldiers from the Revolutionary War at Mount Independence State Historic Site; hike guided by Steven Zeoli, Mount Independence Coalition president. www.historicvermont.org/eventsAugust 7: Plymouth Old Home Day. Come celebrate the grand opening of the new President Calvin Coolidge Museum & Education Center, an event that will be attended by Governor Jim Douglas and other dignitaries. Other Old Home Day activities include wagon rides, sheep shearing, old time fiddling, traditional Vermont craft demonstrations, children's activities, and chicken barbecue. l0:00 a.m - 4:00 p.m.
www.Coolidge@HistoricVermont.orgAugust 8: Grace Coolidge Musicale #1
; "Tunes of the 1920s and 1930s" performed by Pianist Abigail Charbeneau and soprano Jane Berlin Pauley at President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site. www.historicvermont.org/eventsAugust 12: Star Light, Star Bright Star Night;
View the constellations, planets, meteor showers, and satellites with experienced stargazers at Hubbardton State Historic Site. www.historicvermont.org/eventsAugust 12-15: Wilmington Old Home Week. Every 10 years, Wilmington hosts a town reunion, celebrating our citizens - past, present and future - and honoring our history. Events include a parade, town banquet, ice-cream social, class and family reunions, and tours of local points of interest. Of particular interest, this year's Old Home Week will feature an oral-history component, as our students will help record our memories and stories.
www.oldhomeweek2010.comAugust 14: Craftsbury Old Home Day. Join us the Common at 9:30 AM for our annual Pet Show, followed by a line-up of fun, family-friendly activities, including kids' games, a dunking booth, pie eating contest, and parade. View exhibits on Craftsbury history at the Craftsbury Historical Society, and enjoy lunch served by The Craftsbury Fire Department. The annual performance of the Craftsbury Summer Shakespeare Camp follows the parade.
www.townofcraftsbury.comAugust 14–15: Weekend Anniversary Celebration of the Battle of Bennington
; This Living History Encampment at the Bennington Battle Monument features drill presentations, musket and artillery demonstrations, educational exhibits, and activities for children. www.historicvermont.org/events
In most families, the dining room table is where we connect - sharing stories, laughter, and food. Well-loved recipes connect us to the generations of our family that preceded us. Even today, certain family members are known and remembered for special dishes that they contribute to the family feast - Aunt Edna's maple walnut pie, Grandma Hazel's chicken dumplings, or Uncle Joe's barbecue ribs.
A wonderful, unique way to preserve a special piece of your family history is to create a family recipe book of cherished dishes, old and new. And I can't think of a better time to begin a project like this than during the "family gathering" months of summer.
Before your next family get-together, send out word for everyone to come with a favorite recipe (or two or three) in hand. Although you could also give family members the option of emailing the recipes to you, chances are that your elderly loved ones will prefer the handwritten approach.
And there's something special about a handwritten recipe, even one pulled from a well-loved recipe box. Just photocopy and return to owner. Your family recipe book is practically complete! A simple three-ring binder or colorful file folder is a no-fuss, affordable option. If you'd like to dress it up a bit, consider adding photos and contacting a local printer to discuss more sophisticated printing and binding options.
The possibilities really are endless, and so is the fun! What are you waiting for? It's time to get cooking!
So, the family picnic at the lake or annual 4th of July cookout at Uncle Marvin's is over … and we hunker down through another 12 months of silence in our extended families, as hectic schedules and incompatible time zones make correspondence virtually impossible.
But there's hope. Many families have turned to the ease of electronic newsletter programs to keep the conversation rolling throughout the year. The e-newsletter programs that are available today are extremely affordable (most are FREE!), easy to use, and customizable.
Here's what you need to do to get started:1. Announce your intentions.
Tell your family members about your plan. You may be surprised who might step up to the plate to help with your newsletter endeavor. "Many hands make light work," as they say.2. Begin collecting email addresses.
At your next family gathering, pass around a sheet of paper asking for everyone's current contact information (might as well update your address book, while you're at it). Then start an email chain to collect email addresses from those family members with whom you may not be in direct contact.3. Come up with a plan.
Who will receive your newsletter and how often do you plan on sending it? Monthly? Quarterly? Biannually? Then decide what categories of news you'd like to include. Special announcements (births, marriages, graduations)? Family history tidbits? Family recipes? 4. Select an e-newsletter service.
There are a number of great programs available. A couple to consider: www.mailchimp.com
.5. Follow the directions, and you're off and running!
M newsletter program will walk you through a simple step-by-step process to getting started. And once you've selected your design and loaded your contacts, the next issues will be a snap!
July is the most popular month of the year for families to gather and share their unique family history, whether it's a backyard barbecue or a lakeside party.
It's true that some families are more committed to these annual celebrations than others. And in every family, there is always a ringleader or two who leads the charge in making sure that the festivities go on year after year.
Months ahead of time, these dedicated few will begin sending out friendly reminders to make sure that the big event makes its way onto everyone's calendars. But no matter how hard they might try, they will never succeed in convincing every aunt, uncle, or cousin that this annual event is worth the hassle to attend.
I'll admit that I've missed my fair share of reunions over the years.
But here's the thing - our presence at these family affairs may mean more to our elderly relatives than we realize. They may look forward to this event all year long, cherishing the opportunity to gather with cousins, siblings, nieces, and nephews to share stories and rehash old tales of well-loved people and places.
Just looking around and seeing the younger generations of their family continuing the tradition and making time for each other is a gift beyond measure. It reassures them that the family they've helped knit together will stay together as the years roll on.
And the reunion experience is just as powerful for the newest members of our extended clans - grandchildren and great-grandchildren - though for markedly different reasons. Their grandparents and great-grandparents grew up in a "familial cocoon," of sorts, made up of a vast network of family members who also lived and worked in their community.
But the youngest generation of our families is living in a world where the day-to-day "family experience" is limited to mothers, fathers, siblings, and grandparents, at best. So it's a powerful experience for these young people to feel the power of family history - to listen to the stories of great aunts and uncles and understand their place in the magnificent web of their family heritage.
So if you're thinking of skipping out on the reunion festivities this year, you may want to reconsider. There is more to gain - for both you and your loved ones - than you may have thought.
Before moving to Vermont, I had never heard the term, "Old Home Day." But it's one of the nicest traditions I've discovered in the Green Mountain State. The celebration of a town's history and heritage, Old Home Day brings together generations of residents - near and far - to play games, demonstrate traditional crafts, share meals, play music, and partake in a variety of fun and unusual contests.
As one town's website explains, it's a town reunion.
But for those of us who didn't grow up in a particular Vermont village, the good news is that we're still invited to partake in the festivities. These celebrations are a wonderful way to appreciate a place in a really unique, meaningful way. Imagine how well you'd get to know someone by attending their family reunion. What better way to discover the people and places of some of Vermont's most beautiful little towns than by attending their Old Home Day celebration?
Some towns host Old Home Days events every ten years, while others put them on every year. Here are a few upcoming celebrations in the area:July 30-August 1: Rockingham Old Home Days.
Event features an annual pig roast, sidewalk sale, face painting, antique truck show, Roaming Railroad, and food court.
www.villagesquarebooks.com/rockingham-old-home-daysAugust 7: Plymouth Old Home Day
Come celebrate the grand opening of the new President Calvin Coolidge Museum & Education Center, an event that will be attended by Governor Jim Douglas and other dignitaries. Other Old Home Day activities include wagon rides, sheep shearing, old time fiddling, traditional Vermont craft demonstrations, children's activities, and chicken barbecue. l0:00 a.m - 4:00 p.m. www.Coolidge@HistoricVermont.org.August 12-15: Wilmington Old Home Week
Every 10 years, Wilmington hosts a town reunion, celebrating our citizens - past, present and future - and honoring our history. Events include a parade, town banquet, ice-cream social, class and family reunions, and tours of local points of interest. Of particular interest, this year's Old Home Week will feature an oral-history component, as our students will help record our memories and stories. www.oldhomeweek2010.comAugust 14: Craftsbury Old Home Day
Join us the Common at 9:30 AM for our annual Pet Show, followed by a line-up of fun, family-friendly activities, including kids' games, a dunking booth, pie eating contest, and parade. View exhibits on Craftsbury history at the Craftsbury Historical Society, and enjoy lunch served by The Craftsbury Fire Department. The annual performance of the Craftsbury Summer Shakespeare Camp follows the parade. www.townofcraftsbury.com.