Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Blast from the past: Old Bethpage Village Restoration

Old Bethpage Village Restoration, opened in 1970, recreates a typical mid 19th century Long Island farming village, with preserved and reconstructed buildings from all over Long Island. It's like a very tiny Colonial Williamsburg - you can go inside the buildings, which are set up with furniture and knick knacks and paintings from that time period, and staff dressed in costume will give you the history of the house, or demonstrate some skill or trade that villagers might have used.


Main road to the crossroads

I have always had fond memories of going here on field trips when I was a kid in school - I loved going to the general store for old fashioned candy and a cup of birch beer. I always felt like I was transported back in time. But the boyfriend had never been, so we went over the weekend - it was a blustery but sunny day as we walked around the town square watching 21st century kids playing with 19th century toys, visited the Powell farmhouse (and I cringed as he tried to feed one of the cows), looked at the goods (real 19th century paint powder!) and advertisements in Layton's store. One house was so tiny his head was nearly touching the ceiling and with Halloween so close, I was kind of hoping but kind of not hoping we'd see a ghost.


The boyfriend doesn't even look like he'll fit in this house!

Probably the coolest thing, though, was Noon's Inn, which was an East Meadow tavern that served mostly local farmers looking for a drink at the end of the day and 14 hours of manual labor. The original location of the Inn was two blocks away from where the boyfriend grew up and lives, and it was built circa 1830, though restored to what it would have looked like about 1850 - which was about the time my family was living in East Meadow (my great great grandmother Delia Dauch Berg was born in East Meadow in 1858), so her father and brothers might have actually stepped foot in that building!



Recreated bedroom

The general store - birch beer, anyone?

Noon's Inn, from East Meadow, is on the right.


Terrible photo, but this was a map from 1840 on the schoolhouse wall. On the bottom righthand corner, you can see Raynortown, the old name for Freeport, which is where I live...love it!

3 comments:

  1. This looks really cool! My family and I just visited a village similar to this. There is just nothing better for understanding the past then walking through it!

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