HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES AT STATE PARKS INCLUDE VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS,
RE-ENACTMENT OF WASHINGTON CROSSING THE DELAWARE RIVER
(18/P101) TRENTON – Historic Christmases in New Jersey ranging from the American Revolution to the Victorian era and modern day are among the highlights of annual holiday activities planned this month at state parks.
Ringwood Manor at Ringwood State Park in Passaic County is hosting the 43rd Annual Victorian Christmas, showcasing holiday décor from the 19th century, while Washington Crossing State Park will host the annual Christmas Day re-enactment of Gen. George Washington and his troops crossing the Delaware River. Other activities include a reading of the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol at Waterloo Village in Sussex County and history-themed fun at The Historic Village at Allaire in Allaire State Park in Monmouth County.
“Christmas is a special time in New Jersey, with many activities for the public to recall our important place in history and to celebrate the beauty and magic of the season,” Parks and Forestry Director Olivia Glenn said. “There is something for everyone at many of our parks, from seeing the stately Ringwood Manor decorated as it would have been during its heyday, to watching busy elves in Santa’s workshop, to the always popular Delaware River crossing on Christmas. These activities are a great way to enjoy the holiday spirit.”
The 19th century Ringwood Manor is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The stunning house that was home to well-known ironmasters in the 19th and 20th centuries sits on a low hill that overlooks a rustic landscape, making it a beautiful location to visit during the holidays and winter.
Remaining dates to visit Ringwood Manor for the Victorian Christmas are Dec. 9, 15 and 16, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students, and $5 for children ages 5-12. Group tours for 10 or more people are offered from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 12, with admission set at $7 per person.
The Women’s Club of West Milford, the North Jersey Highlands Historical Society, and the Ringwood Manor Association of the Arts sponsors the Victorian Christmas. For more information, call (973) 962-2240.
From 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 16, Santa Claus and his elves will be busy in their workshop at Ringwood State Park’s Hermitage Museum Visitor Center to greet children and their families.
Children can spend time at holiday craft tables, surrounded by vintage toys, trains, Christmas trees, holiday decorations and music. Refreshments will be provided. Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for children ages 6-12, and free for children age 5 and younger. Santa’s Workshop is sponsored by Friends of the Hermitage.
Many other Christmas-themed activities are planned elsewhere around the state.
A reading of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol is scheduled at 7 p.m. on Dec. 13 at Waterloo Village in Stanhope, Sussex County. Admission is $10 per person. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Call (973) 347-1835 to register.
The Historic Village at Allaire within Allaire State Park in Farmingdale, Monmouth County, is offering guided lantern tours and interactive Christmas activities for all ages.
Visitors can tour the Historic Village at Allaire by lantern light and learn about Christmas in the 1800s. Tours leave every 15 minutes from 5 to 8 p.m. p.m. on Dec. 7, 8, 15 and 21. The 90-minute, outdoor guided tours are $20 per person. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Strollers are not permitted in the historic buildings.
Christmas at The Historic Village at Allaire will offer interactive programs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 9 and 16. Activities include music, storytelling, hearth cooking, dancing, wagon rides, crafts and a visit from Santa Claus. Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for children younger than 12 years of age.
At 1 p.m. on Christmas, visitors to Washington Crossing State Park in Titusville, Mercer County, can commemorate the 242nd anniversary of the pivotal crossing of the Delaware River on Dec. 25, 1776, during the War for Independence.
The crossing led to strategic victories the next day in Trenton, followed by victories at Assunpink Creek on Jan. 2, 1777 and at Princeton the next day. These victories helped establish Washington’s Continental Army as a viable fighting force that could challenge the British Army and its Hessian mercenaries.
Prior to the crossing and the ensuing battles of Trenton and Princeton, the American Revolution was thought to be lost. But those victories turned the war around and led to the eventual defeat of the British in 1783.
Visitors are encouraged to arrive by noon to have time to park and find a good viewing location. A history narration of the event will begin at 12:30 p.m. along the riverbank. Cider and doughnuts will be provided at the Nelson House.
Approximately 100 re-enactors will start the crossing at 1 p.m. from the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River, in reproductions of the Durham boats used by Washington and his troops.
The re-enactment is free and will be held weather-permitting. For more information, call (609) 737-0623.
Those interested in learning more about the history and significance of the crossing, as well as the Battle of Trenton may attend a free lecture with Washington Crossing State Park Historian Clay Craighead at 2 p.m. Dec. 15, at the park’s Visitor Center Museum.
To learn more about the 2018 Victorian Christmas at Ringwood Manor, visit www.ringwoodmanor.org/victorian-christmas.html.
For more about Ringwood State Park, visit www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/parks/ringwood.html#sky.
For more information about Washington Crossing State Park, including directions and GPS coordinates, visit www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/parks/washcros.html.
For more information about The Historic Village at Allaire and Allaire State Park, visit https://allairevillage.org/ and www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/parks/allaire.html
To learn more about New Jersey’s Parks, Forests and Historic Sites, visit www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/.
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