Feels Like Fall?

If the weather doesn’t quite feel like autumn (as I write this, we’ve been going back and forth), October’s programs on the Trails of History certainly point to the change of seasons. Most sites will be closed on Oct. 10 in observance of Columbus Day, but Ephrata Cloister, Fort Pitt, and the Railroad Museum will be open.

Brandywine Battlefield
Oct. 30, Halloween Eve—check the website closer to the date for details.

Bushy Run Battlefield
Oct. 1, Fall Nature Walk—local naturalist George Heasley leads a walk through the woodlands around the battlefield
Oct. 8, Fall Tea—enjoy tea and treats in the Stone Room of the Visitor Center. Make reservations by Oct. 7, 724/527-5584 x102.
Oct. 22, Haunted History Hayride—take a wagon ride through historical scenes from Pontiac’s War. Reservations are required and will be accepted only after Oct. 1; call the site at 724/527-5584 x102.

Conrad Weiser Homestead
Oct. 23, Fall Park Walk and Tours-reenactors will be on hand to talk about life for colonists and Native Americans in 18th-century Berks County.

Cornwall Iron Furnace
Oct. 11, The Art of Blacksmithing—Fred Eberly will present this latest offering of the Friends Lecture Series. Eberly has practiced and taught blacksmithing for more than 30 years, participating in craft programs at many historic sites, including Ephrata Cloister and Landis Valley. Lecture is free and will be held in the Freeman Hall auditorium at Cornwall Manor retirement community.

Daniel Boone Homestead
Oct. 16, Heritage Day—experience 18th-century life with hands-on activities and demonstrations, learn about traveling in the 1700s, and take a horse-drawn wagon ride around the Homestead.
Oct. 30, Halloween at the Homestead—storytelling, face-painting, 18th-century toys and games, and trick-or-treating are all on tap for the day (admission fee varies according to activity).

Drake Well Museum
Oct. 9, Sunday Family Fun—learn some traditional recipes from the oil boom era; reservations and fee required, 814/827-2797.
Oct. 29, Saturday Family Fun—turn plastic bags, old clothes, and hats into an old-fashioned scarecrow for your family’s garden; reservations and fee required, 814/827-2797. Oil Valley Blacksmiths will also be on site for their monthly demonstrations (blacksmith demo included in regular admission).

PHMC/Ephrata Cloister

Ephrata Cloister
Oct. 7-8, Apple Dumpling Sales and Day of Music—a traditional Pennsylvania German treat of apples, cinnamon, and flaky pastry supports the Back to the Cloister Fund (which helps return original artifacts to the site); on Saturday only, the Ephrata Cloister Chorus will perform at 2, 3, and 4 pm. Admission fee required if you’d like to attend the choral performance (and tour the site), but not if you’re just there for the food.
Oct. 9, Behind the Scenes Tour—visitors will have an opportunity to tour the rarely seen upper floors of the Sisters’ House. Reservations are strongly recommended; a fee of $10 is required for this special program. Physical accessibility on the tour is very limited due to steep and winding stairs.
Oct. 14-15, Mysterious, Melancholy, and Macabre—stories of early Lancaster County, ripped from the headlines of local newspapers, presented in a dramatic storytelling format; reservations suggested, 717/733-6600.
Oct. 21, Community Days—students of all backgrounds and grade levels visit learning stations at their own pace to learn about the thriving community of Ephrata in the 18th century; reservations strongly encouraged, 717/733-6600.

Erie Maritime Museum and Flagship Niagara
Oct. 15, Speaker Series, “The Dynamic Dozen – 13 Lake Erie Shipwrecks”— divers Georgann and Mike Wachter will share images and stories of wrecks in the fresh waters of Lake Erie.
Oct. 15-16, 22-23, 29-30, Ghosts Afloat—Niagara will be the setting for local lore (drawn from the ship’s history) in this new program offered in partnership with Mercyhurst College. Tickets must be purchased in advance (online or at the museum store).

Fort Pitt Museum
Oct. 2, RAD Day—enjoy free admission in honor of Pittsburgh’s Regional Asset District.
Oct. 15, Wild Resource Festival in Point State Park—costumed reenactors from the Museum will be set up in the park to interpret 18th-century hunting, fishing, and construction practices.

Graeme Park
Oct. 1-2, World War II Weekend (rescheduled from late Sept.)-period reenactors and equipment will be on site, encamped for the weekend; enjoy the West Chester Swing Kings concert Saturday evening. Admission charged, no fee for WWII veterans.
Oct. 8, Dog Faire—a chance to meet and greet, visit vendors, and learn about area rescue organizations.
Oct. 21 and 28, Moonlight Tours—Living History Theater presentation explores the history of the Keiths, Graemes, and Fergussons and relates various ghostly stories; reservations required, 215/343-0965.

Hope Lodge
Oct. 1, Whitemarsh Township History Tour—Hope Lodge is a featured stop on the tour; choose a bus tour or a self-guided driving tour, then contact the township for info and to reserve your spot, 610/828-7276.

PHMC/Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum

Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum
Oct. 8-9, Harvest Days Festival—traditional Pennsylvania German harvest activities and more than 80 demonstrators bring the village and farms to life; at the Pumpkin Patch you can choose your own orange gourd, decorate and carve it, and take it home.
Oct. 13 and 27, Hands-on History Days—activities help children of all ages experience a taste of 18th- and 19th-century PA German life
Oct. 29, Bus Trip to Winterthur Museum—a full day of exhibits, tours and curator presentations; reservations are required by Oct. 19, contact Cindy Reedy at 717/581-0591 or c-creedy@pa.gov.

Old Economy Village
Oct. 8, Oktoberfest—Penn Pilsner beer, German food, and lively music on a fall evening; reservations required, 724/266-4500 x101.
Oct. 15, Historic Trades Workshop-Five classes to choose from: blacksmithing, broom making, penny rugs, tinsmithing, and wreath design. Registration required by Oct. 3, call 724/266-4500 x101.

Pennsbury Manor
Oct. 2, Historic Trades—the joyner and blacksmith will be plying their trades (wood- and metalworking, respectively).
Oct. 9, Living History Theater—“The Sotcher Wedding” celebrates the traditional Quaker ceremony uniting John Sotcher, Penn’s steward, and Mary Lofty, head housekeeper. Who doesn’t love a wedding?
Oct. 16, Open Hearth Cooking—Pennsbury cooks will recreate a 17th-century baking day, with the aroma of bread (and other good things) filling the air.
Oct. 23, Cider Making—in the fall, colonial households would press apples and put the cider up to ferment (makes winter so much nicer). You can sample the unfermented product as part of the program.
Oct. 30, Living History Theater—“Witch Trial” presents the 1684 case of Margaret Mattson, accused by her neighbors of witchcraft; William Penn presided over the trial. You get to be the jury and hear the evidence—is she guilty or not? There will also be family-friendly trick or treat activities during the afternoon.

Pennsylvania Lumber Museum
Oct. 8-9, Heritage Days Antique and Collectibles Show—food, door prizes, plenty of parking, and loads of antiques and collectibles; consignment items are welcome, contact Pete Folk, 814/435-8216.

Pennsylvania Military Museum
Oct. 4, Central PA Civil War Roundtable Lecture—“Fort Sumter: First Blood in South Carolina,” with speaker Joe Mieczkowski (a Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide), explores the beginning of the Civil War 150 years ago.

PHMC/Railroad Museum of PA

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
Oct. 7-9, Model Railroad Days—program (included in Museum admission) features operating layouts in various scales from model railroad clubs and historical groups, plus hands-on sessions and informational presentations. Oct. 9 is also Garden Railway Tours at private homes around Lancaster County; separate ticket required, available at the Museum or at Stauffer’s locations. (Video from the 2010 event is here.)

Scranton Iron Furnaces
Oct. 21, Bonfire and Celtic Samhain Harvest Festival—this fundraiser supports the annual Arts on Fire program held at the Furnaces (see cool photos here.)

Somerset Historical Center
Oct. 22, Natives in Pennsylvania—visit the website closer to the date for details.

State Museum of Pennsylvania
Oct. 2, Indian Day at Fort Hunter—the State Museum archaeologists will be at Fort Hunter (north of Harrisburg) talking about recent excavations and evidence of native American activity on and near the site.
Oct. 12, National Fossil Day—visit the website closer to the date for details.
Oct. 21, 3rd in the Burg—the museum participates in downtown Harrisburg’s monthly party, this month sponsored by Harrisburg Young Professionals.
Oct. 22, Great Pumpkin Day—a wonderful way for families to prepare for Halloween, with crafts, activities, and food.

Washington Crossing Historic Park
Oct. 15, Harvest Day-living historians will demonstrate blacksmithing, period cooking, and handwriting; there will be a military encampment, and the historic buildings will be open for tours.


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