June 23, 2017

Summer Reflections

"And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer." - F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

The Toll House - entrance to the village and gateway to the past.

It is summer!  Or at least officially now that the solstice has past.  With the end of June quickly approaching, I feel a need to hit a pause button and reflect on the first half of summer.  I don't want it to pass in its entirety without notice, or without capturing a few of the memories in writing.  Especially when such a significant portion of both my life and this blog has centered around the Genesee Country Village & Museum, the place I've come to call home.

So, here are some of the highlights from the 2017 museum season thus far:

(1)  Opening weekend!  The season kicked with our annual chocolate celebration and Mother's Day weekend.

Spring in the village.

For our second annual opening day pictures, Judy, the partner-in-crime, and I sported our "twin gowns" for the day and proceeded with the usual shenanigans on Saturday.  Now that I think of it, we were dressed quite appropriately with the brown prints and caramel petticoats for the chocolate festivities!

Twinning it up for our second annual opening day picture!

I spent most of the first day running around, and the second at the Carriage Museum, which was the spot for all things chocolate.  Several partners from the historic division of MARS gave talks all weekend on the history of chocolate, as well as samples of their newest drinks featuring American Heritage Chocolate.  We also had several tables offering samples of spicy chocolate bean dip and chocolate chicken barbecue, as well as four wine and beer pairings with chocolates.

The carriage museum.

Not to mention, the American Heritage hot chocolate bar!  Here, we offered all kinds of cookies and candies - peanut butter M&Ms, coconut, peppermints, marshmallows, milk chocolate M&Ms, rainbow sprinkles, assorted sugar cookies, whipped cream and various syrups - to customize a piping hot cup of cocoa.  

American Heritage hot chocolate drink bar.

I had the very yummy pleasure of staffing the hot chocolate drink bar on Mother's Day, and made sure to throw together a chocolaty outfit: 

My "chocolate" outfit consisted of an 1830s short gown,
chocolate brown petticoat, apron, silk neckerscarf, and cap trimmed in pink.
(Please excuse the tired face...)

(2)  I suppose the biggest news is the new job!

Returning for a fourth time in the new role of interpretation office assistant, I have been enjoying my behind-the-scenes look at working for a living history museum.  It's not always glamorous, and very different than being an interpreter, but I greatly appreciate all of the new experiences and opportunities offered.  Oh, and never fear, I still interpret (and dress up!) whenever possible.

Day to day, however, what I look forward to the most are the co-workers I "assist."  From our senior director of interpretation, Brian, to our office manager, Sarah, and the lead interpreters - Deanna, Allison, Matt, Marisa and Pat - in the office.  The entire interpretation staff - Judy, the partner-in-crime, Richard, Sharon, Rhonda, the dressmaker, Ariana, my museum twin, Cassie, Katie, Mary, Sam, Lydia, Marie and Lyn, just to name a few.  Without any doubt, I can honestly say that I have never had the privilege of working with finer people.  I never want to forget them!

Judy and Pam in the Confectionery.

Richard in the Tailor Shop, our newest building,
which opened for interpretation this season!

Sharon, the newest cheese-maker at Jones Farm.

(3)  Special events like History on Tap!  

Something to really look forward to each season are the special events.  The after hours History on Tap night featured a happy hour with local craft beers, wines and ciders to sample, including our newest historic variety, the Flint & Steel Bourbon Barrel Cider.  Live music, food trucks and our village buildings, including special access to the Hyde House cupola, provided entertainment for all.

Posing in the Hyde House parlor.
Photograph by Wayne Panepinto.
(Used with permission from Rochester Events Past & Present)

For the second year in a row, I signed up to work at the Hamilton House.  Like last year, I interpreted on the second floor, while Judy and Irene were stationed on the first floor.  

The three of us - Judy, Irene and yours truly - on the Hamilton House porch.
Photograph courtesy of Peter W.

 Judy and I twinned again, both sporting our newest red dresses for the first time!  We made sure to take plenty of picture of course:

My favorite picture of Judy!

First wearing of the DNA dress!

Trying to look spooky in the Hamilton House parlor:

(4) Spring Hosmer Dinners!  

This year we're offering a four course Literary Feast!  From leek porridge in Kenilworth, to Dracula's robber steaks, plum pudding from A Christmas Carol, and the Amontillado toast, all of our dishes are authentic 19th-century receipts.  These first-person dinners offer fun for the guests and hosts alike, complete with an upstairs, downstairs tour of Hosmer's Inn and an hour (or sometimes longer if you have me as tour guide, sorry not sorry ;) tour of the village by lantern light.


This spring, I played tour guide for both dinners, and had a blast as always!  ("A" team - Ariana, Allison & Anneliese - forever!)  In three years, I haven't missed a dinner, and couldn't have asked for two better nights to end with.  In fact, coincidentally, some of the guests from the JASNA/Meryton Assembly Dancers were present for the first dinner I ever worked as well as the last!

I took several pictures of the pretty set-up this time:

And I am borrowing a few pictures off Facebook to better show the Hosmer Dinner experience:

Serving the salmagundi.
Photograph by Dave Boyer
(Photographer & owner of Boyer's Caricatures & Photography)

Since six of the guests at the last dinner were members of the Meryton Assembly Dancers, including their fabulous dance mistress, Lisa Brown, we were treated to a wonderful dance demonstration and even instructed through two dances!  That really, truly made the night something special! 

Lining up with Lisa and Dave as the head couple.

Dancing in the Hosmer ballroom.

One may begin the tour when it's light, but often by the end, we're grateful for the lanterns!

This year's Hosmer dinner outfit.
It's practically a right of passage at the village to wear the yellow dress!
Photograph by Dave Boyer.

I've learned to walk'n'talk backwards when I tour guide!
Photograph by Dave Boyer.

The tour by lantern light.
Photograph by Dave Boyer.

Last but not least, when the guests have left in their carriages and the last dish tucked into the cupboard, I head upstairs for my nightly stay at the inn.  It's tradition!  I will always remember you fondly, Hosmer dinners :) 

My room that night.

(5)  And, most recently, the Genesee Country Village & Museum hosted the Association for Living History, Farming & Agricultural Museums (ALHFAM) 2017 National Conference!  

Silhouettes presentation.

This was such a fantastic experience that will be getting its own blog post, so please stay tuned! 


  1. Yay! I'm so looking forward to going to GCV tomorrow, and I hope to catch a glimpse of you. Even though my Regency dress project is languishing, I'm sure I'll get some great ideas for it.

    1. Excellent! 1812/Jane Austen weekend is one of, if not my most favorite of the annual events! I'll be at Hosmer's Inn plating food for most of the day, and shopping at the sutleries on square of course. Hope to see you there! :)