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How to Participate in 'Hands-on Heritage Crafts' at Van Cortlandt Manor

June 8, 2010

Visitors to Van Cortlandt Manor can try their hands at more than a dozen colonial-era crafts and tasks during “Hands-On Heritage Crafts” on Saturday and Sunday, June 12 and 13, from 10-6 p.m.

The gardens, grounds, and buildings of Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson will be bustling with activity as visitors are encouraged to learn about traditional activities of the 18th century in an interactive way. Each activity is presented by guides wearing clothing of the period.

Spinning flax is one of more than a dozen historic crafts and tasks on display at Van Cortlandt Manor on Saturday and Sunday, June 12-13. - Bryan Haeffele image

Visitors can help make candles, churn butter, and stitch brooms. They can also try their hands at coopering (barrel making), wool dyeing and spinning, shoe making, tinsmithing, flax breaking and spinning, quilting, weaving, and open-hearth cooking.

Particularly popular with youngsters is the chance to help Van Cortlandt Manor’s blacksmith forge iron hooks and other items.

Children can also sew a bag designed to hold medicinal herbs and then have it filled with dried botanicals in the manner of the 18th century. One example is a “sleep bag,” which is filled with a mixture of rose petals, mint leaves, and cloves, and was used by early Americans as a cure for insomnia.

Admission to Van Cortlandt Manor is $12 for adults; $10 for seniors; $6 for children 5-17; and free for children under 5 and HHV members. Visitors who buy tickets online can save $2 per ticket by using the promo code BLACKSMITH. Van Cortlandt Manor is at 525 South Riverside Avenue (off Route 9) in Croton-on-Hudson. Take the Croton Point Avenue exit from Route 9 and follow the signs. For information: 914-271-8981,


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