The big events for the holiday season are almost all over. First I had the great opportunity of hearing Tim McGrath speak on his book John Barry, An American Hero in the Age of Sail at the Ancient Order of Hibernians on Dec. 6th. Harry Schaeffer, acting head of coordinating volunteers at the James and Ann Whitall House made tha possible for me and Loretta Kelly, leader of the movement to save the Fieldsboro historic house, White Hill, the home of Mary Field, who managed to keep her house safe from the British and the Hessians while hiding, among others, Commodore Barry himself. A part of our navy was scuttled just below White Hill where the tavern once stood.
On December 5th, with several friends, I enjoyed the tour of the decorated Batsto Mansion, following a wonderful lecture on the Wharton Family Homes in the Batsto Visitor's Center auditorium. We hiked the village and once again, explored the grist mill, the saw mill, outbuildings with (my favorites) the sleigh and stagecoach, and the general store. St. Nicholas was there and gave me a candy cane, though my friends tried to tell him I hadn't been good.
Next I was able to work as a docent during a special Holiday House Tour, the Sound of Music, at the Indian King Tavern, which is where I met, again, David E. Field, maker of Appalachian musical instruments, and musician extraordinaire. He was playing with the Cheat Mountain Boys and Steve Kruspky of Well & Good, Old-Time Music. They were SO good that I had to hear more and went to Coffee Garden, 57 East Kings Highway in Audubon last Friday, the 10th, to hear them jam. They are there every other Friday, but I'm not sure about the 24th - I'd call if I were you. Coffee Garden is on the web.
On Saturday the 11th, I joined more of the volunteers of the James and Ann Whitall House for our candle light tour which also featured music, this time by the Piney Hollow Travellers (?). I'm not sure of the name. But they are regulars at many historic events and they came to play at our big event in October, the Battle of Red Bank re-enactment.
Later that night, on the 11th, some intrepid music lovers and I trekked out to Albert Hall in Waretown for some bluegrass music and homemade desserts. It's a music tradition that you shouldn't miss - $5 to get in, music all night, a different band every half hour, coffee with pie, and cake, or hot dogs and sauer kraut for those who prefer salty to sweet, at $1 each, and all done by volunteers, including the musicians. It warms your heart as it delights your ear.
I believe there may be one event left at the Indian King Tavern, on New Years Eve, the tavern may be open from 6:00 to 9:00. As with all mentioned events, it is best to call first.
The music was so wonderful at the historic houses that it made me wish to learn English Country Dancing, and I dropped in on Tuesday the 8th at one of the buildings of the Society of Friends in Haddonfield for a lesson. The music was by Bare Necessities on cd, and I plan to ask Santa to bring me some of their music for Christmas this year.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to All!