News from the Somerset County Board of County Commissioners
Shanel Y. Robinson, Commissioner Director Ÿ Doug Singleterry, Commissioner Deputy Director
Sara Sooy, Commissioner Ÿ Melonie Marano, Commissioner Ÿ Paul Drake, Commissioner
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 26, 2023
Somerset County Brings History to Life with Packed Weekend of Festivities on October 7 & 8
Rarely Open Historic Sites Invite Public, Reenactors, Artists, and Performers for Journey Through the Past Weekend
Thirty Central Jersey historic sites will open for Somerset County’s 18th annual Journey Through the Past, the county’s biggest weekend for history lovers, on October 7 and 8. The weekend will feature such highlights as a George Washington reenactor standing on Washington Rock in Green Brook and an early African American poetess performing at the Wallace House in Somerville.
In addition, participants can learn to dance the waltz on the very same floor where Washington danced for hours during a break in the American Revolution in Bridgewater; enjoy art and music at an 18th Century farmstead in Basking Ridge; and take a “geocaching” scavenger hunt at Somerset County’s famous “Five Generals Houses.”
All 30 historic sites will be open free to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 7, and 12 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 8. Check the Somerset County website for exact times and places for special activities. Throughout the weekend, families will also find a variety of children’s activities such as collecting historical trading cards, playing colonial games, and creating self-portraits at Central Jersey’s only African American museum.
“Somerset County is so proud of our rich heritage that we celebrate it every year during our Journey Through the Past event,” said Commissioner Melonie Marano, Cultural and Heritage liaison. “We’re excited to have 30 historic sites participate this year, including, for the first time, the Six Mile Run Reformed Church in Franklin Township.”
Waltz lessons will be offered both days from 1-2:30 p.m. at the Van Veghten House in Bridgewater, one of the “Five Generals Houses,” and the location of a famous dance party attended by General George Washington.
Performer Queen Nur will tell the stories of early African American poetesses Phyliss Wheatley and Esther “Hetty” Saunders on Sunday at 1, 2, and 3 p.m. at the Wallace House in Somerville, one of the “Five Generals Houses.”
Because of our Revolutionary War history, Somerset County has been designated as a Crossroads of the American Revolution State Heritage Area. Visitors will learn that General George Washington, the Marquis de Lafayette, General von Steuben, and Major General Lord Stirling used their time in Somerset County to plan campaigns, monitor the British army, train troops, and participate in skirmishes.
Somerset County has everything you need to make your Journey Through the Past an adventure to remember. Before traveling on Oct. 7 or 8, we encourage you to explore www.visitsomersetnj.org to find local restaurants, shops, and parks that you may wish to include in your journey.
The County Cultural & Heritage Commission encourages you to share photos along your journey. Upload photos to Instagram or Facebook and tag them @SomersetCountyNJ. Photos tagged @somersetcountynj may be shared on the County’s social media platforms.
Saturday, Oct. 7 – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 8 – 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Thirty historic sites around the County will be open to the public for Journey Through the Past.
2023 Weekend Journey through the Past Participating Sites
Sites that will be open to the public on Oct. 7 and 8.
Andrew Ten Eyck House, Branchburg
Boudinot-Southard-Ross Estate, Bernards
Kirch-Ford-Terrill House, Warren
Mount Bethel Baptist Meeting House, Warren
*List subject to change. Websites linked where available.
For the most up-to-date information on in-person tours, exhibits and special events, please visit www.schistoryweekend.com.
Journey Through the Past travelers will have the opportunity to give feedback on this year’s event and be entered to win prizes. Participants must visit at least three sites and complete a brief online survey to be entered to win. Details can be found on the website. Contact CulturalHeritage@co.somerset.nj.us for more information.
Somerset County’s annual Journey through the Past is an initiative of the Somerset County Board of County Commissioners and the Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission, in collaboration with many countywide local historical organizations and commissions and other county organizations. It is made possible in part by funds from the Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission, a partner of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the New Jersey Historical Commission.
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