BEDMINSTER, NJ - The 15th annual Colonial Christmas celebration at the historic Jacobus Vanderveer House and Museum off Route 206, will be open to the public for the next two weekends, Nov. 25-26, and Dec. 2-3. The event will be open daily during both weekends from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

All invited to tree lighting next Friday evening

The festivities are due to kick off with a tree lighting at a tree lighting at 7 p.m. next Friday, Nov. 24, sponsored by Investors Bank. All in the community are invited to gather in the front of the Jacobus Vanderveer House (located in Bedminster's River Road Park at 3055 River Road) for caroling, hot chocolate and hot pretzels, and the lighting of the patriotic red, white, and blue Christmas tree. The community is invited to enjoy the free refreshments, and add their voices to caroling with Harmonium Choral Society. 

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Each year, Colonial Christmas has grown at he historic site and museum, restored by volunteers from throughout the Somerset Hills, and transformed into an educational center about the key role that the location played during the Revolutionary War.

The Jacobus Vanderveer House, which had been deteriorating before its restoration under the direction of The Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House, served headquarters of General Henry Knox during the winter of 1778-79 and the only surviving building associated with the Pluckemin Artillery Cantonment, America’s first military academy.  

The house is a national and New Jersey historic site, and has been furnished to interpret 18th century Dutch-Colonial life as lived by the Vanderveer and Knox families. The story of the Pluckemin Cantonment’s role in helping the Continental Army to defeat the British during the American Revolution, which unfolded as research and on-site archeology took place over the years, is highlighted at the museum.

Admission is $10 at the door; members and children 12 and younger are free.

Ridge High School A Cappella Choir scheduled to appear next Sunday

The line-up of activities at during Colonial Christmas includes scheduled performances by students in local schools, including the Ridge High School A Cappella Choir, set for 1 to 2 p.m. next Sunday, Nov. 26; music from Bedminster School Hand Bells, set for 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2; and vocals by the Bernards High School Madrigals, with that performance scheduled for 3 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 3. 

Tradition of school group tour day continues this holiday season

Free to local school groups, the tradition of School Group Tour Day will continue from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 1. Students will have an opportunity to learn about the era's history with "Betsy Ross," and through presentations by Lady Ellen Ruck and Militiaman Joshua. 

School bus parking is available. Reservations are required; call Kristina Poggi, Museum Coordinator, at 908-396-6053 or email

A fundraising cocktail reception will also be held that night from 6 to 8 p.m. Holiday libations served by Colonial barkeeps, sumptuous seafood and hors d’oeuvres will be Metropolitan Seafood, and musical entertainment by The Practitioners of Musick will be featured, along with a special veterans appreciation presentation. For ticket information, phone 908-396-6053, or purchase tickets online

Santa's annual visit is scheduled for 1 to 3 p.m. on Dec. 3. The Colonial Cafe will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. each weekend day, and many other activities and presentations, including re-enactors and a decorating workshop by Laura Clare, are scheduled throughout.

The full lineup of events is on the 15th annual Colonial Christmas guide, posted online.