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Journey into the past Oct. 14 & 15 at historic sites around Somerset County

Brick Academy in Basking Ridge was once a school house. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos

Two Basking Ridge sites are on the list of 29 historic sites featuring programs and tours during Somerset County’s 12th annual “Weekend Journey through the Past” on Saturday, Oct. 14, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.and Sunday, Oct. 15, from noon to 4 p.m. 

The 29 historic sites countywide open free of charge. The weekend is sponsored by the county Cultural & Heritage Commission. 

In Basking Ridge, the Boudinot-Southard-Ross Estate (dating back to the mid-1700s) at 135 North Maple Ave. and the Brick Academy, the 1809 Federal-style building that has been a boys’ private preparatory school, a public school, a meeting hall and the Bernards Township municipal building, and currently serves as the headquarters of the Historical Society of the Somerset Hills, at 15 West Oak St. will welcome visitors. 

There are two new participating sites, both in Franklin Township: the Van Liew-Suydam House at 280 South Middlebush Road and the Griggstown Bridgetender’s House at 2 Griggstown Causeway. The bridgetender’s house, among other things, will feature spinning wool on an antique spinning wheel, organic dyes and sheared wool to sample.

Visit the event website at for details and watch a  Weekend Journey video. You can view an interactive map of participating sites at

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The weekend will feature:

  • Tours led by costumed interpreters and actors portraying historical figures; 

  • Old-time silent movies with live organ music in an old vaudeville theater; 

  • Authentic, traditional blacksmithing; 

  • 19th-century firefighting wagons and apparatus; 

  • Sights and sounds of 18th-century living;

  • Open-hearth cooking by re-enactors;

  • One-room schoolhouses;

  • Original Louis Comfort Tiffany stained glass windows; 

  • Craftspeople demonstrating period crafts; 

  • Live theater and music; 

  • A talking tour of Rocky Hill, a National Historic Site;

  • An annual period antiques fair and community flea market;

  • A live organ recital, including a rendition of “The Battle of Trenton” by James Hewitt; 

  • Access to local genealogical resources to aid in tracing a family’s roots; 

  • SNAG golf and a scavenger hunt for children at the U.S. Golf Association Museum and a guided tour of the USGA equipment standard lab, both on Saturday.

Adults visiting four or more participating historic sites during the weekend will qualify for a free drawing to win one of several $25 prepaid gasoline gift cards.  Visit for details.

At the Van Horne House in Bridgewater (across from the TD ballpark), experience British-occupied New Jersey as it was in 1776. During an interactive guided tour, put quill to paper and sign the King’s Loyalty Oath. Join a dance to meet genuine loyalists and secret patriots. Get a military briefing on the war against the rebels. Join a loyalist-versus-patriot debate in the pub. Witness the raising of a liberty pole. Which side will you identify with? The free tours run 1 hour and 15 minutes each.

Participating historic sites and locations:

1. Blawenburg Reformed Church, Blawenburg (Montgomery)

2. Boudinot-Southard-Ross Estate, Basking Ridge

3. The Brick Academy, Basking Ridge

4. The Brook Arts Center / Historic Brook Theater, Bound Brook

5. Codington Farmstead, Warren Twp

6. Gen. John Frelinghuysen House / Raritan Public Library, Raritan

7. Amy Garret House, Rocky Hill

8. Griggstown Bridgetender’s House, Princeton

9. Griggstown School House, Princeton Township

10. Historic 1860 Schoolhouse / Millstone Borough Hall, Millstone

11. Kirch-Ford-Terrill House, Warren Twp

12.  Mount Bethel  Meeting House, Warren Twp

13. Old Millstone Forge Blacksmith Shop & Museum, Millstone

14. Old Presbyterian Graveyard, Bound Brook

15. The Presbyterian Church at Bound Book

16. Relief Hose Company No. 2 Engine House, Raritan

17. Daniel Robert Mansion, / Somerville Borough Hall, Somerville

18. Somerville Fire Museum, Somerville

19. South Branch School House, Branchburg

20. Abraham Staats House, South Bound Brook

21. Andrew Ten Eyck House, Branchburg

22. Texier House Museum, Watchung

23. USGA Golf Museum, Far Hills

24. Philip Van Horne House, Bridgewater

25. Van Liew-Suydam House, Franklin Township

26. Van Veghten House, Bridgewater

27. Dr. John Vermeule House, Green Brook

28. Wallace House State Historic Site, Somerville

29. Washington Rock State Park, Green Brook


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