Giving Back

PHOTOS: Cannon Fire, Ridge Singers, Help Kick Off Colonial Christmas; More to Come

Santa, who will also be available next week for pet "Santa Paws" photos, was inside the Jacobus Vandeerveer House & Museum on Sunday for Colonial Christmas. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
The Ridge A Cappella Choir and director, Barbara Retzko, in a group photo after performing at the 15th annual Colonial Christmas at the Vanderveer House on Nov. 26. Credits: By Betsy Bacot-Aigner
The 12 members of the “Madgrigals” (select group within the Ridge A Cappella Choir) during Sunday’s performance at the Vanderveer House & Museum. Credits: By Betsy Bacot-Aigner
The cannon in loaded by re-enactors during an actual cannon shot on Nov. 26 at the 15th annual Colonial Christmas at the Jacobus Vanderveer House in Bedminster. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
A cannon was fired after a brief "lesson" on the art of loading and firing a cannon at the 15th annual Colonial Christmas at the Jacobus Vandeerveer House in Bedminster. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
Holiday gifts upstairs at the Jacobus House for Colonial Christmas, including Granit Gormet cutting boards by Bonnie O'Connor, a New Providence artist. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
The Marsters sisters, Eva, 10th grade, Emma, a Ridge senior, and Jaime, also in 10th grade at Ridge, are all members of the Ridge A Cappella choir. Credits: By Betsy Bacot-Aigner
Re-enactors from John Lamb's Artillery Co. were at the 15th Colonial Christmas at the Jacobus Vandeerveer House, where the real company had trained. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
The decorations provided at each year's Colonial Christmas, a fundraiser to support the Jacobus Vanderveer House & Museum, differ each holiday season. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos
The “Ridgemen” (men of the Ridge A Cappella choir) singing during their performance at the Vanderveer House & Museum's Colonial Christmas on Nov. 26. Credits: By Betsy Bacot-Aigner
The Ridge A Cappella choir performed this year in the new Colonial Cafe at the 15th annual Colonial Christmas at the Jacobus Vanderveer House in Bedminster. Credits: By Betsy Bacot-Aigner
Credits: By Betsy Bacot-Aigner

BEDMINSTER TWP., NJ - The 15th annual Colonial Christmas fundraiser to continue the restoration and development of the Jacobus Vanderveer House & Museum started off with a bang last Friday, including a demonstration of cannon fire, a performance by the Ridge High School A Cappella choir, appearances by Colonial-era re-enactors and crafters, and more.

One of the new features this year was a tented "Colonial Cafe," where the Ridge singers performed on Sunday afternoon, with refreshments provided by - where else? - George and Martha's restaurant of Morristown.

Colonial Christmas is scheduled to continue next weekend, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sat. and Sunday, Dec. 2 to 3, with some of this past's weekend's to be repeated - the Colonial Cafe, holiday boutique shopping, tours of the home and museum, and a visit by Santa. Admission is $10 at the door; members and children 12 and younger are free.

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Additional performances and activities this coming weekend

There is also more to come this weekend, including a Bedminster Hand Bells performance from 1 to 4 p.m. next Saturday, singing by the Bernards High School Madrigals from 3 to 4 p.m. next Sunday, and a demonstration by Tewksbury Foot Bassets. 

New this year will be an opportunity for children to bring their pets for a photo with Santa. Pet photos with Santa Paws (a $10 charge that includes admission and a treat for the pet) will be available from noon to 2 p.m. next Saturday.

Pre-registration is required for gingerbread house workshops scheduled for either 10 a.m. or 3 p.m. next Saturday. Parents and children can create their own gingerbread house with the help of Gail Paul, owner of Ms. Gail's Kids Cooking. All materials will be provided and space is limited. Cost of the program is $40 per kit, or $50 if there is room for walk-ins. Registration is online at, or by calling 908-396-6053.

Craig Sutherland of Basking Ridge, president of The Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House, said that the Colonial Cafe had been implemented this year after requests by visitors. He added that the display has a great collection of vendors this year for holiday shopping.

Each year, Colonial Christmas has grown at the 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.



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