One of my favorite things to do is celebrate real meanings of holidays. The Old Bethpage Village Restoration, located on Long Island, NY is a recreation of a 19th-century village. This living museum is a smaller scale Colonial Williamsburg or Old Sturbridge Village. Visitors came experience live demonstrations, which offer individualized attention since the crowds are less. The living museum host many events through the year, one being an Independence Day celebration set in 1865, so we decided to do something a little different on the 4th of July and took a step back in time to the explore the past.
When we visited there were a lot of fun events like the reading of the Declaration of Independence, a brass band concert, and a parade. There was also Civil War military drills celebrating our country’s 89th Independence Day. The actors were great, taking pictures with my son and answering his questions. You can enjoy your picnic lunch and attend the “Temperance Society Picnic” which is behind the Noon Inn while listening to fiddle music. If you are in the mood for a cold cider, you can pick one up at the Noon Inn along with some pretzels.
Another fun thing to do is watch an 1860 period All-Star Baseball game. The game is a recreation of League Baseball Clubs modeled after the games in Brooklyn and Queens in the 1800s. My son enjoyed learning how much the game of baseball has changed. He revealed how grateful he was that his Little League uniform wasn’t made out of wool and didn’t have long sleeves.
Our family enjoyed spending the 4th of July in a different way compared to our usual backyard shenanigans. We visited many different types of homes, a school, a church, stores and the farm. Each building had someone to share information about the history and the actors were in period costumes. We enjoyed the farm and learned about the farming skills from years ago. There were several animals on the farm like sheep, cows, and hogs. The pigs seemed to be having fun in the mud.
The fun family outing that only cost $10 for adults and $5 for kids. Just keep in mind that the village is on 209 acres, so there is a lot of walking. Most of is flat, but there are a few hills. Also, make sure you pack some water in those picnic baskets because there were no air conditioners in those 19th-century buildings!
I know the 4th of July is typically spent attending barbecues or going to the beach days, but doing something in the true spirit to celebrate our nation’s birthday turned out to be a better than expected experience and was also educational. I think this is worth the visit and believe you will be singing “God Bless America” upon your departure!