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posted: 11/26/2012 6:00 AM

Garfield Farm Museum aglow with annual candlelight reception

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  • Candlelight will welcome visitors to Garfield Farm for an 1840s-style holiday gathering this weekend.

      Candlelight will welcome visitors to Garfield Farm for an 1840s-style holiday gathering this weekend.
    Courtesy of Garfield Farm Museum

 
Submitted by Garfield Farm Museum

Take time away from the chaotic rush of the holiday season and travel down the country road to Garfield Farm Museum from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, and Sunday, Dec. 2, for its annual candlelight reception.

Interpreters wearing period clothing will share with guests what life was like for people during the height of the horse and wagon era. There is no charge for the candlelight event, but donations are most welcome.

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Candlelight has always been one of the most popular events at this 1840s farm and tavern museum. It evokes a pace and peace that is so foreign to life today. It requires a conscious effort on the part of the modern day visitor to linger and savor the experience, to strike up a conversation with others, and enjoy what was once a great luxury: a brightly lit home full of travelers and neighbors, making for a most jovial atmosphere on a winter's night. Dulcimer music by the Scantlin' Reunion and friends will be played in the ballroom and refreshments will be offered in the inn's dining room.

The Garfield's Inn sat on the junction of the St. Charles-Oregon and Sycamore roads. At the time, a heavily loaded team of horses with good weather could only travel about 15 miles a day. Inns were busy places that offered weary travelers an occasion to take a break from the monotony of their journey. A guest of the Garfield's could eat, sleep and most importantly talk to others. News traveled slowly and travelers provided news from far and near, as well as telling entertaining stories. Inns became a center for the community hosting dances, militia drills, weddings, "donation" parties for local clergy, political meetings, and other functions.

Following a visit to the 1846 inn, walk up the glowing lantern path to the Burr House and enjoy even more, as the museum will feature a hearthside cooking demonstration. Learn how the early settlers used to cook their food on a hearth and bake their bread in a brick oven. Tavern biscuits were a stable at the taverns and inns of the day and were mentioned in traveler's letters or diaries. Although referred to as a biscuit, they were actually more of a lightly flavored cookie. Culinary historian, Barbara Kuck, has researched and prepared More than 23 historic recipes for tavern biscuits and cookies. Some of these will be available for tasting and for purchase as part of the museum's bake sale.

The candlelight tour offers visitors a chance to meet the volunteers and donors, who are the lifeblood of the farm. The event is a time for those interested in becoming involved to meet those who already give so much to help sustain the museum and keep it moving forward. The event also benefits the museum's ongoing efforts to restore the historic buildings and to provide educational programming.

The 370-acre Garfield Farm Museum is the only historically intact former 1840s Illinois prairie farmstead and teamster inn being restored by donors and volunteers from 3,000 households in 37 states as an 1840s working farm museum. Garfield Farm Museum is located on Garfield Road, off Route 38, 5 miles west of Geneva. For information call (630) 584-8485 or email info@garfieldfarm.org. Visit [URL]garfieldfarm.org;http://garfieldfarm.org[URL].[/URL]

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