Family Outing: Philipsburg Manor
By Milana Vernikova

Family Outing: Philipsburg Manor

June 15, 2015   |   Family Outings  

Through historical interpretation and interactive storytelling, Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow, NY immerses visitors in the lives of colonial slaves on an 18th-century estate. Get tips on visiting this Historic Hudson Valley site with kids.

 

Nestled between the Hudson and Pocantico rivers, Philipsburg Manor is a living history museum that spotlights the story of northern slavery. The nonprofit Historic Hudson Valley owns and operates the site with the goal to present and preserve the lives of 23 African men, women, and children who were enslaved on the plantation in the 18th century. The manor is open to the public May through early November for guided tours of its grounds, with plenty of hands-on experiences for visitors of all ages.

 

Fun Things to Do Any Time

Visitors to Philipsburg Manor are transported back to the year 1750, when the site was a center for farming, milling, and trade. Costumed interpreters lead guests through a tour of the dairy, kitchens, bedrooms, parlor, and warehouse rooms of the manor, passing by ancient artifacts and touchable replicas.

Stop by the property’s working, water-powered gristmill to learn about the skills of Caesar, the enslaved African miller. Nearby is the slaves’ garden, which features herbs and vegetables that were used for consumption, market, and medicinal purposes. Explore the foodways, produce a tray of sea-biscuits, or shell some beans in the nearby activity center.

Visit the manor’s new world Dutch barn, which was used for storing grains and other produce, where you can help thresh some wheat for the farm.

For a memento of the experience, visit the museum shop, which features a selection of jewelry, cards and stationery, ornaments, original artwork, books, and children’s items. Grab a bite at the Museum Café, or pack a lunch to eat al fresco at picnic tables scattered around the property.

 

Annual Events: Mark Your Calendar!

Throughout the year, Philipsburg Manor hosts many special events and activities that focus on culture, history, and the arts.

Sheep-to-Shawl Festival

dog herding ducks

Photo by Bryan Haeffele

The manor hosts this hugely popular festival in April. During two days of celebrations, visitors of all ages can explore interactive art exhibits, try on 18th-century clothing for a great photo-op, and participate in wool dyeing, spinning, and weaving.

 

Pinkster Festival

pinkster festival

Photo by Bryan Haeffele

 

In May, celebrate Pinkster, a cross-cultural festival uniting colonial tradbitions with African-American history. Come to the manor to enjoy good music, soul food, traditional dancing, and demonstrations of African wares.

 

A Night on Fire

a night on fire

Photo by Tom Nycz

Things heat up in June with this hair-raising spectacle of fire arts featuring flame-throwers, fire-eaters, jugglers, and a comedy troupe (appropriate for all ages).

 

Pirates of the Hudson

pirates of the hudson show

Photo by Tom Nycz

All hands on deck for Philipsburg Manor’s swashbuckling celebration, featuring The Greatest Story Never Told, a part-improv, part-scripted pirate musical. Previously a festival held over several days, this show is now performed in mid-July at Tarrytown Music Hall.

 

CORNucopia Festival

cornucopia festival philipsburg manor

Photo by Tom Nycz

In September, stop by for the Lower Hudson Valley’s only corn festival. Festivities include a kid-friendly CORNival, a mini-maize, corn-shucking contests, cooking demonstrations, crafts, and scores of corn-centric treats.

 

Horseman's Hollow

horsemans hollow sleepy hollow ny

Photo by Tom Nycz

Every October, the manor hosts the ultimate haunted attraction. Inspired by the terrifying tale of Sleepy Hollow, the experience features a frightening town inhabited by a host of the undead, evil, and insane. Elaborate costumes, incredible special effects, and a nocturnal walk through a haunted trail make it a scream-fest suitable for everyone ages 10 and older.

 

Details

Address: 81 N. Broadway, Sleepy Hollow, NY

Hours: Tours available May 2–Nov. 8, Wednesday-Sunday at 10:30am, 12pm, 1:30pm, and 3pm. (Also 11am, 12:30pm, 2pm, and 3:30pm on Saturdays, Sundays, and holiday Mondays). No tours during special events; see calendar for details.

Admission: $12; $10 seniors; $6 children ages 3-17; free for children younger than 3. Group rates (for 10 or more) are available. 

For more information: 914-631-8200 or hudsonvalley.org/historic-sites/philipsburg-manor