Originally built between 1685 and 1786, the 25 stone structures on exhibit are still inhabited and filled with antiques reflecting the styles and living standards of the past. Visitors can see the massive beams, window glass filled with bubbles and waves, hand-forged hardware, multiple fireplaces and other Colonial features of these “live-in antiques,” and get a sense of what life was like then. This year, on July 10 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., visitors are welcome to stroll from one home to the next, spending as much time as they choose in each location and chatting with costumed tour guides. Each house has a unique historical background, a story or folklore told by these well-versed, Colonial-clad escorts.
Stone House Day also offers a number of free attractions: There will be a Revolutionary War military encampment, an 18th-century music group, Native American dancers, the annual Library Fair with hundreds of books for sale, plus Colonial craft sales and demonstrations and homemade food for purchase in the cafeteria at the Hurley Reformed Church. Visitors can stop in at the two local antique shops and numerous community yard sales to find just the right souvenir. And a special dramatic performance of Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech will be given by the talented Debra Zuill.
One of the stone homes is now the Hurley Heritage Society Museum, and it will be open along with the Ulster County Genealogical Society, housed in the 1853 classic white church. The Society attracts many who want to trace their Dutch lineage or find family names on the weathered stones in the 300-year-old burial ground.
Now a feature on New York State’s Revolutionary War Heritage Trail and a National Historic Landmark – the highest federal designation for historic sites – Hurley’s Main Street offers an opportunity to walk in the footsteps of our region’s original settlers. The Street will be closed to traffic in order to provide a safe, leisurely walking tour, and a free shuttle-bus service will allow ticketholders to reach the two stone houses not located on Main Street. Tour tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and students, $2 for children aged 5 to 12 and free for children under 5. The Hurley Reformed Church is located at 11 Main Street. Parking is free. Call (845) 331-4121 or visit www.StoneHouseDay.org for further information.
@ Ann Hutton