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Travel WNY: Explore Christmas Past at the Genesee Country Museum

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By Alicia Dziak

Each spring, SGI’s fourth grade students travel to the Genesee Country Museum, in Mumford, NY, to explore a historic village. This time of year, the museum offers festive opportunities to get you in the spirit of the holidays. The drive from Springville is under two hours, but it’s scenic and the only traffic you might run into is getting stuck behind a tractor.

Preparing for the Holidays the 19th-Century Way, Nov. 19, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

19th-century families needed to start early if they were going to be ready for the holidays.  Share in that age-old experience on Saturday, Nov. 19, as Genesee Country Village & Museum presents Preparing for the Holidays the 19th-Century Way.

There were candles to be made, root cellars to be filled and meats to be processed.  Most of the family pitched in to create the decorations that would bedeck their homes.  Finally came many hours of cooking and baking.  It was a special family time.

Activities will include tastings, mold making, sausage stuffing, smoking meats and other meat preserving, candle making, wool spinning, gift making and more.A holiday meal wouldn’t be complete without a ham.  Watch as expert carvers butcher the meat and learn about where food really comes from!

As part of Preparing for the Holidays, the Crafts at Christmas program will include traditional holiday crafts of the modern day (purchase of museum admission isn’t necessary to make the crafts).  In the 19th-century, nothing said, “You’re special,” better than a personally made item.  This is just as true today as it was more than 100 years ago.  Even if you are the special person you’re crafting it for!

Families looking to share that personal experience have the opportunity to continue that tradition at Genesee Country Village & Museum this season.  Again this year, the heated and expansive Conference & Banquet Center will be the staging area for Victorian gift and craft-making.  Enjoy some “me time” as you create holiday ornaments and gifts with your family and friends, then take a few moments to relax by the fireplace before venturing back out into the cold.  They cost $5 each and you can bring them home with you.

Breakfast with St. Nick, Nov. 26, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Enjoy a delicious breakfast with Santa himself on Saturday, Nov. 26.  The Conference & Banquet Center will be decorated for the season,  and kids are invited to crawl up on Santa’s lap.

In addition to the encounter with the 19th-century Jolly Old Elf, the museum is serving a kid-delicious breakfast, which includes plain and chocolate chip pancakes, served with spiced apples, whipped cream and syrup, sausage, scrambled eggs, cocoa with candy cane stir sticks and whipped cream, juice, tea and coffee. Each child will also receive a 19th-century treat from Santa.

Photographs are encouraged.

Seatings are at 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. & 12:30 p.m., and are limited to 110 people per seating for 9:30 and 11:30 a.m.; 120 people for 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

Cost is $15.  Children 1 and under are free.  No member discounts apply.

Reservations are required and are available online at www.gcv.org.

Yuletide in the Country, Fridays through Sundays, Dec. 2-18

Journey back through time on a guided tour of the historic village to meet characters from the past as they celebrate Christmas on December 2-4, 9-11 and  16-18.

This special program is different than a usual daytime visit to the museum. Using the historic village as its canvas, tour guides will lead guests through the snow-covered streets in the year 1849 when New York declared Christmas, Independence Day and New Years Day state holidays. Enjoy music, dancing and tree lighting as you visit village homes and businesses to see how residents react to the news of Christmas as a holiday!

Reservations are required. Cost is $23/$19 members. There is a $2 discount for tours booked on Friday, Dec. 2 and Sunday, Dec. 4.

Tour-goers may also purchase a mouth-watering dinner Yuletide buffet, served each day from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. Cost is $30 for adults, $16 for kids ages 4-10. Reservations are required

The buffet, catered by the Caledonia Village Inn, will include tossed garden greens with choice of dressings, artisan rolls and whipped butter, cranberry whip salad, broccoli cheddar bacon salad, tortellini salad with basil, craisins, toasted pecans and feta, potato salad with, champagne vinaigrette, chicken pot pie a la Bouquetiere, buttermilk biscuits, beef brisket with roasted red bliss potatoes, sweet potato souffle with pecan crust, garden and root vegetable ratatouille, assorted holiday pies, gold and silver holiday cut out cookies and sticky toffee date cake.

Genesee Country Museum is located at 1410 Flint Hill Road, in Mumford, NY. For more information about these and other upcoming events, visit www.gcv.org.

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