Tour Historic Barns Of Dutchess County — And Party At The End
Heermance Farm. Photos: Carol Pederson, Capturing Moments Photography.
By Lisa Green
Here’s the setup for the perfect September day in the Rural Intelligence region: Car, motorcycle or bicycle — unfamiliar country roads — historic barns — farm visits… and an end-of-the-day reception in a barn with food and drink catered by local purveyors. Oh — and live music, too.
Thanks to the Winnakee Land Trust, that day will actually happen on Saturday, Sept. 16. The annual self-guided tour of historic barns and working farms — this year’s is the 11th — is a northern Dutchess County signature event that allows city and country mice to explore the historic barns that hold the stories of the region’s past.
The tour begins at the Southlands Foundation’s recently restored South Barn in Rhinebeck and meanders throughout northern Dutchess County with stops at a handful of barns and farms. Tour takers are equipped with a map and information guide…and old-fashioned, printed driving directions, because GPS doesn’t always work in some locations.
“The barns on the tour this year are a little off the beaten path,” says Ellen Henneberry, director of development for the Winnakee Land Trust. “People will probably go on some roads they’ve never seen before.” Because they’re off the major byways, Henneberry suggests people pack a lunch to tide them over until the reception.
This is the first year cyclists have been invited to join the crowd. Eliminating the need for them to pedal their way all the way back to their cars at the end, Winnakee is having bicyclists start at the reception site (Heermance Farm) and providing shuttle transportation to the first barn (Southlands) on the tour.
And as for those barns — many, although not all, are Dutch barns, some still standing from the 18th century. Plenty of them are still in use or restored; some have been converted for adaptive reuse. Volunteer docents will be stationed at each barn, because it’s helpful to have someone on hand who’s knowledgeable about the history and architecture of these structures.
“People are totally amazed that these huge structures are often held together with wooden pegs. There’s not one nail,” says Larry Thetford, whose barn, loaded with artifacts on display, has been on the tour in past years. “It’s gratifying to see their reactions to the hand-hewn beams and super-fine joinery, and to watch them marvel at how the barns were put together with the limited tools and equipment of those days.”
The tour culminates with a “barn-rocking reception” at the Barn at Heermance Farm in Red Hook, with food prepared by Chocolate Mousse Catering and beverages courtesy of From the Ground Brewery and Schatzi Wines, with the “rocking” part provided by the Steven Michael Pague Ensemble.
The funds raised from this event will benefit Winnakee Land Trust, a nonprofit organization in Rhinebeck that works to protect and preserve the natural, agricultural, recreational, architectural, cultural, scenic, historical and open space resources of northern Dutchess County. (It also provides public recreational opportunities through its two parks — Drayton Grant Park at Burger Hill in Rhinebeck and Winnakee Nature Preserve in Hyde Park.)
Annual Tour of Historic Barns and Working Farms
Saturday, Sept. 16, 11 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Reception 4:30 – 6 p.m.
Tour begins at Southlands Foundation, 5771 Route 9, Rhinebeck, NY
$50 per person (children under 12 free).
Register online or call (845) 876-4213.