Return to recreations of simpler times at the Hagley


January 22, 1995|By Dorothy Fleetwood | Dorothy Fleetwood,Contributing Writer

How did people amuse themselves in the days before television, movies and electronic games? Visitors to the Hagley Museum in Wilmington, Del., will learn the answer during two presentations of "Winter Life," scheduled from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. today and again Feb. 12.

The museum, on the site of the original du Pont mills, estate and gardens, is dedicated to preserving the lifestyles of a 19th-century industrial complex. Blacksmith Hill, the millworkers community, is normally closed to the public on weekends in the winter, but on these two occasions the area will be open.

In the restored home of powder-yard foreman John Gibbons and his family, visitors can participate in parlor games, look through a stereoscope to view three-dimensional pictures and enjoy music played on a reed organ and autoharp. In the kitchen, an interpreter will prepare coffee as it was made in the 19th century, by brewing freshly ground coffee beans on a wood-burning stove.

Open daily, the museum is operating on its winter schedule through March 14. Weekdays, the museum opens at 1 p.m. for a 1:30 p.m. guided tour; on weekends, hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is $9.75 for adults; $7.50 for seniors and students; $3.50 for ages 6 to 14; free for under 6. There is also a $26.50 household admission. Use the museum entrance off Route 141 in Wilmington. For information, call (302) 658-2400.

Birthday for the Lees

Robert E. Lee, born Jan. 19, and his father, Gen. Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee, born Jan. 29, will be honored at joint birthday celebrations today in Alexandria, Va.

The Boyhood Home of Robert E. Lee at 607 Oronoco St., which was the general's home for most of his youth, will observe the younger Lee's birthday and also celebrate the 200th anniversary of the house. The Lee-Fendall House, across the street at 614 Oronoco St., will pay tribute to his father. The home has been occupied over the years by 38 members of the Lee family.

Both homes will be open for tour from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Costumed docents will be on hand to answer questions and acquaint visitors with the many contributions made by the two men. A combination ticket costs $6; $2 for ages 11 to 17; free for under age 11. Call (703) 548-1789.

Ski west

Several miles of marked trails for cross-country skiing can be found in the state forests and parks of Western Maryland. In Garrett County there are 10 miles of groomed trails at New Germany State Park in Grantsville ([301]) 895-5453). The park office at New Germany is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day, and hours are extended to 8:30 p.m. on Fridays. There is a $2 per person fee on weekends and holidays; other days admission is free.

Herrington Manor State Park near Oakland ([301]) 334-9180) has six miles of groomed trails, ranging from beginner to difficult. The park is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. When trails are groomed there is a $1 charge; otherwise the trails are open free of charge. Both parks have cabins for rent and warming huts with food concessions. The cabins are a popular choice for weekend getaways, so be sure to call ahead to check availability. At Herrington Manor, ski equipment can be rented right in the park, and at New Germany, you can rent equipment just outside the park, on Lower New Germany Road.

An eight-kilometer, kick-and-glide, cross-country ski race is scheduled at 10 a.m. Saturday at Herrington Manor State Park. Open to all ages, the race consists of three race courses -- one for adults (ages 12 and up), another for children ages 8 to 11, and the third for youngsters ages 1 to 7. Prizes and trophies are awarded in each category. Registration begins at 8 a.m. Entry fee is $5 for adults; $1 for age 12 and under.

The annual cross-country ski race at New Germany State Park will take place at 10 a.m. Feb. 4. Again there will be races for all ages: an eight-kilometer race for ages 12 and older over varying terrain; a two-kilometer race for ages 8 to 11 over a flat course and an 1/8 -mile race for the youngest skiers up to age 7. This race will be held in front of the warming hut after the other two races. Registration will take place from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the warming hut. The fee is $5 for adults; $1 for under 12. If snow conditions are not favorable by noon Feb. 3, the event will be canceled.

Garden fun

Fabulous Fun Days are available for children at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pa., periodically through March.

The Prism Quartet, a saxophone chamber ensemble, performs a variety of music, ranging from classical to jazz, and offers a close look at the latest addition to the wind instrument family, the Yamaha WX11 Electronic Wind Controller, at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Other performances are Synth Trax, an introduction to electronic music for ages 6 to 10, at 1 p.m. Feb. 18; a drama about racial and cultural issues by Touchstone Theatre at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Feb. 25; Kindermusik with the Wilmington Music School, a sing-along, dance-along for ages 3 to 5 at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. March 18; and a performance of "Peter and the Wolf" as well as a behind-the-scene look at Longwood's Aeolian organ at 2:30 p.m. March 26. On Jan. 28, Feb. 25 and March 18, children can also pot a plant to take home at the Conservatory Potting Shed between 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. and participate in a self-guided Conservatory Plant Hunt.

Longwood Gardens is on U.S. Route 1 near Kennett Square. For ticket information call (800) 737-5500 or (610) 388-1000.

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