Hamptons.com recently sat down with Paul Hoffman, President of the Board of Directors of the Hallockville Museum Farm
, and Herb Strobel
, Executive Director at Hallockville's 1870's Hudson-Sydlowski House, which serves as the Museum's administrative offices, meeting room and gift shop.
The property consists of 19 historic buildings on 28 acres of preserved farmland located on Sound Avenue in Riverhead. The Hallock family's acquisition of part of the property dates back to 1790. The Museum property is part of what is now a 540 acre preserve, including a state-owned park with a soon to be included visitor's center and public access road from Sound Avenue on the south to Long Island Sound on the north. The property has a circuitous history that included a plan to develop it as an industrial site as well as a LILCO nuclear facility. Key Span's acquisition of the property and the efforts of the local community and political leaders have brought it to its present state. My interest in writing about the Museum was to illustrate how it is not just about preserving the past, but how it contributes to the community's efforts to maintain and perpetuate the rural character of the North Fork.
What are some of the events that attract visitors to the Museum and have ancillary effects that benefit other businesses in the community?
The Fleece and Fiber Fair is a Hallockville highlight. (Photo: www.facebook.com)
Coming up on Saturday, May 14th and Sunday, May 15th, we are sponsoring our Fleece and Fiber Fair. Last year we attracted approximately 1,500 visitors to the North Fork. What's also nice is that it cuts across all ages - moms and dads, children and grandchildren, grandma and grandma. The activities include sheep herding and shearing, livestock and animal displays, and vendors selling hand-crafted yarns.
A big attraction is our Fall Festival and Craft Show scheduled for Saturday, September 10th and Sunday, September 11th. Last year we had about 6,000 visitors, also cutting across all age groups. It's our biggest fundraiser of the year. The tractor pull, model railroad and local food and beverage vendors are also popular attractions. Last year we chartered a bus to bring people out to the East End from New York City
We generate income by renting out Naugles Barn (constructed in 1937) for weddings and other functions, such as our annual Barn Dance held on the last Saturday in July as well as our Spring Tea in April. It's a unique way to celebrate special occasions in a 500 acre, 250 year old historical setting.
Something that I find particularly impressive is your summer camp program. Please tell us about that.
An archival picture shows what Sound Avenue could have become. (Courtesy Photo)
This is a summer day camp educational program that we offer in partnership with the Peconic Community School
to children locally and from the city. We offer a limited number of camp scholarships to children from deserving local families and invite community members to help make the camp even more special. It's a program we are very proud of and devoted to.
Years ago, we would have school buses visit the Museum almost every day of the week. Since school funding has been reduced, there are fewer funds available for school trips. Also, because the core curriculum focus on exams, the school administrators don't want to take time away from the classroom for school trips. Perhaps we can call that "collateral damage."
Author's Note: Hallockville Farm Museum is a not for profit 501C-3 corporation, self-funding and dependent upon donations. In addition to its Executive Director, the organization has one full time employee as well as volunteers. If you go to www.hallockville.com, you can learn more about the history and events offered by the Hallockville Museum Farm.
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