Artist in Residence Joan Hoffmann, demonstrates plein air painting on the lawn of the mansion during the 100 year celebration at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park. (2016 Rick Russell Photo)
National Park Holds Annual Summer Celebration
Celebrate the National Park Service birthday and the lingering days of summer at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park’s Summer Celebration this Saturday, Aug. 26, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the park in Woodstock.
The Billings and Rockefeller families frequently entertained friends and family on the estate, a tradition that continues with this event. Bring a picnic and enjoy a relaxing afternoon in the beautiful gardens while listening to live music. Try your hand at lawn games like bocce, croquet, or giant jenga. Putt on the Rockefeller’s green, or play tennis with a pro from the Woodstock Inn on the estate tennis court. Create your own take-home flower arrangement from Mary Rockefeller’s cutting garden.
Younger visitors will enjoy Animal Olympics with rangers and traditional games from the 1800s with staff from Billings Farm & Museum.
Other special programs include: Curator tours of the Mansion at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., guided Valley Quest hikes at 12:30 and 2:30, an exploration of the “hidden” waterfall garden and its history at 2pm, plus short tours of the bowling alley, soda fountain and fallout shelter at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
A key feature of this event is the free Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller Mansion open house. Every other day of the season, the historic home is open only by space-limited guided tour, for which a fee is charged. During Summer Celebration, visitors can stroll through the first floor of the Mansion between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., with staff on hand to answer questions about the families, furniture, and art.
“This day is really about enjoying the spirit of summer just before kids go back to school and the autumn weather kicks in,” says Chief of Interpretation Stephanie Kyriazis, “Come to the park for hand-crank ice cream with Billings Farm & Museum staff, make origami flowers or paint a watercolor scene plein air, browse historic photos from the Billings and Rockefeller era, or take a walk in the forest. Enjoy the woods and garden while everything is green and in bloom.”
Or visitors can relax on the Mansion porch, enjoying a mild summer afternoon in Woodstock, just like the families who once called this place home would have done.
Check out https://www.nps.gov/ mabi for more information, or call 802-457-3368 ext. 222.