A Candlelight Christmas Stroll

December 22nd, 2013 by Magdalena Tabor

We are fortunate to live here on Long Island, a place rooted in history. These roots are yet very much alive, nurtured by unique individuals who still take the time to learn ways long since forgotten. There’s no doubt in my mind, I was born in the wrong century and because of it I often times grab Michael by the hand where it’s off to another 19th century adventure, a kind of time travel using the Jeep as our vehicle to get there. Michael always complies even though I can tell he’s not really into it……at first. But he ultimately ends up saying, “Wow! That was great!”
Last night we visited a place very dear to both of us. Old Bethpage Village Restoration is comprised of over 50 structures on 209 acres depicting life in the 1800’s. Best of all, it’s less than 15 minutes away. It’s a place that draws you to her, not as spectator, but as participant to life foreign yet oddly familiar. There are no guides, only roads with old homes and buildings spaced comfortably apart, much as a real village might have been back in the day. Here and there are folks dressed of the period going about their daily business. But if you enter one of the homes, they’ll tell you all about it. Each of the structures was rescued somewhere on Long Island and brought here for safekeeping. Fascinating by day, but come nightfall, the last two weekends before Christmas are transformed into something that can only be described as magical.
We enter the village from a road placed quite a distance from it. That road is lined with gaslit lamp posts until we draw close enough to the village itself. There are no lights other than the houses and shops lit with candles, so one would be advised to bring his own battery operated lantern to traverse the terrain between them. Trust me, it doesn’t detract from the overall effect. You’re so busy looking around, you quite forget yourself and the modern day world.
We first came upon some Civil War soldiers taking a respite with some humble Christmas offerings sent from “home”. I must say, they looked very impressive in their uniforms, and with just the candle burning and a small campfire nearby, it was rather like you were transported to their era. They spoke of their longing for Christmas at home and joked good naturedly.
A little further up the road we came upon some carollers authentically attired and in perfect tune. Behind them near the Noon Inn a cozy bonfire blazed invitingly with rustic benches on either side where one could sit and stare at the embers flicking away like fireflies into the night. The inn offers homemade cookies and apple cider for a modern day price.
Ambling further up the road, musicians at the schoolhouse played to a packed house so we peered in through the window and marvelled at the old bubbly glass. Somehow, you just haven’t lived until you see life as it was through old window panes. The muffled strains of fiddle and guitar could be heard from within.
There are broom makers, story tellers, parlor music, contra dancers, crafts and events too numerous to mention. For a mere ten dollars, you can travel backwards in time to your heart’s content and come away wishing you could stay in one of those candle lit homes for the night. As the Jeep pulls into the driveway and we unlock the door, I flick on a light and bask in the warm glow of the 21st century. Let’s have one of those muffins I made earlier that didn’t get scorched on an open hearth somewhere back in time. I’m betting they taste as sweet.Candlelight Evening

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One Response to “A Candlelight Christmas Stroll”

  1. Michael Tabor Says:

    Some FB comments;

    Tracy – I just moved to Long Island. I have to check this out.

    Cindy – I love that kind o f stuff

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