Philipsburg Manor


Saturday morning, Kara called.  “Hey, we’re going to blah blah blah and wanted to see if….”


When it comes to Kara, my answer is just always going to be yes.  I honestly didn’t even hear where she said we were going, or how long it would take to get there.  I just knew her family was going to pick up my family in an hour.  Her track record is proven, and I just don’t even need to know.

She took us to Sleepy Hollow, NY.  Excited as I was to see a headless horseman, none appeared.  But we did make it to Philipsburg Manor, which has been on my list of places I would like to see ever since I’d seen in written up on Mommy Poppins. Via the Hudson Valley official website:

It’s 1750, and Philipsburg Manor is a farming, milling, and trading center owned by the Philipses, a family of Anglo Dutch merchants.  They rent land to tenant farmers of diverse European backgrounds and rely on a community of 23 enslaved Africans to operate the complex.”

There are farm animals roaming around and of course I was the one to get in trouble for petting them.  Until that day, I had never been reprimanded by someone dressed up in period costume from the 18th century so that was new.  Roan and Sachin were able to practice sawing wood, they got to chase a few chickens, and Roan even touched a cat. See? City kids aren’t afraid of farm animals!


The tour of the 300-year old manor house is a powerful thing, as the guide walks you through a typical day as a slave working at the complex.  She also points out that as the assets were sold from the manor, an inventory list was made. On the list are furniture items, and children.  A boy of eight years old was sold to a new owner, while his parents were parsed out to different places.  Roan didn’t understand what the guide was saying and asked me to clarify, but I just couldn’t.  How can you begin to approach the concept of slavery with a four-year old?  Some day I’ll have to figure out those words, but I couldn’t do it that day. 

It is a quick drive to Philipsburg Manor, and such a perfect place to go, especially this time of year.  If you time it right you can milk a cow.  So there’s that.  But the scenery is awesome, there’s a lot of space for kids to run around, and if you have a husband who is still twelve in his heart, you can laugh instead of strangle him as he tries to get your son to believe what’s all over the ground are “chocolate covered raisins”.  Poop really is always funny.

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