Cross the bridge over the river into Philipsburg Manor and step back in time. 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.
Interpreters in period costume invite you to stroll through the farm, with historic breeds of oxen, cows, sheep, and chickens. Participate in hands-on activities of the 18th century, and take in a theatrical vignette exploring the riveting yet little-known story of enslavement in the colonial north.
Step into the working gristmill, where, surrounded by the sound of rushing water and the creaking of wooden gears, you learn about the skills of Caesar, the enslaved African miller. A colonial bateau tied to the wharf reflects the flourishing river trade and the skills of Diamond, an enslaved riverboat pilot.
Tour the 300-year-old manor house. Its dairy, kitchens, bedchambers, warehouse rooms and parlor attest to its significance as a place of work, business, trade, leisure, and repose. Period artifacts and touchable reproductions give you an understanding of the people who lived and worked here.
Visit the activity center and explore the foodways, textile production techniques, and medicinal practices of Philipsburg Manor's inhabitants. Shell some beans, work flax into linen, or produce a tray of ship biscuits. Nearby is the slaves' garden, with vegetables and herbs for consumption, market, and medicinal purposes.
Enter the new world Dutch barn, thresh some wheat, carry some buckets, or help groom the oxen. With its pastoral setting, rich social history, hands-on activities, and demonstrations of colonial life, Philipsburg Manor provides everybody with an unforgettable experience.
© Roni Chastain Photography