Queens Stories and Tips

Queens Museum Farm, Bellerose

A lesson in soapmaking Photo, Queens, New York

The Queens Museum Farm is located on Lakeville Road between Union Turnpike and the Grand Central Parkway. Originally built in 1772, with extensions added in 1855. The farmhouse itself is a blend of Dutch and English architectural styles. Aside from the regular tours they offer, on September 23rd, they had a festival on the grounds which drew hundreds of people from all over. I thought it might be a good opportunity to revisit, as I had been here about 16 years ago when Michele was a tot.

The farm grounds appeared much larger than they used to be; we had to park way in the back in a large grassy field of which I have no recollection. The sheep population seemed to have quadrupled easily; you could also pet pigs, roosters, ewes and kids seem to be having the most fun doing that. $1.00 could buy you a cup filled with pellets for the animals.

On the south end of the park were the usual favorite rides and the lines were long. There was an "Oktoberfest" band dressed appropriately under a special tent with tables and theater style seats for those enjoying the music with beer. In the southernmost tip of the farm were a number of craft vendors offering antiques, jewelry, old fashioned mirrors, handmade soaps. Chiropractic received extra attention here; two booths, one of which tested the level of stress in my lower back. When the guy told me that I lit up like a Christmas tree, that was my exit cue.

Food vendors didn't have to hawk their stuff; the smell brought you to their stalls. Grilled corn was popular as I could see many folks walking around with one hand occupied with an ear. The museum shop was minimal, at best, and I really don't recommend you bother unless you have nothing better to look at. Next to the shop was a table offering locally made jams and butters. Across the way, was a frocked woman explaining the history of soapmaking to a group of visitors.

Although I saw signs of a puppet and magic show, I could never find it. Kids were doing tight rope walking which I wanted to try, but I'd have to be 4 feet tall or under. So I took pictures instead. The main attraction here seemed to be a burly man with a boa wrapped around his neck; heregain, while adults cringed, children were pleading to pet the creature or have it adorn their necks for a few seconds. I got close enough to take a picture of its face. I commented that he'd make a hell of a pair of shoes! This was not appreciated by the owner, as you can imagine.

Oh, let's not forget the hay ride. For $1.00, you could ride all day, as well as get dropped off at the rear parking area which could relieve some of the walking pressure. Something I found very interesting as well was a visit to a genuine tepee, with an Indian reservation guy who was explaining how they put tepees together, stay clean, stay warm, without all the modern conveniences we seem to not be able to do without. I don't remember this having been as much fun 15 years ago!

Been to this destination?

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