On Saturday, June 15 we launched our summer walking tour, “In Mr. Stickley’s Steps” with a special preview for Stickley Museum members. The Craftsman Farms Walking Tour will be offered regularly through the summer beginning this Saturday. Guest blogger and Education Intern, Alexa Logush, offers up some of her thoughts on the inaugural tour in today’s blog.
The Stickley Museum’s new walking tour debuted on Saturday, June 15, 2013, offering a new look at the grounds at Craftsman Farms. This marvelous, two-hour tour explores the beauty and history of the museum, allowing its visitors to discover the North Cottage, White Cottage, the old orchards, and dairy barn, which are sights not typically visited on a regular house tour. Visitors also can enter the North Cottage and truly witness what life was like when Gustav Stickley and his family lived at Craftsman Farms. Tours are offered on the second, third, and fourth Saturdays of July and August.
Walking through the grounds of Craftsman Farms provides adventuresome Arts and Crafts lovers with a rich display of the very present past. As a relatively new summer intern here at the Stickley Museum, I began the walking tour with an open mind and my trusty Canon camera dangling from my neck. Feeling the sun on my face and the light breeze at my back, it could not have been a more perfect day to experience this particular tour. Led by our guide, Pete, as a group, we were able to mosey about the grounds, listening intently to the truth behind events that once occurred beneath our very feet.
The walking tour expands the world of the Stickley family so that sights seem to come to life as you walk along, listen, and learn. Beginning at the Stickley house entrance, the tour emphasizes quiet reflection and a true connection with the world around you. It’s easy to become lost among the magnificent greenery, brawny stonework, and jovial foxgloves of Craftsman Farms. Crumbling brick and aged structures, such as the old fire-stricken dairy barn, add a slight hint of mystery to the history of the area. At certain points on the tour, I found myself a part of the past. I could see horses lazily nodding their heads near the dairy barn and the older Stickley girls walking arm in arm across the now hidden paths of the rose garden.
Each individual on the tour becomes acquainted with their own experience that is unique to their personal interests and knowledge. Stickley enthusiasts will be thrilled to experience entering the North Cottage, settling into the Arts and Crafts style furniture there, and simply walking alongside the old vineyard, freeing their imaginations.
Personally, I don’t believe I’ve ever experienced something quite like the walking tour. It encouraged me to find my place at Craftsman Farms, allowing me to see what once went on there. The magic of Craftsman Farms tingles through your toes and fingertips, urging you to discover more. I suppose the grounds, bursting with life and beauty, really speak to you, coaxing you to share your own stories as it shares its stories with you.
– Alexa Logush is a junior at The College of New Jersey, studying History and English. She will be interning at the Stickley Museum throughout the summer to learn more about the Arts and Crafts movement, the Stickley family, and Craftsman Farms. The Stickley Museum first struck her interest when her high school Art History teacher mentioned Arts and Crafts-era furniture and Gustav Stickley during class. She is eager to learn more about the world of the Stickley family.
The Craftsman Farms Walking Tour will be offered most Saturdays in July and August. Visitors are encouraged to wear comfortable walking shoes. Bathroom breaks are offered throughout the tour and drinking water is provided. See StickleyMuseum.org for more information and to make reservations.