A few weeks ago we decided to take a historical field trip to a place called Fosterfields. We never heard of it before but it sounded neat because it had an interactive farmhouse that I thought the boys would like. The cost was $20 for the total four of us and I think we got so much out of that! It was very worth it compared to entry costs we’ve had elsewhere. We got there right in time for a horse carriage tour with guides dressed the part (all those who were there were really nice). Learning the history even captivated our sons, which was great. It was so enjoyable!Caroline Foster was the last person to live at “The Willows” at Fosterfields (the main house). She lived to be 102 years old and had no family so she donated the entire area and her very old buggies and cars as well to NJ to use for whatever they wanted. They made a small museum out of the vehicles nearby the farm.
Charles Foster, Caroline’s father, had moved into the house in 1881. He was a cattle breeder and corn grower but “introduced new innovative-technology such as the use of pit silos for ensilage, crop rotation to ensure soil nutrients, and steam power to mechanize the farm.”
The property originally was owned in the early 1700s and was a known farm since 1760 by Jonathan Ogden. Paul Revere’s grandson bought it in 1854, building the gigantic “three-story Gothic Revival home”, naming it “The Willows” before selling it to Charles Foster. We didn’t get a chance to go inside it, though they do have tours of it available. Big houses aren’t really our thing I suppose! There is a cute little ice house outside of it where over 20 tons of ice was kept.
Caroline Foster felt the house was far too large so she spent three years building a little cottage based on one she saw in Cape Cod, MA. She called it the “Temple of Abiding Peace.” She started to build it in 1916. She built it all by herself. It still stands today, so I think she did a great job. It was really nice inside and Rob of course loved being inside of it especially. Funny how we’d rather explore small houses than a mansion.
The farmhouse was originally built in the 1700s but burned down in 1915. The house was for the superintendent named Edward Woods and his family. They rebuilt it within a year after the burning (which continues to stand). We got to go inside the house and get a small tour of the lower level. It was really cute. A farmer lives upstairs (to explain the air conditioner). Leto loved churning butter. The boys enjoyed getting water from the pump and watering the garden outside of the farmhouse. There was a room with quilting things and an old sewing machine that made me grin. There was a lovely pond and a farm hand house attached to the outhouse as well.
There were lots of things to do at the farm. The boys got to scrub down the tack as well as milk a pretend cow (they have real cow milking, but that was later on in the day). We got to visit the pigs, the pregnant cow, the horses, the sheep, the turkeys, and the chickens.