Genesee Country Museum Adventure

It was a great day for an adventure! I woke up a little earlier than normal and, as usual, checked the weather for the day – mid-70s and mostly sunny! I thought to myself, hhhmmm – maybe I’ll pick something local from my summer bucket list and be spontaneous – make an impromptu day trip! But, then I remembered that I wanted (read: needed) to get some housework done! BUMMER! So, I resigned myself to spending the day catching up on things around the house. But, the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to take off on an adventure! So, I made a mental “to do” list and promised myself that if I could get everything on the list done by mid-morning, I would treat myself to an adventure! I got right on it — fed the girls and let them outside to play while I got to work……cleaned up the kitchen (I was on a cooking kick last night, so there were LOTS of dirty dishes to do up), ran the vacuum, cleaned the bathrooms, changed the sheets on the bed, ran a couple errands, and took some stuff out to Mom’s! Done!!! So, where did I want to go? I thought about the Kazoo factory/museum in Eden, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a nice day to do that and I didn’t want to waste a pretty day! I didn’t get an early enough start for some of the other things. So, Genesee Country Museum was the chosen destination — about a 40 minute drive away and mostly outside touring — easy 1/2 day adventure!

I was there a couple times maybe 35-40 years ago – I knew it was between Brockport and Leroy off of route 19 somewhere, but I wasn’t exactly sure where! The website said to take 19 toward Leroy and follow the green signs when you get to Mumford. To be sure I wouldn’t get lost (I get lost everywhere I go), I plugged in Gabby – my trusted GPS! I intended to pick up 19 south in Brockport, but Gabby had other plans for me. Usually, when I know basically how to get somewhere, I ignore her instructions until I’m in the general vicinity, but this time I decided to let her guide me the whole way. She really wanted me to take the scenic route!!! She directed me south through Clarendon to Byron and then zig zagged me around back country roads through Bergen and places I’m sure I’ve never been before – there were a couple points when I started to wonder if I made a mistake, but it turned out to be a really nice drive with lots of pretty scenery to look at along the way! And……she got me there – I’m sure it took longer than it would have if I had ignored her until after I got to Brockport, but that’s OK!

I arrived and went inside to get my ticket! It was GREAT! What a cool place! I’ve been to other 1800 – early 1900 villages like this before, but this one is set up really well and bigger than most I’ve seen in the past! Like most villages of this kind, all the buildings (with a couple of exceptions) were actually built during the 19th century and were moved from locations across the state to make up what a typical 19th century village would look like. Each building is set up as it was when it was in use and most have people dressed in period costumes performing the tasks associated with the building and going about the business of the residents of a village during that time in history. All the people were more than willing to explain what they were doing and give a glimpse into what it would be like to do it in the 19th century!

So, beyond the physical description in the last paragraph, what is Genesee Country Museum? Well, it is a step back in time to the 19th century. The brochure has two tag lines: “Touch, feel, smell, & taste the 19th century!” and “Spend a day, experience a century.” There are a lot of features on the grounds — the village, itself is broken up into three sections: “Pioneer Settlement (1780s – 1830s)”, “Antebellum Village (1830s – 1860s)”, and “Turn of the Century (1870s – 1920s)” and they also have the John L. Wehle Gallery, the Exhibition Barn, and the Carriage Museum. They have special exhibits and events throughout the year – I was given a “day sheet” of what was going on today – and they also have classes on various tasks from the 1800s, including cooking, gardening, crafts, and textile work. But, what really interested me was the summer camps they do for kids! Youth from 4 years old and up attend each day for a week, dress in period costumes, and live life as a pioneer, doing everything that a child living in the 19th century would do each day! I had the opportunity while I was there to watch a group of campers being taught a lesson on flower propagation in the school house, other children playing games in the meadow, and even more children dressed in civil war uniforms marching through the streets and in “battle”. It was so very cool! I wish there had been something like this when my son, Robby, was little – he would have really enjoyed it and I think it would have been a very valuable lesson for him!!!

I did not get to see everything – I thought it would be an easy 1/2 day adventure, but I discovered I was very wrong about that — you really need the whole day to do it justice and see it all! I gave up trying to squeeze it all in about 2:30 when I realized it was not going to be possible – I slowed down and took my time with what I could see and vowed to leave it on my list so that I remember to go back again to do the rest of it! I also would really enjoy doing some of the classes at some point, too! This is definitely a repeatable adventure – not something I can just say “been there, done that, cross it off the list”!!!

So, here is a sampling of the more than 50 photos I took – I used some restraint and didn’t snap a photo of everything I saw, but wish I had! hehehe

Before I get into the photos from the museum, itself, I want to include two I took on my back roads drive to get there! This thing caught my eye on one of the country roads just before turning onto the road the museum entrance was on. It is a rusted out piece of equipment that looks wild — sort of a railroad car with bulldozer belts for wheels and a back hoe scoop on the front (or is that the back?)!!! I saw it as I drove by and had to turn around and go back for a closer look and to take a few photos of it!

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Just look at that pulley system!!! This was some piece of equipment in its time!

And, now on to the Genesee Country Museum:

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I LOVE animals that are painted with scenes!!! This horse is no exception!

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This is part of the “Horses on Parade” project

It is titled “Livingston” and the artist is Terryl Butwid

I love that he has a bluebird on his top hat!!! 🙂

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Gazebo out in the middle of the yard where some of the camping children dressed in period clothing were playing old-time games! They were gone by the time I got close enough to get a photo! 😦

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I love stone fences – this one was in front of Thompson’s Tavern & Store, c. 1807 from Riga in Monroe County

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Boot and Shoe Maker’s Shop, c. 1820 from East Avon, Livingston County

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Romulus Female Seminary, 1855 from Romulus, Seneca County – set up as a school house

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The first time I visited this school house, there were visiting children being told what it would be like to attend school in the 19th century

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The teacher was telling the children about one-room school houses

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Showing a boy how he would have been taught to write the first letter of his name – “H” for Henry

She explained that penmanship was an important subject back then – one I am so sad to learn is no longer taught in our schools, today!

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I went back later when I saw children in costume entering the schoolhouse – these are this week’s campers who were actually attending a class as part of their typical 19th century day – the teacher was giving them a lesson on flower propagation!

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Some of the campers dressed as Union soldiers just before some Confederate soldiers came upon them!

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And, here are the campers as Confederate soldiers – they had just finished doing battle with the Union soldiers

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I believe this is the Humphrey House, 1818 from Lima in Livingston County – the lady was watching the civil war confrontation that happened in front of her home!

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Drug Store, Dressmaker’s Shop, and Cooper Shop

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Post Office and Tailor Shop

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Village Merchantile, c. 1830 from Rush in Monroe County

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This was an unfortunate sign of the times – the sign says “Quarantined: Scarlet Fever, Do Not Enter”

MacArthur House, built 1831 from York in Livingston County

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Printing Office, c. 1820 from Caledonia in Livingston County

This gentleman was showing some children how to set print letter by letter

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This Octagon House was in the “Turn of the Century” section – built 1827-1838 from Rochester in Monroe County

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This massive Italianate House is the Hamilton House, built in 1870 from Campbell in Steuben County

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On my way out, I had a late lunch at the Depot Restaurant

There was also a Civil War camp with a large civil war gas balloon called the Intrepid – I saw it from a distance, but didn’t get a chance to make it over to see it in person – hope it is still there next time I go. The brochure says they offer rides – not that I’d ever get up in one, but it would be super cool to see one up close!

After I left, I wasn’t real sure I could find my way back out, so I plugged Gabby back in and told her to “take me home”! The odd thing was that while she took me on the scenic route to get there, she wanted to put me on the thruway to go home! I wasn’t about to get on the thruway – I wanted to take route 19! But, it was really confusing right at that point – the thruway entrance, route 19, and 490 are all right there together! I got mixed up and didn’t turn onto 19 North — for some stupid reason, my directionally challenged brain thought I needed 19 South (duh, I was already south of where I needed to go), but I didn’t see a turn off for 19 South and ended up on 490 before I realized that is where I was headed and after it was too late to turn back! Luckily, Gabby recalculated and told me to get off on the exit for Bergen and I was back on track in no time! Thank you, Gabby, for always watching out for me!

As I made my way through downtown Bergen, I was stopped by a train! I sat there remembering how I used to love it when we had to stop for a train when I was a little girl – my brother and I would count the cars! Good thing I’m not still a little girl who likes to count the cars cause this was a VERY long train — all black tanker cars! I couldn’t wait for the caboose – another thing I used to really love to see when we had to stop for trains – there was always a guy on the back ready to wave back at us when we would wave frantically at him!!! 🙂  But, I was disappointed to find there wasn’t a caboose! I recently read an article that cabooses are becoming extinct and rarely seen anymore – guess it is true!!! A fond memory of mine was when a friend of Mom’s took us on a ride in the caboose he was in charge of one evening (I think I remember it was late and dark by the time we returned to where we started) – it was great fun and something I still remember to this day — I don’t remember who the friend was, but remember that ride!!!

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What a boring, long train with LOTS of these black tanker cars — one after the other that went on FOREVER!!!

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And instead of the highly anticipated caboose, there was just this ordinary railroad car!!! 😦

And, so, another adventure tucked away in my memory……and a start at whittling away at my summer bucket list – even though it won’t be taken off the list because I fully intend to return to see the parts I didn’t get to see today and maybe take in a class or two or three! It was a lovely day —- so glad I decided to get my work done early and head out and so glad I chose THIS adventure to do!!!

2 Comments on “Genesee Country Museum Adventure

  1. What a great tour Kim. I NEED to see that shovel in the first two photos. A day at Genesee Country Village and Museum is always a special day. Tom The Backroads Traveller

    • Tom — Not exactly sure which road the shovel was on, but I think it was either Circular Hill Rd or Gulf Rd. Off Rt 19, I took Parmalee Rd, then Oatka Trail, then Circular Hill Rd, then Gulf Rd, which then turned into Flint Hill Rd to come up on Genesee Country Village and Museum from the west. Hope that helps you find it!!!! 🙂

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