Unlike the stone houses on New Paltz’s historic Huguenot Street, which are kept open to the public on a regular basis as a living museum, the 230-to-330-year-old dwellings of Hurley’s Dutch settlers are all still private homes today. Opportunities to visit these structures, which include some of America’s oldest stone houses, are therefore limited. Luckily, each year on the second Saturday in July, known as Stone House Day, the owners of some of Hurley’s most historic buildings throw their homes open for our enjoyment. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday, July 9, it’s your chance to pay a visit and inspect the stone houses’ fascinating interiors at your leisure during Hurley’s 66th annual Stone House Day.
The self-guided walking tour in the center of town this year will include most if not all of the following: the 1685 VanEtten/Dumond House, popularly known as the Spy House; the 1709 Ostrander/Elmendorf House, part of which served as a tavern during the Revolutionary War; the 1725 Polly Crispell Cottage and Johannes Crispell parsonage; the 1744 VanDeusen House, where New York State’s Committee of Safety met following the burning of Kingston in 1777; the 1789 Dr. Richard Ten Eyck House; and the Old Burial Ground. A little further afield, but accessible via a free bus tour, are the 1680 Cornelius Kool House and the 1663 Wynkoop House, which was used as a filming location for the movie Tootsie.
The Third Ulster Militia, attired as if it were 1777, will hold an encampment in Hurley that day. Spinners and weavers in Colonial garb will demonstrate their crafts, and kids can learn to make corn dollies. Additional entertainment will include performances of traditional Colonial Music by Dr. Howells’ Trio, American Indian Music and Dancers, Lonnie Kulick on the organ, Nancy Anderson on the violin and a reenactment of Sojourner Truth’s speech to Congress. At 2 p.m. on the lawn of the Hurley Heritage Society museum at 52 Main Street, Theatre on the Road will present the world premiere of Voices from the New Village, an original play depicting life in the Dutch Colonial village of Hurley in the mid-1600s. The Town Library Fair will also be taking place on Saturday, so bring along a sturdy tote bag!
Stone House Day goes on rain or shine. Parking is free, and a cafeteria will be open. Admission costs $20 for adults, $15 for students and seniors, which includes a $2 discount coupon for the cafeteria. Tickets cost $2 for children aged 6 through 12, and children aged 5 and under are admitted free. For more info, visit www.stonehouseday.org or www.facebook.com/stonehouseday.