Huguenot Street tours spotlight Munsee foodways, ghosts & cider in New Paltz

(Photo by Mookie Forcella)

This Saturday would be a great day to spend in New Paltz, bookended by two special events hosted by Historic Huguenot Street. From 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., ethnoecologist Justin Wexler will be your guide for “Summers of Growth: Fruits, Greens and Sun,” the third in a series of four nature treks collectively titled “Everywhere at Home: How Local Native People Once Lived with the Land.” The Munsee people who were indigenous to the Wallkill Valley led a semi-nomadic existence, tethered in summertime to the fertile floodplains where they raised their staple crops – maize, squash and pole beans, the famous Three Sisters – but ranging far afield when fish spawned in spring, tree nuts were ripe for collecting in autumn or large game became easier to trap and hunt in winter. Wexler’s entertaining and informative walks identify local flora and fauna and explain their material uses in native culture while also explaining the species and the surrounding ecosystems through Munsee language and folklore.

The group will check in at the DuBois Fort Visitor Center at 10:50 a.m. on Saturday, August 10, gather at the adjacent wigwam and proceed through the Nyquist-Harcourt Wildlife Sanctuary, whose entrance is also on Huguenot Street. Tickets for “Summers of Growth” cost $20 general admission. Saturday, August 17 is the rain date.

A return to the Visitor Center in the evening is warranted by an expanded offering of one of the historic site’s most popular annual activities: Haunted Huguenot Street, which is normally only conducted during the weeks immediately preceding Halloween. But the wild and wooly tales of past residents who lived in the street’s stone houses and experienced terrible tragedies, encountered apparitions and held paranormal investigations are just too much fun not to be told at other times of year.

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This new event, titled “Cider & Spirits: A Haunted Walking Tour of Historic Huguenot Street,” pairs the ghost stories and unsolved mysteries with a sample of delicious locally made hard cider – the year-round alcoholic beverage of choice for the region’s European settlers – provided by the Kettleborough Cider House in Gardiner. The tour runs from 7:30 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, August 10. Entry, including one glass of cider, costs $15 general admission; additional drinks will be available for purchase at $3 per glass of cider, $1.50 for bottled water. 

Discounted admission for both tours is available for Historic Huguenot Street members, seniors, students, active military, veterans and children under 13. To reserve your spot for either, call (845) 255-1889 or visit www.huguenotstreet.org/events-and-exhibitions.

Summers of Growth: 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., $20; Cider & Spirits: 7:30-9 p.m., $15; Saturday, Aug. 10, Historic Huguenot Street’s DuBois Fort Visitor Center, 81 Huguenot St., New Paltz, (845) 255-1889, www.huguenotstreet.org 

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