Family Fun

A 19th century farm comes to life for kids of all ages.

By Jeannine Cromwell

For those who come to experience yesteryear interacting with historic interpreters is a must. You might find a blacksmith forging glowing hot metal by striking it with a hammer. In the original log house women in period clothing can be seen cooking and canning as they explain life in a 19th century kitchen. There, you can sample breads or other foods prepared the old way, on special event days. You can also visit with a very large pig, horses, sheep and other animals while learning about their roles on the farm.

Just a short walk up the path you will find a fan favorite: the Country Store. No doubt, every generation will delight in picking their favorite penny candy from the mouth-wateringly large selection. Bring home a taste of history. The honey and many of the kitchen utensils are made on the grounds of Carriage Hill. In addition to offering handmade items for sale it also hosts classes and workshops throughout the year so you can make your own keepsake.

Nestled inside the visitor center is an interactive “one room schoolhouse.” Children can be seen playing school, sitting at old desks, with achalkboard and chalk in hand. Within the same room is a classic playhouse with an 1880s kitchen and imitation food. This area gives kids a chance to re-create through imaginative play the working farm they explored. Think your kids are too old for this “pretend play area?” Think again, because this is a popular spot to take a “selfie” for older kids studying the 19th century in history class.

Not far from the visitors center the adventurous family can find more to explore, whether by foot or by horseback. The feeling of being one with nature overtakes the senses as the “clip clop” of horseshoes carry them along more than seven miles of bridle trails. The popular guided trail rides run June through October.

Finally, explore the natural habitat of local wildlife while hiking through meadows and prairies. Set back from the farm both Cedar Lake and North Woods Pond are easily missed by many visitors. The hiking trail loops around Cedar Lake where you can catch a glimpse of people fishing, snakes, frogs, birds and other creatures.

Those who come to Carriage Hill find a quiet paradise encompasses them. The beauty and slower pace make it seem as though you have entered a secret world.

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