It was supposed to be a quiet weekend, until all hell broke loose. It happened when a crowd appeared last Saturday outside the Victorian historic home (1872) on Woodbridge’s main street. They came to celebrate the arrival of the Christmas season. It turned out to be one heck of a street party.
Each year volunteers deck the house and surrounding property with Christmas lights, ornaments. Then open the doors to welcome anyone curious about why the house (1872) is still standing tall. This year the crew put their heads together and switched gears.
A little bit of PR helped, inviting anyone and everyone to jump-start the Christmas season. It was even more of a blast from the past. It drew hundreds like moths to the flame.
Big time by Woodbridge standards. Take Saturday night. People of all ages, many well past their bedtimes, packed the main street outside the venerable old house. Music filled the night air. Two live reindeer with full antlers stared silent at two-legged creatures staring back at them.
There was a lineup around the corner made up of families waiting for a free “sleigh ride”, despite it being a wagon on rubber wheels due to no snow. Drawn by a team of beautiful black horses (see below) who seemed to be enjoying the outing as much as everyone else.
Sunday drew just as large a crowd. Inside the house were guided tours of the town’s history shown in original photos and illustrations of what Woodbridge looked like way back. Furniture from a bygone era. Faces staring out from frames on the wall.
The Victorian house, with its wide covered veranda on two sides, stands proud in its own plot of garden and lawn and shrubs, separated from apartment buildings by its solid wrought iron fence. It was here on the small concrete plaza beyond the fence where a continuous string of open canvas tents showed off handicrafts and the usual whatnots. Freshly made muffins, cookies.
And who knows where the lawn chairs came from on the plaza where several open log fires were burning, safely, and kept alight by members of the historic house.
Most popular were chestnuts cooking on an open fire. They ran out of them three times. Food trucks pressed to the curb added their own specialties to the party.
Also inside were tables for kids to draw, play board games and drink hot chocolate. More history was displayed on the second floor, reached by carpeted stairs and the original wooden banister.
Author’s comment: There are so many distractions this time of year, yet hundreds were drawn to Woodbridge over the weekend, wrapped warmly and enjoying the spontaneity. Like Carmine Cogliano, a local resident, who came to see what all the fuss was about. “I couldn’t believe the crowd, the music and everyone enjoying themselves,” he said. “It was all new to me.”
(Courtesy of Nancy R. Payne)