Colonial Christmas Returns to Bedminster

Colonial Christmas at the Jacobus Vanderveer House

The historic Vanderveer House in Bedminster celebrates the holiday season with Colonial Christmas Nov 29 thru December 8, 2019.

Holiday decorations for sale at the Jacobus Vanderveer House in Bedminster, New Jersey.

Who likes history? Who likes Christmas? There’s an event that’s been going on just after Thanksgiving for 16 years at a beautifully restored colonial home in Bedminster, New Jersey. The event is called Colonial Christmas and it’s time to recognize what a great event it is. Called the Jacobus Vanderveer House (pronounced  Jake-O- Bus Vander Veer – it’s a Dutch thing), has transformed into one of the most beautifully restored revolutionary war era federal homes in America. But it’s colonial Christmas where a local non-profit is combining history, tourism, tradition, and a whole bunch of  Christmas spirit. Put them all together and you’ve got one fantastic event.

Tis’ the Season

This interpretative event has it all. It teaches you things, and it brings you into the Christmas season spirit. Not to mention it’s a great way to use such a great historic venue. Because once a historic site is repaired, the most important thing that can be done is to bring that history to life. Stories can be told. Traditions can be handed down from generation to generation. And best of all, the historic facility is open!

Colonial Christmas kicks off with a holiday tree lighting November 29 at 6:30pm followed by a candlelight tour at 7:30.

Colonial Christmas is an event that’s been sponsored for the last sixteen years at the Jacobus Vanderveer House in Bedminster, New Jersey. Home to New Jerseys premier colonial Christmas event, they’ve been celebrating Christmas “Colonial Style” in style only found in Colonial Williamsburg.

Colonial Christmas

The Jacobus Vanderveer House - Bedminster
Mark your calendars. The Jacobus Vanderveer House in Bedminster, New Jersey serves as host to the Colonial Christmas celebration.

Colonial Christmas takes place normally on the last weekend of November and the first week of December at the Jacobus Vanderveer House and Museum, also know as the General Knox Headquarters. Sponsored by a non-profit organization called the Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House, Colonial Christmas brings the community together, celebrates history, celebrates colonial Christmas, and reminds everyone that this New Jersey area is truly part of America’s heritage and the cockpit of the American Revolution. Colonial Christmas is the Friends annual fundraiser and it’s only opportunity to raise funds for programs at the house. The Vanderveer House served as the Headquarters of General Henry Knox, the father of the American Artillery during the revolutionary war.

Hanging lanterns were part of past Colonial Christmas events at the Vanderveer House. Don't miss this great event.
Hanging lanterns were part of past Colonial Christmas events at the Vanderveer House. Don’t miss this great event.

Local Artisan Vendors

At the 2019 Colonial Christmas event, the Friends of the Jacobus Vanderveer House will celebrate its seventeenth anniversary. There are a variety of reasons why people attend Colonial Christmas.  “There’s so much to see at Colonial Christmas, we can’t tell you how excited we are to come every year,” noted a couple who visits every year.

Did you see the rose wreath and the rose decorated Christmas tree? It’s all real! Dave Mitchell from Still Life is amazing!

Participating vendors have shifted over the years, but there is a fantastic local shopping experience where visitors can get typically locally made gifts. Antiques are also typically on loan from the Newark Museum and will only be on loan for a short time.

Colonial History – Knox Style

General Henry Knox at the age of 33
General Henry Knox – Pluckemin Cantonment Vanderveer House NJ

Whether you come to see the colonial house, the beautiful handmade decorations, the fresh cut trees, the antiques on loan, or to just get into the spirit of the holidays, there’s plenty to see and do at Colonial Christmas. Even Santa attends! Carolers attend, storytelling for the kids, boutique shopping, and yes colonial history. Actors and reenactors are dressed while they greet visitors and tell stories of little Julia Knox and the winter General Knox built America’s first military academy at the foothills just down the road. Not many people realize that America’s first West Point was here a full 23 years before the USMA at West Point. That’s just another reason to see the house.

General Henry Knox - Pluckemin Cantonment Vanderveer House NJ - Mr. Local History #mrlocalhistory
This drawing, nicknamed the Lillie Drawing was created in 1778 by Col. John Lillie and was the proof needed to validate the Pluckemin Cantonment was America’s first military academy. See the Mr Local History research on the Pluckemin Cantonment. Click Here

Historic Rendering

In 2012, the Friends showcased the commissioned painting of General Henry Knox at Pluckemin. An exhibition of paintings by noted American landscape artist John Phillip Osborne, including the unveiling of a specially commissioned painting of  Gen. Henry Knox.  Exhibit courtesy of the Stringer Gallery, Bernardsville. Colonial holiday decorations by David Mitchell, Artistic Director, Still Life Fine Event Design, Harding, NJ. Period costumes and a wonderful holiday shopping boutique also is offering toys, decorations, jewelry, and assorted holiday gifts by local artisan retailers.

Trustees of the Friends of the Vanderveer House introduced a new painting depicting General Henry Knox at Pluckemin during the winter of 1778.

The Osborne painting is the first interpretation painting of the historic site. It’s like you’re looking at the first rendition of Valley Forge….how cool is that?

Additional Information

Every year you have to decide how you want to get into the spirit of Christmas. The Colonial Christmas at the Jacobus Vanderveer House is one of the best you’ll find anywhere. Admission is $10 for adults, and kids under 10 are free. Visit www.jvanderveerhouse.org to learn more about Colonial Christmas. And be careful….you might just learn something about one of the most forgotten General’s of the American revolution.

Tell them Mr. Local History sent you!

Mr Local History

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