Saturday, October 17, 2015


On Friday we headed south to Columbia County;  which is less than an hours drive from my home.  We headed to Clermont State Historic Site for their 8th annual Legends by Candlelight Ghost Tours.
This beautiful home, which sits on the Hudson River across from the Catskills Mountains, was home to seven successive generations for the Livingston Family.  Robert Livingston is known for the drafting of the Declaration of Independence, administering the oath of office for George Washington and negotiating the Louisiana Purchase, among others.  The last family member bearing the Livingston name died in 1975 and the last descendant died a mere 15 years ago; in the cottage that is still on the property.  The park surrounding the mansion measures 502 acres of trails, picnicking and out buildings.

This event is so well designed and scripted.  The home is decorated as a Halloween party set in the 1920's and being the spiritualism was popular at this time a medium is present to see if she can conjure some past family members.  And low and behold she does!  Including Robert Livingston him self.  The "ghosts" are ALL VOLUNTEERS!  And WONDERFUL!!  The costumes were all hand sewn and so authentic.  So along with the fun of the 1920's inspired Halloween decorations and ghostly fun, it was a very well scripted history of the home and family.

The paths are lined with lighted carved pumpkins, and all the pumpkins were carved by the staff and volunteers.

The beautiful home.
The exterior decorations were hand made by the parks exceptional Gardner.
A few of the pumpkins on the stairs.
The river view side of the house.
Our guides into the house to meet the spirits.  The river side entrance to the mansion.
Unfortunately photos were not allowed in the house, but we were able to catch a few ghost outside the walls.  Anyway, I don't think it would be as easy to photograph ghosts inside.
What did I tell you about the costumes.
And these two little volunteers stole the show.
Our Medium.
After our guided tour we were treated to toasted marshmallows.
We strolled the gardens and picked our favorite pumpkins.
A pineapple.
A cute little mouse.
And a moon and stars.
Then out to enjoy the Hudson River and the spectacular view of the Catskill Mountains.
Then we headed back into the visitor center and gift shop to pick up some souvenirs and enjoy the displays.  But we also found some very pretty decorated pumpkins.
Some great information about the historic site here on their Face book Page.  Especially news about the site being featured on The History Channel, we can't wait and we will be watching!!!!
On Saturday we headed to the Shaker Heritage Society of Albany,
And although this is not a "spooky cemetery ghost tour" but more of a historic tour; walking around a cemetery at twilight is always perfect around Halloween.  And the Shakers were very into Spiritualism and did take part in seances and did invite Mediums to their community.
And, although Hancock Shaker Village in Hancock, MA; the settlement in Colonie is the FIRST.
But before we head over to the Shaker Heritage Society we stop for a little dinner.  Again, we decided to go the diner route and we chose America's Diner--Denny's.  Especially since they have their holiday menu out, with our favorite turkey.  We started with a cup of chicken noodle soup.
And then moved on to the turkey, and on this chilly Fall day, it hit the spot.
On to the tour.
The meeting house.
Inside the meeting house.
The barn and inside the barn.
And William, the gift shop cat (inside only! as it should be) watching the crowd on a woven shaker style chair.  He is a very friendly host.
On to the cemetery.
Mother Ann Lee's  grave.  One interesting story we heard this evening---when Mother Ann Lee was first buried she was buried where Albany County International Airport is now.  The Shakers felt all members should be buried on land they owned, since that land was being leased from the Patroons.  In the 1830's she and a few other members were moved and when they laid out the bones for the members to view, she had a cracked skull and several broken bones.  Meaning she was beaten?  Might she have lived past the young age of 48?
The cemetery was closed in 1938 and there are 445 members of the Shaker settlement buried under these simple stones.
Pretty little wildflowers growing among the stones.
And little white mushrooms popping up around pretty purple wild flowers.  Quite a contrast to the colorful Fall leaves and chilly October evening.
And since it is a bit chilly tonight, straight home after the tour and some nice hot apple cider, curled up in front of a fire to watch some t.v. with the girls.

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