More than 100 guests get a taste of Christmases of yore at Hallockville Farm

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Elizabeth Maroney, left, and Aaron Candreva, both 6, learn how to bake the old fashioned way in the farmhouse kitchen.

More than 100 people spent Sunday afternoon exploring the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries at Hallockville Farm on Sound Avenue, getting a taste of a more simple time when Christmas was less commercial and more about family ties.

Christmas at Hallockville, a collection of 19 historic houses on 28 acres, is an annual trip back to yesteryear. The 2011 edition of the  holiday event was particularly special, according to executive director Dr. Herb Strobel. In addition to the usual attractions, it featured Polish history with a tour of the Cichanowicz homestead, replete with babka and spice cookies for guests.

Visitors  got a chance to learn about life there in the early 1900s, when a look out the window at the expanse of farmland was a close as people back then got to watching television. And when dinner time rolled around on Christmas Eve, everyone sat down at the table together, without cell phones, texting or any other interruptions of modern day, according to guide Carol Grzywinski.

In the living room, a simple Christmas tree decorated with paper chains and cutouts of angels sufficed for entertainment. And there were no extravagant gifts because money was tight, guide Paul Hoffman explained.

Kids hung their Christmas stockings out and — if they were fortunate — saw them filled with an orange, some walnuts and a few coins, he said.

“We come every year,” Theresa Kaya of East Moriches said about visiting Hallockville Sunday. Her 11-year-old son, Jonathan, “just loves it.”

Others pronounced the day a special way to enjoy family fun without a lot of expense in today’s difficult economy.

For the full story on Christmas at Hallockville, see Thursday’s News-Review.

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