The historic Van Nest – Hoff – Vannatta Farmstead in Harmony Township will be hosting Warren Preservation Day on Sunday, May 21, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This free event is rain or shine and the day will feature live music and other entertainment, historic displays, reenactors, informative talks, guided hikes and more.
Sponsored by the Warren County Board of Chosen Freeholders through the Department of Land Preservation, the event is intended to highlight the open space and historic preservation projects that have taken place throughout the county. Previous Preservation Day events have been held at the White Lake Natural Resource Area in Hardwick Township, Rutherfurd Hall in Allamuchy Township, and the Ramsaysburg Historic Homestead in Knowlton Township.
“Warren County is blessed with some pretty outstanding historic treasures. With sustained support from the County Freeholders and municipal leaders, local groups have been able to bring many unique sites like this farmstead back from the brink of disaster,” says Corey Tierney, Director of Preservation for Warren County. “We are proud to be a funding partner on so many important historic preservation projects throughout the county, but the restoration of these marvelous sites wouldn’t have been possible without enduring community support. Behind nearly every successful project, there’s a group of local individuals whose enthusiasm and commitment are really the driving force.”
The Van Nest – Hoff – Vannatta Farmstead is a significant site listed on both the New Jersey State and National Registers of Historic Places. It is a remarkable representation of our architectural and agricultural heritage from the pre-Revolutionary period up to the 20th century. The site has been a labor of love led by the Harmony Township Historic Preservation Commission and it is a 2013 State Historic Preservation Award winner. The grounds are open to the public daily and open houses are held in the Spring and Fall allowing access to the site’s buildings.
“We are really excited to showcase this wonderful site,” says Tierney. “We have a long history of farming in this region and this site does a wonderful job of sharing our story.”
Guided tours of the late 18th Century stone farm house and early 19th Century bank barn will be held at Sunday’s event. In addition, visitors are invited to join the Metrotrails group for an early bird hike from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. The event will formally kickoff with opening remarks at 10 a.m. by representatives from Warren County Freeholder Director Richard D. Gardner, Harmony Township officials, and other local dignitaries. There will be a Wild Edibles and Medicinal Plants hike led by Wild Ridge Plants at 12 p.m. followed by a live animal demonstration by Rizzo’s Wildlife Discovery at 1 p.m. There will also be over dozens of exhibitors, live music throughout the day by Davey and the Waverunners, and food will be available for purchase from CheezeN Gourmet Grilled Cheese.
“It has taken years, sometimes decades, to restore many of these buildings. But some pretty remarkable people freely give their time to conduct the research, share a site’s history with others, apply for grants, oversee the various craftsmen, and much more,” explains Tierney. “What’s most inspiring though, is that they do all of this in a way that not only enriches Warren County’s historic landscape, but they do it in a way that brings our entire community together. And that’s really what Warren County’s Preservation Day is all about.”