Genesee Country Village and Museum Hosts 19th Century Independence Day

The Genesee Country Village and Museum (GCV&M) is a living history museum 30 minutes southwest of Rochester, NY that replicates the lives and times of America in the 1800’s.  The Village consists of 68 historic buildings completely furnished with over 15,000 artifacts and staffed with historic interpreters in 19th-century garb.  Last year, our family took a step back in time for the annual GCV&M 4th of July celebration, and glimpsed how America might have celebrated the centennial of our independence in 1876.  This year’s 4th of July at the GCV&M features the launch of the Intrepid – the world’s first replica of a Civil War manned gas balloon.  Continue reading to learn how you can not only see, but also ride on this one of a kind attraction.

Our family loves history, and the Genesee Country Village and Museum is a perfect way to immerse oneself in the period.  The Village features numerous homes, churches, public buildings (town hall, school house, etc.), businesses, shops, and tradespeople.  Our favorites are the working buildings populated by artisans such as the tinsmith, cabinetmaker, or brewery.  Yes, GCV&M has a working brewery featuring a beer from an 1803 recipe called “Fat Ox Ale” – Yum!

When we visited, the Village’s celebration of Independence Day consisted of a ceremonial reading of the Declaration of Independence; patriotic concerts; a pie-eating contest; games for the children such as hoop rolling, graces, and stilts; and of course, the grand parade.  All activities that would have taken place on July 4, 1876.

For July 4, 2012 (and beyond), in addition to those events we saw last year, something special’s “in the air,” because the Genesee Country Village and Museum will hold the first official lift-off of the Intrepid – a 72-foot, helium-filled balloon taking guests along for the ride.

The balloon is a reproduction of one used in the Union Army Balloon Corps personally approved by President Abraham Lincoln in June 1861.  Not only was the Intrepid the predecessor to modern-day military aviation, but it also foreshadowed the future of military reconnaissance communications.  The pilot would send intelligence information – troop movements, artillery compensation instructions, and more – to soldiers on the ground via telegraph.

Like the original seven gas balloons used by the Union Army during the Civil War, the Intrepid is tethered to land for optimal convenience and safety.  Visitors to the museum (up to 4 at a time) can ride in Intrepid 300 feet above the Village green (for an additional fee of $15/person).

To all our readers out there, no matter where you are or what you’re doing, have a happy and safe 4th of July.  For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on twitter and “like” our facebook page too.

About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.