Holiday Celebrations Planned At Grant-Kohrs Ranch, Delaware Water Gap

Opportunities to experience either a Victorian Christmas celebration or one more attuned to the Old West are coming up in December at Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site.

At the Water Gap on the New Jersey-Pennsylvania border, the National Park Service and the Millbrook Village Society will present two events to celebrate the holiday season at Millbrook Village in Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. There is no charge for either event.

The Victorian Christmas Celebration is Saturday, December 1, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Village buildings, decorated in Victorian style, will be open for tours and demonstrations. Park rangers and volunteers will host a number of children’s activities in the Van Campen farmhouse, including period toys, games, and Christmas crafts. Light refreshments will be available.

On Sunday, December 2 at 5 p.m., the annual Christmas Carol Service will be held in the Millbrook Church. All are welcome to attend the traditional carol program. Light refreshments will be available following the service.

Millbrook Village is on Old Mine Road in New Jersey, 12 miles north of Interstate 80 (Exit 1). Access is also possible by taking NJ Route 602 (Millbrook-Blairstown Road) 7 miles west from its intersection with Route 94 in Blairstown.

At Grant-Kohrs Ranch near Deer Lodge, Montana, the holiday affair will be December 2 from 1 p.m.to 4 p.m. Always a blend of old and new, this free event will feature Santa, refreshments, crafts and warmth in the dairy barn. Sleigh bells will ring as draft horses provide wagon rides for the hardy.

Gloria Clark will play the piano in the ranch house's formal parlor. Her annual participation in our seasonal events is a tradition in itself.

This year’s theme is “Let it Snow,” combining the fun of winter activities with an appreciation of the importance of snow to western agriculture.

Montana’s winter birds always look forward to the hundreds of pine cone bird feeders visitors make in the old dairy barn each year. The event is really a double celebration as the Park Service recognizes the holiday season and rejoices in the reopening of historic structures after a season of construction work. A new fire detection and suppression system was installed.

The ranch house will be decorated in true Victorian style, reflecting the Kohrs’ German heritage and the new traditions of their adopted country. There is never an admission fee to the ranch, but canned donations to the Deer Lodge Food Pantry are gratefully collected during the holiday event.

The ranch house will remain decorated through the end of December, and the ranch is open daily except Christmas and New Year’s Day.

In an annual Park Service tradition, another cookie recipe has been tested (and tasted) from Augusta Kohrs’ handwritten cookbook. This year ranch house visitors can take home her recipe for Hermit Cookies. If you can't make it to the ranch, here's the recipe:

1 cup butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup walnuts (broken)

1 cup raisins

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp baking sode

2 tsp cream of tartar

3 eggs

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs. In a large bowl, blend flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and cream of tartar. It is not necessary to mix the baking soda with hot water. Add to creamed ingredients. Blend. Add walnuts and raisins. Drop by spoonfuls on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 F for 11 minutes or until outer edges are lightly browned. Remove from sheet and cool on rack. Makes about 6 dozen.

To halve this recipe, the folks at Grant-Kohrs say just use two small eggs, instead of 1 1/2.