Norlands continues to harvest ice from Bartlett Pond in Livermore, using traditional methods. Submitted photo

Visit the Washburn-Norlands Living History Center in Livermore for a Cabin Fever Reliever from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22. Journey into the past and celebrate President’s Day in 1870.

Norlands’ interpreter, Larry Whittington, packs the ice house. Submitted photo

This annual event is a belated celebration of President’s Day – 1870 style. A special tribute to America’s first president, George Washington, takes place at 1:30 p.m. Washington was born on Feb. 22, 1732. Norlands’ interpreters Willi Irish and Beth Chamberlain, portraying the Washburn’s 19th-century neighbors, will bake a version of Martha Washington’s cake and pay tribute to President Washington with poems and songs. Stop by for a slice of cake and participate in the celebration.

After his death in 1799, Washington’s birthday became a day of remembrance and celebration. Celebrations included toasts, elaborate galas with dancing, laying of wreaths, and fancy cake using a recipe from Martha Washington. Washington’s actual day of birth (Feb. 22) became a federal holiday in 1885. At first, the holiday was meant to honor only George Washington. However, many people considered it a day to honor both the first President George Washington and 16th President Abraham Lincoln (b. Feb. 12, 1809). In 1971, the holiday officially became Presidents Day, a time to honor all presidents past and present, and the day was moved to the third Monday of February.

Norlands continues to harvest ice from Bartlett Pond in Livermore, using traditional methods. Submitted photo

In addition to the celebration, Norlands will host a traditional ice harvest. See traditional ice cutting demonstrations on Bartlett Pond, just down the hill from the Norlands. Stop by the pond on the way to or from Norlands. (Please note there will not be any wagon rides to or from the pond). Help cut the ice into blocks, load them on to the horse-drawn wagon and then help to unload and pack the ice in the ice house, inside Norlands’ barn. Guided tours of the 1867 Washburn family home will be offered every hour. Several family stories will be shared on the tour of this elegant home, especially stories about the family’s relationship with Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant. The one-room schoolhouse will be open with a teacher ready to greet you, as if it’s 1853. The Washburn kitchen will be busy with a craft activity for all ages. Bring snowshoes and walk the historic carriage trail to the Pools of Simeon, reflecting pools designed in 1903 by the youngest Washburn brother, William Drew.

Warm up in the Washburn kitchen with a cup of soup or hot chocolate.

General admission is $10 adults ($8 for members of Norlands), $6 ages 12 and under ($4 for members), free for ages 5 and under, $25 family rate ($20 for members) for two adults bringing 2-3 children from the same household. Upon arrival, park by the church and walk up to towards the mansion. Purchase admission tickets in the gift shop, the small building on the right, near the barn. In case of bad weather, this event will be canceled by 9 a.m. the day of the event. Call the Norlands and listen to the outgoing message or check the Norlands’ website or Facebook page for updates.

The Washburn-Norlands Living History Center is a multifaceted museum offering in-depth experiences in 19th century rural life. Our mission is to preserve the heritage and traditions of rural life in Maine’s past, to celebrate the achievements of Livermore’s Washburn family, and to use living history methods to make values, activities, and issues of the past relevant to present and future generations. For more information, call (207) 897-4366 or visit The Washburn-Norlands Living History Center is located at 290 Norlands Rd., Livermore.

Ice Harvesting at Norlands, c. 1800s Submitted photo

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