Thursday, December 29, 2016

What's Auers is Yours

From Dave Brigham:

I grew up just a few miles from the Auerfarm property in Bloomfield, Connecticut, but hadn't visited this historic site until this past Thanksgiving, at age 51.

Better late than early, to coin a phrase. Auerfarm was a working farm for 40 years, owned by Beatrice Fox Auerbach after her husband died in 1927, two years after buying the property, according to the web site for the 4-H Education Center at Auerfarm. Mrs. Auerbach was part of the Fox family that owned G. Fox & Co., a Hartford department store. In the 1930's she was the first female president of a large department store.

The farm was deeded to the 4-H in 1976. Over the past 40 years the farming organization has renovated and repaired buildings, torn down old buildings (although not all of them, as you'll see), raised livestock and crops and taught children and adults alike about agriculture.

My longtime friend, Gary, suggested a hike around Auerfarm the day after Thanksgiving. Our families have a tradition of getting together on that day to reconnect, as I live 90 minutes away outside Boston but always visit family in Connecticut for Turkey Day. I knew the property would have some cool photo ops, but had no idea just how many.

(The apple barn.)

There is an active orchard on the property, but this small barn hasn't seen a fresh apple in some time.

(Apple barn details.)

I take so many photos for this blog, but only a few of them really touch me, as they represent in so simple a fashion how easy it is for history to fade away. The photo below is one of them.

After hiking a bit, seeing the apple barn and doing a mannequin challenge with our families (a fun idea of Gary's), I figured that was about it. But we'd only been out a short time. Gary led us up an old road toward some buildings that he thought were probably summer homes of the Auerbach family years ago.

(From the front, this building looks like an average-sized house, but the four-bay garage turns it into something different altogether.)

With Christmas lights strung along the roof line, the old places didn't seem too far disconnected from the past. But obviously vandals have had their way with these places a bit.

(I found this sight funny, but also sad.)

The old log cabin was everybody's favorite haunt.

Peering inside, I found an odd mix of old furniture and newer toys.

The last house was the largest. With a scythe, a sturdy broom and some moxie it could be turned back into a decent getaway site.

After checking out the creepy buildings, we ventured over to the 4-H property and the kids had fun hanging out with the chickens, goats, donkey and rabbits.

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