2014 Programs and Events

The programs listed below are presented by the Friends of the Morrill Homestead in partnership with the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation. Click on an item below for more information or scroll down. You can also register and pay securely online for each event.

Season Sweet—Bird Songs & Maple Syrup: Celebrate Sugaring & Birds through Storytelling and Music with Michael Caduto

Sunday, March 16th, 1:00pm, Morrill Homestead Education Center

Come celebrate maple sugaring and other early signs of spring with indigenous stories and songs as retold by storyteller, author and singer/songwriter Michael Caduto. How did maple sugaring come to be? (Chippewa) Who gave songs to the birds? (Kanienkehaka/Mohawk) Why does Turtle spend winter at the bottom of the pond? (Dakota) Entertaining stories, participatory songs and a circle dance celebrate the cycle the seasons, accompanied by Native instruments. Michael will also introduce his premier storytelling CD’s.

$5.00 admission – $10.00 per family.

Please preregister by calling the Homestead, 802-765-4288, or email: director@morrillhomestead.org

Earth Day Alien Invasion: Workshop on Invasive Species Identification & Control

Tuesday, April 22th, 7:00-8:00pm, Morrill Homestead Education Center

Plants and animals from “away’ have taken hold throughout the region. When uninvited alien species invade your environment, who ‘ya gonna call? The Host Busters. Learn to identify the invasive plants found around the area, what makes them invasive and how to control them. Mary Beth Adler (Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department) and Marie Levesque Caduto (Vermont Agency of Natural Resources) will train participants to identify terrestrial and aquatic plants and animals that are threatening ecosystems in Vermont and New Hampshire. They will also discuss control methods and how to keep “invasives” from spreading even farther.

$10 adults – $5 under 14.

Oriental Bittersweet, an invasive species.

Oriental Bittersweet—an invasive species.

Photo courtesy: UConn/IPANE

Wake Up the Garden: Restoring Morrill’s Historic Landscape

Saturday, May 10th, 9:00am-noon, Morrill Homestead Education Center & Grounds

Work with the Homestead’s Gardener on the reconstruction and maintenance of the gardens surrounding the home and ornamental farm of Vermont’s late Senator Justin Morrill, founder of the Land Grant College Act that was signed into law by Abraham Lincoln in 1862. This is the first of several 2014 projects designed to restore the colorful annual beds in the pleasure ground and expand the kitchen garden—Morrill’s laboratory for experimenting with plant hardiness that contains a variety of perennials, berry bushes, herbs and roses. Professor Leonard Perry of the UVM Extension Service is using part of the garden for trialing heirloom roses and varieties of perennials new to the market. In addition, Morrill Scholars from the University of Nebraska have planted native prairie grasses that are indigenous to their state and also make beautiful ornamentals.

kitchen garden 5_19_2011-(1mb)

Come join us, and become a part of Vermont’s history as we build out the landscape of this very influential American. You can earn all of your Master Gardener outreach hours with us. Please consult our website regularly for other garden programs to be scheduled this summer.

All Welcome. For more information, please contact Michael Caduto at: director@morrillhomestead.org.

No registration required, but doing so helps us plan. Please preregister:

Open House: Justin Smith Morrill Homestead

Sunday, June 15th, 2:00pm-4:00pm
The Friends of the Morrill Homestead invite everyone to attend a free Open House. Come tour the house, stroll the trails and visit the gardens in bloom. Refreshments and dessert are “on the house,” making this event a real summer confection! To top it off, the Friends are hosting a live performance at 3:00pm by the renowned musician Spencer Lewis, that’s open to all.

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Spencer Lewis

Spencer Lewis is a purveyor of reflective instrumental folk grooves and a folksinger-songwriter whose music springs from old time motifs and vintage folk-rock sensibilities. His signature sound combines the precision of the acoustic guitar with the sustained elegance of the violin, which he performs live by looping the guitar and overdubbing the violin, often spontaneously, to mirror or eclipse the music from his 22-CD catalog. His songs reflect a reverence of nature along with the inner changes of the soul to uplift and celebrate the human spirit.

This event will be held in partnership with the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation’s weekend-long “Vermont Days” — offering free visits for all Vermonters and “Vermonters at Heart” at State Historic sites, June 14th & 15th, 2014: www.historicsites.vermont.gov

Event is free, but registering helps us plan. Please preregister:

Photo by Marie Levesque Caduto

Open House at the Morrill Homestead

Photo: Marie Levesque Caduto

This event sponsored by Bushway Insurance Agency and

MC Autoworks, Inc.

Rustic Trellis Workshop

Saturday, June 21st, 10:00am-5:00pm
Education Center & Grounds

In this one-day, outdoor workshop at the Morrill Homestead you will learn to use saplings and simple joining techniques to make an outdoor trellis. The trellis may be as simple or as intricate as you choose and time allows. No woodworking experience is necessary. Presented by Mark Ragonese and the League of NH Craftsmen.

$140.00 ($135.00 for registering by May 31 or if a member of the League of NH Craftsmen), materials included.

Please preregister through League of NH Craftsmen:

  • By Phone: Suzanne, 603-643-5384
  • By Email: craftstudies@craftstudies.org

Rustic Furniture Workshop

Sunday, June 22nd, 10:00am-5:00pm
Education Center & Grounds

Rustic furniture is timeless and fits both outdoor and indoor spaces. Learn the basics of furniture design and an assortment of joinery techniques to create your own one-of-a-kind chair, bench or table from saplings. No woodworking experience is necessary for this outdoor workshop. Presented by Mark Ragonese and the League of NH Craftsmen.

$140.00 ($135.00 for registering by May 31 or if a member of the League of NH Craftsmen), materials included.

Please preregister through League of NH Craftsmen:

  • By Phone: Suzanne, 603-643-5384
  • By Email: craftstudies@craftstudies.org

Gallery in the Garden

Art Exhibit and Silent Auction. Humorous, ethereal and exquisite—all of these sentiments have been used to describe the Morrill Homestead’s annual Gallery in the Garden art show and silent auction which features the works of many fine artists from the Strafford community, the Upper Valley and beyond.

“A Celebration of Light” Art Exhibit — Friday, July 4th through Sunday July 20th—Wednesday through Sunday, 11:00am-5:00pm

Silent Auction of Morrill Minis — Friday, July 4th 2014, 5:30pm
Reception for the show’s opening begins at 5:30pm with a silent auction of “Minis for Morrill” to follow—magnificent mini paintings by artists of regional and national reputation.

Event is free, but please preregister to help us plan:

The 2014 silent auction of miniature 4″×4″ paintings will include works by each of  the artists exhibiting in the art exhibit, “A Celebration of Light,” as well as these artists: Bob Bauer, Gerry Bergstein, Todd Binzen Gail Boyajian, Jennifer Brown, Anna Chute, Lucas Chute, Noah Chute, Laura Clark, Kelly Coffin, Ned Coffin, Randy Coffin, Dierdre Dennis, Kate Emlen, Georgina Forbes, Nancy Gerlach, Lou Hance, Laura Karetzky, Pace Kendall, Ed Koren, George Lawrence, Jo Levasseur, David Macaulay, Andy Newman, Mary Louise Pierson, Beth Preston, Deborah Frankel Reese, Stephanie Reininger, Patsy Root, Lianne Thomashow, Jessica Tidman and others.

VIEW 2014 mini paintings that will be offered during the silent auction.

Preview: Statues of Liberty Sesquicentennial Exhibit & Celebration of National Statuary Hall

Friday, July 4th 2014, 5:30pm. Reception and preview opening of the Statues of Liberty Exhibit, commemorating the signing by Abraham Lincoln, on July 2, 1864, of Congressman Justin Morrill’s Act (H.J. Res. 66), creating a National Statuary Hall. This preview will feature the exhibit’s four life-sized images of the statues of Abraham Lincoln, Ethan Allen (Vermont), Daniel Webster (New Hampshire) and the recently unveiled (2013) statue of Rosa Parks.

Event is free, but please preregister to help us plan:

Daniel Webster—National Statuary Hall

Daniel Webster—National Statuary Hall

This event made possible with a generous grant from the Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation, and underwriting from Mascoma Savings Bank.

Drawing and Watercolor Workshop for Children

Monday-Friday, July 14-18, 9:00am-12:00 noon

Explore the fantasy of nature and architecture through drawing, writing, mapping, watercolor painting and more. Make your own handmade books for sketching and finished work. A great opportunity to imagine history while creating something new! Taught by Jennifer Brown and Anmari Kicza.

For kids ages 5-10, $125

Please preregister:

Painting the Homestead Landscape

Children Painting the Homestead Landscape

Historic Gardens in Your Own Backyard — with John Forti, The Heirloom Gardener

Saturday, July 19th, 1:00pm, Morrill Homestead Education Center

Can you see evidence of earlier gardens and landscapes where you live? Are you involved in preserving or teaching from a historic garden in your own community? Would you like to recreate, restore or rehabilitate elements of period gardens for your own historic home? John Forti, The Heirloom Gardener, explores garden history in practical new ways that give gardeners the tools to select and source period plants, choose appropriate planting patterns, structures and furnishings that can help bring elements of the past to life in our 21st-century gardens. No matter where you live, or what your level of experience, this talk will help you create an enduring sense of time and place in your own backyard.

Presenter John Forti is a nationally recognized lecturer, garden historian, ethnobotanist and garden writer. He is Curator of Historic Landscapes at Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth, NH, where he has created numerous award-winning gardens and educational programs. He previously served as the Director of Horticulture at Plimoth Plantation Museum where the gardens and seed program he created brought international attention to the preservation of Pilgrim and Wampanoag heirloom crops.

This program offered in partnership with the New England Wild Flower Society.

$15 per person.

Please preregister:


This event sponsored by Chippers—Lawn and Tree Care

and E.C. Brown’s Nursery.

Advanced Drawing and Watercolor Workshop for Youth & Teens

Monday-Friday, July 21-25, 9:00am-12:00 noon

This advanced class will focus on watercolor painting. We will explore color, value and methods to create depth in paintings. We will use quick studies to practice our new ideas in handmade books, working from ideas and skills documented in our books along with direct observation of the environment. Students will also have time to complete finished paintings. Taught by Jennifer Brown and Anmari Kicza.

For ages 11-15, $125

Please preregister:

    Creativity Blossoms in the Fields of Summer

Creativity Blossoms in the Fields of Summer

Statues of Liberty: A Sesquicentennial Exhibit & Celebration

Wednesday, July 23rd through Monday, October 13, 2014, 11:00am-5:00pm, Wednesday through Sunday (and holiday Mondays). The Statues of Liberty Exhibit commemorates the signing, by Abraham Lincoln, on July 2, 1864, of Congressman Justin Morrill’s Act (H.J. Res. 66) creating a National Statuary Hall. This full exhibit features high-resolution photographs and interpretive descriptions of the sculptures of notable figures from all of the 50 United States, including life-sized images of the statues of Abraham Lincoln, Ethan Allen (Vermont), Daniel Webster (New Hampshire) and the recently unveiled (2013) statue of Rosa Parks.

Chosen as one of the Top Ten Exhibits and Events for 2014 by the Vermont Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission!

Admission: Free with paid admission to the historic Morrill Homestead and interpretive exhibits.


National Statuary Hall

This event made possible with a generous grant from the Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation,

and underwriting from Mascoma Savings Bank.

Preschool Nature Camp

Monday-Friday, July 28-August 1, 8:30-11:30am

Children will learn about the natural world by experiencing the wonder and beauty of the outdoors at the Morrill Homestead. A particular theme is woven together each day through hands-on activities involving literature, songs, games, outdoor explorations, arts, crafts and more. This weeklong adventure presents daily opportunities for fostering social and pre-elementary skills though play and learning times.

Program leader Kate Hill has been a teacher at the Newton School in South Strafford, Vermont for the past 8 years and is a mother to two high-energy boys. She has a Masters in Eduction and her diverse background in education includes creating activities for young children in the natural world at the Montshire Museum Preschool Summer Camp and the Ohana Family Camp. Before joining the Newton School staff, Kate worked for several years in preschool education in the Upper Valley.

For ages 3-5, $125

Please preregister:

Pillars of the People: National Statuary Hall & the Virtues of the 50 States

Sunday, August 3rd, 2:00-4:00pm, Strafford Town House—Strafford, Vermont

Donald R. Kennon, Ph.D., will address the historical roots of National Statuary Hall and how this perennial exhibit in our nation’s Capital has sculpted our view of the virtues embodied in the 50 United States. Dr. Kennon is a renowned expert on the history, art and architecture of the nation and serves as Vice President for Scholarship and Education of the United States Capitol Historical Society. Among his many acclaimed books is American Pantheon: Sculptural and Artistic Decoration of the United States Capitol (with Thomas P. Somma). Members of Vermont’s national delegates in the House and Senate in Washington, D.C., as well as our regional State representatives, have also been invited to participate in this seminal event.

Chosen as one of the Top Ten Exhibits and Events for 2014 by the Vermont Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission!

FREE. Donation requested. Proceeds to benefit Friends of the Morrill Homestead.

Please preregister:

  • Online: Register online
  • By Phone: 802-765-4288
  • By Email: director@morrillhomestead.org
National Statuary Hall, Washington, D.C.

National Statuary Hall, Washington, D.C.

This event made possible by generous support from the Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation, underwriting from Mascoma Savings Bank and Upton Tea Imports and sponsorship from Alicia Willette, DDS., Hotel Coolidge and Lufkin Graphic Designs.

Watercolor Painting Workshop with Jennifer Brown (adults)

Saturdays, August 16 & 23, 1:00-4:00 pm

Explore the medium of watercolor while discovering the lovely gardens and grounds of the Morrill Homestead. In this introductory class, students learn basic watercolor techniques through practice studies that they can employ to make a painting. Each artist will translate the unique surroundings of the Homestead into her/his own language of brushstrokes, washes and color. Bring your painting materials (materials list provided upon registration) and creative energies!


Instructor Jennifer Brown is a longstanding illustrator for Stave Puzzles, teaches art at The Sharon Academy and is a member of the Vermont Watercolor Society. She studied watercolor painting at the Rhode Island School of Design, Art New England—Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Bennington College and AVA. She exhibits with Long River Studios and Strafford Arts.


Please preregister:

Fiddleheads, Lamb’s Quarters, Nettles and Nuts: Wild Edible, Medicinal, and Poisonous Plants

Sunday, September 14th, 1:00-2:30pm


Can someone really become immune to poison ivy after drinking milk produced by a goat that has eaten that plant? What did young Quaker women use for rouge when their parents forbade them from wearing makeup? Which has more vitamin C-a glass of orange juice or a glass of pine needle tea? On this walk we’ll share Colonial and Native American folklore and information to learn about the myths and realities concerning the use of wild edible, medicinal, and poisonous plants. We’ll taste some of these delectable treats in the field and sample a bit of native home-cooking—a mystery wild treat.

Michael Caduto—well-known as co-author of the Keepers of the Earth series—has written and taught extensively on herbalism and has studied the uses of plants among the indigenous peoples of the Northeast. His other books include Native American Gardening and Everyday Herbs in Spiritual Life.

A 1.5-hour walk, including stories and sampling plants in the field as well as prepared wild edibles.

$10 adults – $5.00 under 14.

Please preregister:

19th Century Apple & Cheese Harvest Festival

Sunday, September 28th, 11:00am-3:00pm

Bring the whole family to a harvest festival. Have you ever tasted Ashmead’s Kernel, Perthyre or Calville Blanc D’Hiver? These are just a few of the many heirloom apples you’ll be able to sample, along with a variety of delicious Vermont-made artisan & specialty cheeses. Taste hand-pressed cider, hand-crank ice cream, play period games, hike the Coburn Trail, play Valley Quest and peruse the display of autumn artwork by students from the Newton School. Children will delight in the fantastic face painting by Charlotte Atkinson. Also featuring live music by Paul Kifner & friends and an apple pie contest! Includes lunch. Rain or shine.

$10 adults – $5 under 14. (Please pay at the gate when you arrive. No preregistration required.)

For more information:

  • By Phone: 802-765-4288
  • By Email: director@morrillhomestead.org
Heirloom Apple Varieties

Heirloom Apple Varieties


Apple Pie Contest at the Apple Fest!

Any member of the general public may enter an apple pie. PRIZES will be awarded of gift certificates to popular local businesses.

Pastry or Crumb crust pies accepted. Pies must be room temperature and brought to the Morrill Homestead for judging by 11:00am on Sunday, September 28th, 2014: 214 Morrill Memorial Highway, Strafford, VT 05072.

In order to assure objective judging: Please write the entrant’s name clearly on the outside of the pie container, but not on the dish or plate itself. For further information, please email Donna Hollinger at: pdeotnenra@comcast.net


drawn apple tree

This event sponsored by Flint, Blake and Boles Roofing, with generous support from Cabot Creamery Cooperative, Café 232, M.C. Autoworks, Planet Hair, Plymouth Artisan Cheese Factory, Spring Brook Farm and Stone Soup Restaurant.